One of my students asked me, ”Exactly what is a personal chef?”
I was happy to tell him about my dear friend Chef Candy Wallace. I’ll let her speak in her own voice: “As a personal chef I have actually replaced Mom or Grandma in my busy clients’ kitchens. I like to think I’m making a contribution to my clients’ well-being and quality of life. This is almost as important as the evening meals I design and prepare specially for them. As I see it, I’m paid to do three of my favorite things in life: shop, cook and nurture.”
Through her own experience and generosity, Candy has long defined the role of the personal chef. After a decade of being a personal chef, training future personal chef professionals, and promoting personal chefs’ contributions to society, Candy launched an evolutionary next step in October 2006 that still reverberates throughout the foodservice industry, indeed, the nation.
In 1996, Candy founded the American Personal Chef Association, which now embraces private chefs into its ranks. The new American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA) provides a home for a largely disenfranchised and overlooked – but increasingly important and influential – segment of culinary professionals.
As the leading voice among personal chefs in the United States, Candy and APPCA have provided support and opportunities for private chefs even though its core mission served personal chefs. Unlike others, Candy understands the similarities and differences that characterize the needs of each group.
The greatest attribute private and personal chefs have in common? According to Candy, “both embrace a desire and the opportunity to consistently prepare and serve “palate specific” meals to their clients, according to their clients’ schedules and special needs.”
Although the two roles are often confused, Candy offers a characterizing distinction. A personal chef is a small-business owner. A private chef is an employee.
Personal chefs prepare meals for a diverse clientele on a regular, occasional or one-time basis for a contracted, often negotiated, fee. In many cases, meals prepared by personal chefs are stored appropriately for later reheating by the client.
Private chefs, by contrast, tend to work for a single client, whether an individual or family, and are paid a salary (often with employment benefits). Most meals are prepared for immediate service. A private chef may or may not live on the same premises as his or her client. Also many private chefs have responsibilities beyond cooking that include managing household, maintenance and grounds staffs and contractors. A personal chef never lives on-premises.
If you are curious about what makes a great personal chef or a personal chef, if you are trying to get started and becoming a personal chef or a private chef, you can have no better friend than Candy and the APPCA. “Our goal is to foster culinary comradeship and offer advice from that age-old thing called experience,” says Candy. “We also want to communicate to the world the special roles personal and private chefs play in American society. I think our tagline says it all: “Partners in Lifestyle Solutions.”’
I strongly urge you to learn more by visiting www.personalchef.com or calling 1 (800) 644-8389. It could change your life!