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Old 04-13-2009, 12:06 PM   #1
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Is there a Chef in the house?

Anyone here a freelance or personal Cheff? I am wondering how I can get started in the feild. I am seriously annoyed with my job as a nanny and lately I have been preparing some really great meals for the family. It's becoming more and more clear that this is what would make me happy. Just cooking for families/clients etc.

So how did you get started. Is the pay good? What kind of training would I need to be a freelance Cheff?

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Old 04-13-2009, 12:13 PM   #2
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Do you have any formal training? Culinary school? Night classes at the community college? Most people won't hire you without credentials. The field is very competitive and without credentials, you'll find it hard to get a position as a personal chef. This is based on research and seeing a friend fail and end up at a restaurant. And she had full training.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:34 PM   #3
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I have no training at all, no. But I am looking into culinary school.
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Old 04-14-2009, 01:26 AM   #4
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Culinary school is a great place to start, but to become a private chef takes more than that. You need to work in the field for awhile, whether in restaurants or catering, to get experience and also contacts. I worked for a catering company to complete my apprenticeship to become a chef after school and then I hired myself out for various events, many of which were volunteer work just so I could prove I was able to run things on my own.

Do you cook meals where you nanny? And if so do you plan them or are you given a menu and/or recipes to follow? I ask this because if you are cooking at your job and you create the meals yourself you are doing the work of a private cook.

My advice is go to school, get work in the field and offer to cook for groups or individuals (they supply the food and you will do the planning and cooking) on a volunteer basis so you can get references for that type of work.

I now do catering (from private to large weddings), cake design and hire myself out to other caterers when the need help on a job. I can make my own hours, which is good with recent health problems.

Oh, one more thing. There are businesses springing up all over where they cook meals that people can pick up for dinner or for the freezer. You might want to look into a place like that to gain experience and even see if this is what you want to do.

Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by LPBeier View Post
Oh, one more thing. There are businesses springing up all over where they cook meals that people can pick up for dinner or for the freezer. You might want to look into a place like that to gain experience and even see if this is what you want to do.

Good luck!
This has become very popular around here. You can just stop by and pick up a casserole/entree on your way home from work. I received a Christmas gift certificate for 8 or 10 (I've forgotten) casseroles/entrees for my freezer. It was nice to have them on hand.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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You can get TONS of information, as well as some on-line training at the website of the American Personal and Private Chefs Association. Check them out!
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:28 PM   #7
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You can get TONS of information, as well as some on-line training at the website of the American Personal and Private Chefs Association. Check them out!
Thanks, June,
I knew you would have more specific information than I as I am not up on the American schools, etc. This is a very interesting site. Don't think we have anything like that here.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info everyone. Here at work, I am first a nanny, but after cooking a few meals for the family they asked me to make one dinner a week and pre make several breakfast options. So in any given week I prepare five or six breakfasts that are kept in the fridge for the week. They are anything from egg bakes, frittatas, sandwiches etc.

The dinners are usually pretty fancy as my boss enjoys the finer things. Because of this I have had access to lots of fine ingredients that I otherwise would have never used. I made scallops once for them that really knocked their socks off (according to them) and I have never ever touched a scallop before let alone cooked them!

I also do a lot of baking. I have made birthday cakes from scratch for each of the family members for their birthdays. it's worked out really well because I am getting a lot of experience with new ingredients and learning new techniques, etc.

My boss has some great connections at the CIA in Napa CA and she is getting me a tour of their campus. That would make me the happiest nanny in the world if that worked out!!
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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I've never heard the Culinary Institute of America referred to as "the CI of A." I've only heard it called "CIA" just like the spy group.

Snack_pack: about 20 years ago, I met a young woman working as a nanny (and cooking some for the family) who signed up to assist me in a cooking class I was teaching in Boston. She kept coming back and assisting, and then started to "moonlight" doing prep in my catering kitchen. She went on from there to cook in some of the top kitchens in Boston. All with no formal training, but by being interested and a quick study, and getting lots of ojt. These days she's "retired" to be a full-time mom, but any of the kitchens where she used to work would be glad to have her back.

All this is to say that there are other routes to your goal than culinary school, which can be VERY expensive.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:22 PM   #10
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i would say if you get into school at CIA, you've got it made!
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