Chicago professional cooks talk about the personal chef business
Who we talked to
What services do you offer?
Cathy Barbeauld Sinkeus: "Everyday meals, catering, cooking classes, interactive group dinners. Anything related to food, really."
Bianca Gatti: "I offer weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meal service where I do in-home cooking. On the side, I do private parties and in-home demonstrations. I also do interactive cooking where the guests can get involved."
Roger Greene: "I do personal meal planning for busy people that get home late and don't have time to shop. I also do small parties on an infrequent basis."
Will you prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Cathy Barbeauld Sinkeus: "Yes, I also do breakfast and lunches."
Bianca Gatti: "I tailor-make the meal plan for my clients. I do breakfasts for some clients and have several that do lunches. But the main focus is the dinner menu."
Roger Greene: "Generally, I don't do breakfast and lunch. People want dinners and dinner food is pretty much is the same as lunch food."
How do you charge for your services, and what's the cost?
Cathy Barbeauld Sinkeus: "It's fee plus groceries. For a five-by-four, five entrees, four servings each it's $275 plus the cost of food. That equates to 20 meals for a single, 10 for a couple and five meals for a family of four."
Bianca Gatti: "I base it on their culinary idea and then I will have a groceries from $125 to $150 for a four-entree, five-meal service. In other words, you get five entrees and four servings of the entree. A single is $200 and a couple is $250."
Roger Greene: "I cook a five-by-four, that's 20 meals that includes side dishes. For the dinner service, I charge $17.50 a plate, that comes out to about $350 dollars including groceries. Parties are groceries plus $35 an hour."
Do you have a set menu?
Cathy Barbeauld Sinkeus: "I make suggestions, but I have them fill out a food questionnaire, then I'll present seven to 10 different ideas. Then I'll just keep submitting different ideas until we reach an agreement."
Bianca Gatti: "I talk to the clients in an initial interview and find out about allergies or opposition to certain foods. From that interview I then put together a nice rounded menu tailored to the individual."
Roger Greene: "Everybody is individual. I keep track of all the recipes a family likes. They tell me what they want and I make that. You really get a relationship going with clients."