A Visual of just what it is I do for a Living!

For the last 8 years I have been The TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST a Personal Chef.  Early on, based on the advice of the American Personal & Private Chef Association, I created an “elevator speech” explaining what I do.  The concept is if you were in an elevator and had to explain what you do for a living to answer someone before reaching your floor, what would you say! The exercise proved to be a valuable tool for me more than a few times.  Including once on an actual elevator!  My current longest term client found me on an elevator!   Most often, however, after giving my elevator speech I feel that it’s hard for someone to visualize what the results of my efforts are!

So the elevator story goes a little like this:

Stranger: Are you a chef? (Sometimes I’ve actually answered, No this is my Halloween Costume!)

Me: Yes, I am a Personal Chef, I go to my clients’ homes and prepare meals for them, store them in their fridge or freezer for them to enjoy when they get home from work or whatever.

Stranger: That sounds expensive, wish I could afford it.

Me: Acutally, most of my clients tell me I’m saving them money, they do less ordering in, they don’t buy food intending to cook it and end up throwing it out, and, they get food they way they like it, less salt, more garlic, spicy or mild and always taking into consideration of their allergies or other dietary restrictions. They prefer to know that they don’t have the stress or effort needed to plan What’s For Dinner Tonight!

Stranger: Really? Hmm.

Me: Here’s my card with my website, check it out, I also do intimate in-home dinner parties and celebrations.

My long-term client was on the elevator in her building where I was cooking for a client, coincidentally, that day was the last time I would cook for him in his parents’ apartment as he had finished renovating his co-op apartment and moving the following week.  So the next time I cooked for him, it was in a different location, Karma?  So the potential client was leaving to take her son to Little League and saw my chef jacket and my baseball cap both embroidered with TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST and CHEF JIM!  And the conversation went exactly as above!  Two weeks later she called and we spoke about me providing a week’s worth of meals to the family as a Father’s Day gift to her husband who had adopted the task of ensuring there was food on the table at night when they returned from filming their TV show!  By the end of our conversation she was thinking I’d be doing this all summer!  That was five years ago and I’m still providing weekly service, however, there’s no more TV show and now they spend the summers elsewhere so it’s timed to the school year plus a few weeks before they travel!

Back to the reason I’m posting this, today as I was about to divide the packages I had prepared for today’s single client–between the fridge and freezer, I had them all piled on the counter and I realized this is a great visual for anyone wondering how it works!

This is a 6 x 4 packaged for a single person!

So the picture is of this completed menu:

Chicken Ragu over Penne;

Tex-Mex Turkey Meatloaf; Parsley Potatoes;

Asian Turkey Burger; Edamame Succotash;

Stuffed Turkey Cutlet Rollups; Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Shallots;

Chicken Cutlets Stuffed with Goat Cheese & Sun-dried Tomatoes; Sauteed Asparagus & Snap Peas;

Chicken Saute w/Mango Sauce; Black Beans & Rice.

Yes, he only eats Chicken and Turkey!

So the way it works is there are 6 entrees and 6 side dishes all made into four servings.  Then each serving is individually packaged for him to eat as needed.  He takes his lunch to work everyday from this selection and then comes home, at whatever odd hour, and has another selection for his dinner.  Depending on how often he gets to go out for a meal this could last him as long as 3 weeks, however, it usually is more like 2 weeks worth of food for him!  He says he now has less stress on himself because he knows he has good, healthy, food at home and doesn’t have to wait for delivery or stop for take-out on his way home.  Now the stress comes solely from realizing that the fridge is near empty and his Personal Chef isn’t scheduled till Thursday!!  😉

I think the visual aid really helps tell the story, what do you think?

Eat Well….Be Well!

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2 Responses to A Visual of just what it is I do for a Living!

  1. sallybr says:

    Awesome post! I’ve always wondered about the logistics of it all, and would love if you had some posts on the step by step and how the kitchen looks as you are working. The idea of coming up with so many dishes is mind blowing to me, but I know there’s a method to this type of task, and evidently you are a PRO!

    loved it!


  2. Chef Jim says:

    Thanks Sally, that’s a great idea, next time my part-time sous-chef can accompany me, I’ll have her do the photography with a real camera and show more of the process. But be forewarned, as I tell my clients that are at home while I’m cooking, should they come to the kitchen, not to be alarmed it really is “controlled chaos”! And at the end of the day the only traces of my visit are the full fridge/freezer and the lingering aromas!


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