Los Angeles personal chefs discuss their services
What services do you offer?
Hodges: "I come to their house and prepare, package and label several meals, then put them in the freezer. I also do dinner parties, brunches or any kind of party where I'll come over, do the planning and shopping and prepare the meal to their specifications."
Gerrard: "I offer private dining services in people's homes. I do dinner parties — intimate and large — and I do a lot of birthday and anniversary celebrations. I do occasionally have people who want meals cooked in their homes to reheat later, but that's just a small part. The majority is small private dinner parties."
Who we talked to
Allison Hodges, personal chef
Allison Hodges Personal Chef
Gene Gerrard, personal chef
Rosalind Cottingham, personal chef
Cottingham: "Personal chef services, including grocery shopping, preparing the meals, stocking the fridge and cleaning. I meet with clients, we plan a menu, and we go from there. For the most part, I come on a weekly basis, but sometimes it's biweekly."
How do you charge for your services, and what's the cost?
Hodges: "I prepare three meals for $250 to $300, plus the cost of food. Each will have two to four servings. For dinner parties, it depends on the number of people and courses and what's being served."
Gerrard: "My charge is $65 an hour, plus the cost of groceries, for chef service. For six or more people, I'll bring in a waiter to help — that's $30 an hour."
Cottingham: "I charge an hourly rate. I purchase the groceries up front and the client reimburses me. On a weekly basis, the price ranges from $180 to $250, depending on how many I'm cooking for."
What types of food do you make?
Hodges: "It's sort of bistro-style casual — mostly French, Italian and Spanish, but I've cooked a lot of Latin American, Asian and Middle Eastern dishes."
Gerrard: "French, Italian and a fusion of the two. Sometimes it's really French, sometimes it's Italian — I like melding."
Cottingham: "It depends on what the clients want — I'm well-versed in all areas."
What dish is your specialty?
Hodges: "I love doing braised dishes like short ribs, pot roasts or coq au vin."
Gerrard: "My absolute favorite is this slow roasted pork; it's an Italian recipe and it's just flavorful."
Cottingham: "Again, I don't have a specialty because I cook everything. Personally, I love Mexican."
What's one spice or ingredient you couldn't live without and why?
Hodges: "I'm going to say extra virgin olive oil. It's a healthy fat and it's wonderful to cook with."
Gerrard: "Sea salt, because it's got such a nice, light flavor."
Cottingham: "Garlic, because it's so good for you."