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Letter: The Work of a Personal Chef

To the Editor:

I was disappointed in the article on April 10 regarding personal chefs. I believe the Valley News missed an opportunity to inform its readers about the valuable service we personal chefs actually provide.

Caterers, personal chefs and private chefs are three different professions. A caterer is a small business that generally delivers food prepared in a certified commercial kitchen, and is mostly utilized for larger gatherings. A private chef is someone who works for one family only and is usually their employee. A personal chef is a small business that is a little of both. I can prepare a week’s worth of palate-specific healthy dinners, or prepare and serve brunch for 20, all in the client’s kitchen. Professional personal chefs never use their home kitchen to prepare a client’s food.

There are many types of people who benefit from using a personal chef; overworked graduate students are certainly one. But there are also those convalescing from recent surgery or illness, sleep-deprived new parents, and families where both parents work long hours — all of whom want to eat better than take-out or frozen supermarket fare. There’s the senior citizen living alone whose family is worried that she may not be getting the right nutrition, or the couple with the lake home here on vacation who would rather not cook. Personal chefs can also can help with specific diets and portion control for health and weight maintenance.

A personal chef will recommend a menu based on a client’s needs and preferences, and on the scheduled day of service, will arrive at the client’s home with everything needed to prepare the meal(s). We shop for the freshest local ingredients, bring our own equipment and clean up when we’re done. We require only the use of a client’s stove and refrigerator. You get the warm aroma of freshly prepared food in your home with none of the work. What could be better than that?

For more information on how a personal chef can help you, see www.personalchef.com, the website of the American Personal and Private Chef Association.

Janet Riehl

Janet’s Real Food

Etna

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You wouldn’t know it from looking at photographs of Brian Kasten in a chef’s standard white coat, but the cook and owner of Supper Solution in Thetford never intended to go into the food business. As a geology major at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1980s, Kasten’s main course of study was how to develop alternate methods of …