A private chef is a luxury asset, but are you investing in the right resources for your culinary wizard?
This is the first in a series of short articles highlighting some culinary considerations that will improve the service that a private chef can deliver their principals. While some topics will be a little obscure and others may seem obvious, there’s a lot to be gained by re-assessing somewhat obvious areas. From our experience in the private sector we know the value of investing a little thought and time in the resources your private chef has to hand.
One of the biggest culinary benefits to any house or estate is the kitchen garden. It seems obvious but more often than not, it can become “no man’s land”, the piece of land that time forgot. While in some cases it would be impractical for the principals to be overly involved, there is the opportunity for the house or estate manager to be involved and assist in enlarging the culinary scope.
With a little bit of imagination the vegetable garden can produce a huge amount of magic, fantastic fresh seasonal ingredients – but just as important, it conjures inspiration. There is nothing more pleasing and inspiring for a chef than to walk through the garden that’s sprouting the season’s offerings and bursting into life with new culinary delights.
The morning journey through the kitchen garden is where it all begins, where the creative spirit develops inspiring the chef to think of dishes that utilize the fresh produce, to create menus that are in tune with the day and work well with the weather. Don’t confine the potential to the garden, create a space near the kitchen where your chef can snip their herbs and chilies. In just a few steps the freshest garnishes can be picked to dress the final plate. With pots and hanging systems you can create the most amazing backdoor larder.
Precision planning will enable your green-fingered staff to design and create a garden for all seasons, keeping your chef accustomed to the morning ritual of foraging for ingredients all year round. Work closely with your chef; create an ongoing list of herbs, edible flowers, vegetables and fruits to grow and enjoy, not forgetting to inject some new ideas and flavors. With a little imagination and some careful planning you’ll have an unrivalled source of fresh ingredients.
Greenhouses, poly tunnels and south-facing walls, coupled with a little imagination, will produce exotic offerings and extend growing seasons. Be bold, be inspired and try growing new ingredients you haven’t experienced before. It’s great to wow the guests, explaining that the light summer salad was picked just 30 minutes before service. And don’t forget… there is nothing more exciting than spreading your home made sourdough bread with butter and your homemade jam that started life in the strawberry patch.
In a world where ingredients are shipped around the globe and our produce is sprayed with chemicals that you wouldn’t even store in your garage, let alone your kitchen, the garden holds more than a route to supplying fresh produce for your chef to cook with. It develops into a natural way to grow healthy fruits and vegetables giving control over the quality of the food that’s produced for the principal(s), family and friends.
Philip is the founder of Chef Xclusive; a niche recruitment and consulting agency specializing in private chefs for luxury lifestyles. Operating globally they are positioned at the forefront of international private staff recruitment.