Private chefs. We all like the idea of them, but we don’t all see what they can bring to the table. In the age of Masterchef, everyone fancies themselves a home cook, but how much can you pull off in the kitchen? It’s fun trying out new cooking techniques and culinary trickery, but there are some things a personal chef can do that the average home chef simply can’t.
Of course, you could be an incredible cook for all we know. We’re just here to share some culinary mastery that a personal chef can bring to your kitchen, that the average home-chef can’t pull off. Here are six examples.
1. Waste-free cooking
Where a home cook might end up with a bin full of food scraps at the end of a meal, a chef knows how to repurpose each leftover food item into something else. Whether it’s throwing shrimp shells into a sauce, mushroom skin into stock, or celery leaf into a salad, personal chefs know how to make the most of every single scrap of food that goes into cooking. When you’ve got a private chef in your kitchen, watch and learn as they take what looks like a throwaway item and turn it into a source of flavour.
2. Deglazed sauces
There’s something about restaurant-quality sauces that can be hard to replicate at home. Sure, it could be that most of them take hours to reduce into a rich and decadent result, but the other trick could be deglazing. Deglazing is how private chefs use all the deposits of browned juices and fats stuck to the bottom of a pan to create mouth-watering sauces.
You might already be deglazing all the time without realising it, but a private chef will take that browned gold and turn it into the base of a concentrated sauce. Deglazing is done by pouring the cold liquid (water, stock, or wine) into a steaming hot pan, so those brown bits are loosened from the surface and immersed into the boiling liquid. Your personal chef could deglaze the pan after roasting meats or sauteing onions to ensure that nothing is wasted and all flavours of the meal are maximised.
3. Number crunching for food
A real chef can crunch out the price of a dish in mere seconds. Tell a guest your budget, the number of guests, or what you’d like to have on the menu, and they’ll deliver you a breakdown of exactly how they plan to do it. With years of experience building menus, working with guest lists, and pricing dishes, personal chefs have mastered the art of food calculation. They’ll know when it’s necessary to cut back on inventory when you can afford to splurge on a higher quality ingredient, and how to supplement one dish with another one that’s equally as good but easier on the budget.
4. Confit cooking
Whipping up a quick meal at home hardly leaves time for confit, unless you have a private chef in the kitchen, that is. Confit is slow-cooking that’s low on heat and high in fat. The technique is used to preserve food (be it meat, veg, or fruit) by slowly cooking it in a pure fat or concentrated sugar syrup – the latter being for fruit, of course. Using this method to cook meat (not only duck or goose!) creates a melt-in-your-mouth tender result that’s unsurpassed by any other mode of cooking. In our opinion, it’s well worth having a personal chef in your kitchen if it means you get to have confit.
5. Flambe away
Always wanted to see a pan set alight in your kitchen? Then you probably want a private chef to come in and flambe something. This technique involves adding alcohol to the pot and literally setting food on fire – blue fire – leaving behind a subtle smokey and alcoholic flavour lingering in the dish. Chefs will usually use rum, cognac, or brandy to flambe a dish, and it takes a lot of preparation, precision, and know-how – so really, don’t try this at home!
6. Plating up finesse
You could have cooked the most incredible meal, using all the finest French cooking techniques, but if it’s not plated up well, then it’s bound to lose some of it’s an impressive effect. It’s unfortunate, but appearances rule the dining room, and that’s just another thing a private chef can bring to your kitchen. Plating up is a real art, with several techniques, tricks, and an eye for design needed to pull off an aesthetically pleasing dish.
A personal chef will picture the final result before they’ve even started cooking, preparing specific ingredients with the plating up already in mind. They’ll know how to layer food items, how to spread sauces in pleasing ways, how to stack foods and meticulously arrange them in a beautiful display. While we’re at it, a private chef will also know how to plate up to several dishes at the same time, eyes on the clock and ready for serving time. With swarms of hungry eyes upon them, a good personal chef can plate up quickly and beautifully, all while under pressure!
There are more personal chefs can do
The above is only a sneak peek of what a personal chef can bring to your kitchen. Besides creativity, a deep understanding of food and cooking, and culinary mastery, there’s a whole arsenal of trickery a private chef can bring – if you’ve watched a cooking show, you know what we mean.
The only way to see how a personal chef can transform your kitchen into a fine-dining restaurant is to have one there and see what happens. You can pick their brains, learn some tips and tricks, and watch the mastery in action. Our chefs are part of the show and will entertain, teach, cook, plate up, and serve, interacting with you and your diners and involving you in every step of the process. Curious? Get in touch with our team and book your private chef today.