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Personal Chef Career
All celebrities have to eat, right? (Though it’s questionable whether some actually ever do.) If you think the rich and famous are cooking for themselves, think again. Their personal chefs are doing all the dirty work, often in the background. But we got one of them to sit down with us and spill his secrets, from tales of getting railed on for serving gaseous food to the joints he smokes with his employers.
This particular chef, who works with one of the biggest celebrities on planet Earth, was able to give us some insight into what it’s like to work for someone like this. And in short, it's a roller coaster of emotions. Check out the Q&A below to find out what it’s like to feed one of the world’s biggest superstars.
What do you think is the biggest difference between cooking for a celebrity and cooking for the 'average Joe?'
Chef: Celebrities/wealthy people are programmed to get whatever they want, whenever they want. No is not an acceptable answer, and we go to great lengths to make sure they can get [what they want]. However, some clients still have a sense of reality and will treat their employees like human beings, and other clients will treat their employees like indentured servants. But at the same time, cooking on yachts, private jets, million dollar homes, can have its rewards.
What factors go into the meals that you cook?
Chef: Ultimately, what I cook is up to my boss. I have been lucky enough to work for people that trust me and my food. I don't have to submit menus or ask them what they would like for dinner - I just cook, and 9 times out of 10 they are happy. I look at their daily schedules and it gives me an idea of what I should make. If there is a premier and I know my boss is going to squeeze into a tight outfit, I'm not going to make a gluttonous meal. I try to think for them and usually I know what they are in the mood for before they do.
What are some of the most unusual food requests you've gotten from celebrity bosses?
Chef: I think the common misconception is that wealthy people are constantly eating expensive, luxury items, but a lot of their favorite foods are childhood favorites. For Thanksgiving, one of my bosses insisted that I made sweet potato casserole with marshmallows because they grew up in the South and it reminded them of their childhood Thanksgivings. That is what's so great about food -- it can transport you to a different place and time.
What are some of the most commonly requested meals by clients?
Chef: One of my employers had a rotating list of about 5 things they would eat for lunch, and I just had to rotate through that list. Turkey burgers, fish tacos, tuna melts, etc. But for some reason it was only lunch they cared about – dinner, I could make whatever I wanted.
Have you ever seen any of your clients trying to cook?
Chef: Only once -- they were going to make scrambled eggs and they sent me out of the kitchen, so I have no idea what happened. But I came back and the kitchen was clean, but I'm pretty sure the housekeeper just cleaned up the mess.
What hours do you typically work, and how available do you need to be?
Chef: This is different depending who you work for. I've had jobs which I only had to make lunch and dinner, and in the afternoon I would have time to go surf or lie on the beach. I've had other jobs that keep me at work from 9 in the morning till 11 at night, and I may not be working the whole time but I’d better be close by in case I get a phone call that the boss wants a snack. I've been awoken many times from an afternoon nap to make something for the boss.
Have you ever had a major culinary flop while working for a celebrity?
Chef: I remember once I was cooking on New Year's Eve and I had made a white bean crostini and a fish dish with some cabbage. My boss was going to some lavish party that night and was irate that I was serving her food that would make her 'fart all night long.'
Have your clients ever complained about a meal?
Chef: In my line of work, complaints are heard much more often than compliments. The first couple months of a new job is a horrible experience which involves going through a "growing pains" period. Every day I walk on eggshells and feel like that day will be my last, but once I figure out their likes/dislikes it usually becomes a pretty easy job.
It is very easy to complain working for the uber wealthy because they get pretty much everything they want. They can be rude, abrasive, demanding … but they can also be amazing people. I have traveled the world in private jets and aboard their yachts, drank beers and smoked joints with their friends. They have let me use their villas to take my vacations, they have paid for my 3- star Michelin dinners and everything in between. There is a great song by Sherman Sherman and the Hardwoods that says 'I'm living a champagne lifestyle on a Kool-Aid pocket book.' That pretty much sums up my life.
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The Chef Alliance is the leading organisation of Private & Personal Chefs & Caterers in Canada offering Chefs a place to locate jobs, meet new clients, grow their business, benefit from peer support, discounts to lower their business costs, marketing services & much more. This allows Chefs concentrate on what they do best - cook great food!