Personal chefs customize cooking for clients

Personal chefs customize cooking for clients

Hiring a personal chef

The idea of hiring a personal chef may sound extravagant, but it could actually be a savings for busy people who spend a lot of money going to restaurants.

LaToya Starks of Noorish Personal Chef and Catering Services was featured as one of Atlanta’s top five chefs by the Atlanta Food Rave and was the 2008 winner of The World’s Chef Award. Starks has eight years of experience in the hospitality industry, five as a chef, and has worked in fine dining restaurants, country clubs and catering companies.

She has an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, and is a certified culinarian through the American Culinary Federation.

What should people expect when hiring a personal chef?

Starks: Personal chefs typically provide customized meal programs for time-pressed clients. This service usually includes an initial consultation to assess the client's likes and dislikes, food allergies, professional packaging and delivery options.

Clients should ask where the chef shops for ingredients. This is a very important question because only the freshest ingredients should be used. For example, I shop at the Dekalb Farmers Market and Whole Foods for most of my meat and vegetables. Clients should be willing to ask for a receipt if they are at all skeptical. Most personal chefs are willing to answer any questions the client has, and they should have references and background check information available upon request.

Most clients only request lunch and dinner meals to be prepared, but breakfast meals are also an option. I charge using all-inclusive fees, calculating the costs the labor, delivery and the ingredients needed to prepare the meal. I also have meal plan options, with the smallest plan including six meals.

I provide menu options on my website, as well as offering customized meal plans. Some clients have recipes they'd like to try and I use that meal as part of their package. Most of my dishes have a little ethnic flair, but I've also had clients on low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, all-organic, vegetarian or any other diet that exists. We also cater to pregnant women on strict diets, those wanting to lose weight or those who recently had surgery.

I cook on-site and also offer a delivery option. Most clients are busy, working individuals in the upper-middle class and wealthy bracket. The majority are single, but I have a few families that I cook for if both parents have busy schedules.

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