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Guide to become Visiting Chef with little investment for individuals want to quit their jobs and start their careers as an entrepreneur are as follows:
Description of Job
• Plan and prepare a gourmet or theme dinner at a client’s home.
• Select and serve appropriate wines.
• Serve meal to guests.
• Clean up kitchen.
The Need
For a formal dinner party or an extraordinary gathering of friends and family, one
very special option is to hire a professional cook to come to your home to prepare
and serve a meal. A visiting chef delivers a customized gourmet or theme dinner
to your exact order, leaving you free to be a guest at your own party.
Challenges
You will need the skills and background of a professional chef, with some additional
flexibility to be able to work in unfamiliar kitchens and with sometimes
unusual requests. You may have to work with less-than-optimal ovens, with utensils
and pots that are less than commercial quality, and in limited space.
You’ll need to be able to put together an entire meal, including appetizers,
entrées, and dessert. In most situations, you’ll also need to have some knowledge
about the selection and serving of wine.
Depending on the size of the job and your own experience, you may need to
experiment with unusual dishes in your own kitchen before cooking them for
your client.
Know the Territory
Spend the time to meet with clients to discuss menu and ingredient choices. Tour
the kitchen you’ll be working in to learn about your working area.
You can offer menus of available, tested recipes or ask for requests and suggestions
from your clients. Be sure to discuss any special ingredients they may
want, and ask about allergies and special diets.
Plan on shopping for ingredients on your own, from suppliers you know and
trust. You should be able to perform some of the prep work on dishes in your own
kitchen and finish them on-site. In some cases, you may want to subcontract
desserts to a professional pastry chef and arrange for just-in-time delivery to the
home.
You should work with a knowledgeable wine merchant to match libations to
menu items (and to your client’s budget). Do the same with suppliers of gourmet
cheese, meat, and other specialty items.
You may need a helper for food preparation, serving, and/or cleanup.
How to Get Started
Post flyers and ads in community centers, schools, and retail outlets. Place ads in
newspapers and shopping guides.
You may be able to advertise your services at area gourmet food stores,
butcher shops, and liquor stores; offer a commission or bonus for business they
refer to you, and do some of your own shopping there. Ask friends, acquaintances,
and satisfied customers to recommend your services; offer them a bonus
or discount on future services in return for business they send your way.
Make contact with area party planners, chambers of commerce, and other
groups whose members might be active in the local social scene.
You could teach a cooking course at a local community school for publicity
and perhaps some clients.
Up-front Expenses
You’ll need specialty pots, pans, and cooking utensils. For unusual dishes you
may need specialty oven pans and serving platters. You may also need to purchase
and maintain some basic and unusual ingredients.
You should build a library of cookbooks and reference books; a great deal of
information is also available on the Internet.
Other costs include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge
There are two common ways to bill for your service for this sort of a job:
1. A set charge for each dish prepared, taking into account the amount of
time required and the cost of ingredients. You’ll need to adjust the price
based on the number of guests you will be feeding.
2. An hourly rate for planning, preparing, cooking, serving, and cleaning
up, plus an additional charge for the cost of ingredients and supplies. You
should be able to purchase wine, gourmet ingredients, and other supplies
at wholesale or discount prices and bill your customers at retail rates.
Additional expenses include delivery charges for special ingredients or
equipment and an hourly charge for a helper for food preparation or serving.
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: Your attorney should be able to advise you about any local health
codes that might be involved and about any regulations on the resale of alcoholic
beverages (it might be necessary to have the client deal directly with a liquor
store).

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