Finding Demos for the Independent Private Chef

by Alex Tishman

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on How To Become A Private Chef.

Private chefs working with an agency will have no shortage of demos over time. However, for the independent private chef, it may take a bit more initiative to get your name out there. Begin by compiling a list of local stores, wineries, and farms where you have attended demos in the past. You can also include the same types of businesses if they haven’t had demos that you know of, but you think they would benefit from doing so.

Once you have your list, create a few sample menus that are specific to the products in which they specialize. You can approach the owner or manager with these menus, and offer your services. Be polite and personable, and make it clear that you have taken the time to get to know what they’re about.

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Private chefs working with an agency will have no shortage of demos over time. However, for the independent private chef, it may take a bit more initiative to get your name out there. Begin by compiling a list of local stores, wineries, and farms where you have attended demos in the past. You can also include the same types of businesses if they haven’t had demos that you know of, but you think they would benefit from doing so.

Once you have your list, create a few sample menus that are specific to the products in which they specialize. You can approach the owner or manager with these menus, and offer your services. Be polite and personable, and make it clear that you have taken the time to get to know what they’re about.

Most businesses already have a set budget for a private chef demo, but there is frequently room for negotiation in that price. If there will be a lot of people attending, you can generally increase the fee 25-50% above the original quote. Comped items and food costs are separate from that fee.

Treat the demo itself as a true opportunity to shine. Learn people’s names. Have your business cards available for the taking. Be prepared for a lot of foot traffic in a short amount of time, and tailor your presentation and responses to questions accordingly. Ultimately, remember that a little bit of flash and personality go a long way toward making an impression during a demo. If you’re enjoying yourself and creating something memorable at the same time, people will notice and you’ll invariably be asked back.
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