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Proven ways to impress clients as a private chef

Private Chefs

May 6, 2022

Proven ways to impress clients as a private chef

Having a private chef come to your own home is, for a lot of people, already a theatrical and magical experience in itself. Although the quality of food and polite manner of the chef are a top priority for providing a 5* service, the private chefs on the HOMETAINMENT platform are the best in London, so we kind of expect these things to come as a given. Therefore, I wanted to share with you two things you can incorporate into your dining experience as a chef that will leave your clients in complete awe of the evening and guarantee booking you again and again.

At HOMETIANMENT we pride ourselves on creating memorable and lasting experiences in the form of dinner parties for our clients and guests. In the secrecy of the clients own home, we aim to help you as chefs open up the doors to an evening of suspense and spectacle beyond any food-lover’s imagination by following our top tips laid out in the chef handbook which you all receive when you onboard with us.

The two top tips which we know impress our clients most are: course introductions and surprise gifts. They can elevate the special day to the next level, as well as be executed without chefs bending over backwards. We really believe that these two things can bring a dinner party to life and leave the client with a lasting impression which they can’t help but tell their friends about.

Course Introductions

It is really important that you don’t just describe what the food is, but also where it is from and how it was cooked in an enchanting way that almost transports the client to the summer hills of Tuscany for a brief few seconds, for example. Using emotionally charged language is just like adding salt and pepper to your food, and coming up with creative ways of reminding the client about the things they care about most - like their family or their origins - is a powerful method for creating a memorable experience that they want to invest in again.

It may seem like a little bit of an effort to come up with an introduction for every course, but with 3 years experience in the industry I can honestly assure you it is worth it. Course introductions were one of the strongest elements of feedback from customers when we conducted a survey on over 700 clients to work out what they expected from the perfect private chef experience. They are a form of mid-meal entertainment and work to bring a theatrical element to the evening. It can take that rating from 5 to 6 stars. Suspense and then drop (like podcast).

Here are my top tips for course introductions…

  • When composing course introductions you should: use adjectives (e.g. tender), cultural/geographical terms (e.g. Tuscan), nostalgic terms (e.g. Grandma’s), process descriptions (e.g. Line-caught) and include techniques (e.g. confit or braised)
  • Address the table confidently after you have finished serving the last guest
  • Ask the table if they have any questions regarding the dish

Here is an example of a bad course introduction…

  • "Here we have lamb shoulder with tomatoes and new potatoes."

Here is how to elevate this course introduction into something magical…

  • "Slow-cooked for eight hours, this intensely flavored and juicy shoulder of lamb from my local butcher, infused with fresh rosemary and garlic, has just fallen off the bone onto your plate and is one of my specialties. Served with char-grilled tomatoes, vine-ripened in the heart of tuscany, and tender new potatoes mixed with home-made wild garlic pesto which has grown in my garden. It can all be topped with a tangy tzatziki which I have placed in the middle of the table to share. Please enjoy!"

Surprise Gifts

A major contributing factor to your success as a private chef is client retention. Clients absolutely love it when they feel like you are invested in the success of their events. Surprise gifts are a perfect way to increase your rebooking and client retention. It goes such a long way and can change the tone of the evening. This is because in the moment where we are ‘surprised’, our cognitive resources are basically hijacked and pulled into the moment. Surprises trigger something in the brain to generate extreme curiosity in an attempt to figure out what is happening during a surprise. Our emotions intensify up to 400% and if we’re surprised with something positive, we’ll feel more intense feelings of happiness or joy than we normally would have absent the surprise.

Here are some of my top recommendations for a surprise gift:

  • Fresh bread (with homemade and flavoured butter)
  • Homemade chocolates/truffles
  • Infused shot of a spirit/liquor
  • Fudge to serve with tea/coffee
  • A bottle of wine/champagne
  • Flowers
  • An extra course
  • Look to see if you have any surplus ingredients that you could use as an amuse-bouche/petit four.

If you want to take it to the next level you can find out what type of event it is and then use this as an opportunity to impress the guests. For example, my last HOMETAINMENT booking was for mothers day and I knew the family had a tough year. Therefore, I made a selection of red velvet cupcakes with love heart decorations as a way for them to celebrate the importance of having their family together and celebrating how special their mother was to them.

Chef Daisy

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