Overworked restaurant chefs reach boiling point

Two-thirds of Australian chefs say work-life balance ‘impossible’

Think all professional chefs enjoy great job satisfaction and lavish lifestyles away from the heat of the kitchen? Think again.

In reality a quarter of Australian chefs (24%) work overtime at an average of 53 hours per week in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the restaurant world, according to the latest research by social dining community, CHEFIN. More than half of chefs (54 per cent) feel they don’t have sufficient time to devote to their family, friends and personal commitments.

Work-life worries

It seems our overworked gastronomic gurus make plenty of other sacrifices. Twenty-nine per cent say they are too busy to take care of their diet, fitness and stress levels, 31 per cent have minimal social life, and 17 per cent need to work multiple jobs to make a living.

The majority of chefs (66 per cent) also agree that work-life balance is an illusion, not a reality, while 73 per cent report constantly feeling like they’re racing against the clock.

Find the love

With these unhealthy ingredients forming a recipe for stress and frustration, CHEFIN Co-Founder Sukey Xu encourages chefs to rediscover that passion for cooking.

“Most chefs fell in love with cooking at some point in their lives. If working at intense commercial restaurants has become a burden instead of a joy, my advice would be to go back to their roots and cook creatively, cook when they feel inspired, and cook for people who appreciate their talents,” she said.

“That’s the benefit of being a private chef at dinner parties and special events. It’s a more intimate, authentic experience when you’re cooking in somebody’s home kitchen and creating your own amazing dishes.”

Interested in being a private chef? Contact CHEFIN and join the team for free.

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Sukey Xu, Co-Founder:
Phone: 0477 666 351
Email: sukey@chefin.com.au

Happy chef discovers “social” way to cook up a storm

Fine dining experience

What happens when you combine quality ingredients and culinary creativity with the laid-back atmosphere of home? You get a unique social dining experience that’s just as satisfying for the private chef as it is for the hungry hosts and their lucky guests.

This is the delicious world of CHEFIN, a new online platform where foodies can hire a private chef to come over and create custom gourmet meals in their own kitchens. It’s a modern way to ‘meet, greet and eat’, no restaurant required.

However, customers keen to escape the house can choose to host their event at one of CHEFIN’s partner venues, including a winery, a gallery, an historic boutique building and a harbour-view house.

Celebrate your special occasion

Romantic evenings, birthday parties, team building events and good old-fashioned dinner parties with friends or family – you name it, there’s a chef ready to do the shopping, cooking and cleaning.

Corporate catering Sydney

One of those chefs is Enguerrand De Saint Leger, a French professional now cooking up a storm in kitchens all over Sydney.

“When I cook in people’s homes it’s more than a meal, it’s a real event,” says De Saint Leger, who previously worked at top Paris restaurants including the five-star Hôtel de la Tremoille, before bringing his culinary skills to Australia in 2014.

As the freshest ingredient in Australia’s thriving food scene, CHEFIN’ makes it easy for food lovers to watch and learn from an expert like De Saint Leger in action, or simply relax and enjoy a meal tailored to their tastebuds.

“A lot of guests are excited to discover what I’m doing when I create a dish. I really enjoy teaching and interacting with people who are just as passionate about good food as I am,” says De Saint Leger.

Taste of Europe- food with flowers

Personal Chefs love to work in friendly environment

While it’s no secret some chefs tend to get a little hot under the apron at times, CHEFIN’ encourages chefs to explore their creative sides, mains and desserts away from the intensity of a commercial kitchen.

“There is less stress. It is totally different to working at a restaurant where you are always out of sight in the kitchen and you don’t have the opportunity to mix with the people who eat your food,” he says.

“As a chef it’s exciting to be imaginative with every dish and menu. I can experiment, using my traditional French recipes and local Australian produce and flavours.”

Professional chefs and talented amateurs can discover the joy of social cooking by signing up at chefin.com.au.

Media Enquiries.
For all media enquiries please contact Sukey Xu:

10 steps for the perfect dinner party at home

Dinner parties are like pasta varieties – they come in all different shapes and sizes, but they’re easy to prepare if you follow some basic instructions. Some are small, casual catch-ups, while others call for a big deep breath and a few extra sets of wineglasses.

  • Send invitations
  • Confirm numbers
  • Get dietary requirements
  • Pick the chef & menu
  • Triple check the basics
  • Send reminders
  • Picture the scene
  • Remember to relax
  • Share the love
  • Keep the party going

The one thing all successful hosts have in common is good planning skills. So how do you make your event sizzle, not fizzle? First you need a checklist. Well look at that, we’ve made one for you already… Your checklist explained:


However you choose to send invitations – via email, social media or even the old-fashioned letter – make sure you give recipients the important facts along with those fancy fonts and pictures. When and where is the event taking place? What do people need to bring? This could save you the trouble of answering the same questions from ten different people later on.

You can’t plan properly until you know who’s coming, so lock in those numbers as early as possible. You may need to be quite strict on your RSVP deadline, otherwise you’ll be waiting and waiting for the reply that never comes.

This is no time for guesswork. The last thing your dinner party needs is a guest who can’t eat the main course, or worse suffers an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients. Ask each guest if there is any important information you and/or the chef should know in advance. And of course, take every request seriously.

Now you’re making progress. The big question is: will you be cooking the meal yourself or will you be hiring a private chef? If you’re taking care of everything, stick to recipes you’re familiar with and use fresh ingredients. If you want an expert in the kitchen, do your research and discuss the chef’s menu options until you’re satisfied.

Sometimes a host focuses so much on the food that they forget to take care of the essentials like cooking equipment, table space, seating, plates, cutlery, glasses, music and more. Don’t let an awkward mid-party crisis happen on your watch. Work out exactly what you need and buy more of what’s missing.

The dinner party might be your number one priority, but never assume your guests feel the same way. People are busy, and there’s a chance your event has accidentally slipped the odd memory. A simple reminder or two will do the job.

Before your guests arrive, try to imagine how the evening will unfold from start to finish. Where do you want early arrivals to wait? Is the living room clean and tidy so people can get comfy? What’s the plan for post-dinner drinks? You can’t predict the future, but you can certainly try.

There’s nothing more frustrating at a dinner party than a host who can’t sit down. Your guests want you to have a good time too. You’ve done all the hard work, so don’t forget to actually enjoy yourself!

Being a good host is no walk in the dining room. Yes you’re tyring to avoid unnecessary distractions, but you’re definitely not trying to avoid your guests. Eat together. Chat to everyone. If possible, be at the table for the toasts, the group photos, and all the other memorable moments.

The food’s been eaten, the place is clean, and the chef has left you for the evening. That doesn’t mean the party’s over. Depending on the people and the occasion, the good times might just roll on for a few more hours. Keep the drinks flowing, the music playing, the lights down low and the energy up high. You really are the host with the most!

5 fun facts about how Aussie foodies plan their meals


Think you know a real foodie when you see one? Well, we asked Australians to reveal their true cooking and dining habits. We stirred the pot, crunched the numbers, and came up with these 5 fun facts about how Aussie foodies plan their meals. Enjoy…

Foodies – Convenience is our top priority

What do we want? Delicious food without any hassle. When do we want it? Oh, pretty much all the time thanks. Yes, Australians admit that convenience (28%) is the number one reason to choose one meal over another. For the record, cravings (23%) and routine (22%) fill out the top three. We also look for healthy, nutritious meals (15%) and affordable options (14%).

1 in 5 would prefer someone else to do the cooking

Perhaps deep down we all just want to be judges on MasterChef or My Kitchen Rules. Relaxing, chatting, discussing the fancy menu, and of course eating spectacular food that we didn’t prepare ourselves. Whatever our motivations, the fact is 21% of Australians would like a private chef or another person to cook their meals. And let’s be honest, who can blame them?

1 in 3 planned a dinner party last month

It seems we’re a nation of social (and rather hungry) butterflies, with 32% of people organising a dinner party or food-related event in the past month. Younger people are even more likely to get their friends together around the table, with 40% of 18-34 year olds organising some sort of dining experience in the past month. In addition, 70% of Australians dined out and 72% ordered takeaway food in the past month.

The average host needs 7 days to plan an event

What’s an appropriate amount of time to plan a dinner party? A phone call the night before sounds like a bad idea. Six months in advance and your guests might forget where you live, let alone when to turn up. How about 7 days of party planning? That’s the average preference of hosts around the country. However, 17% are still more likely to start planning at the last minute (2 days prior or less) and 36% are more likely to start planning 8 days prior or longer.

Almost two-thirds foodies prefer authentic cooking

There are plenty of food choices out there, but 62% of us crave authentic or homestyle cooking. Food that reminds us of our favourite dishes from childhood. Food made by a passionate chef. Food that tastes like real food. Mmmmm spaghetti bolognese … what gets your taste buds tingling?


Book your Private Chef which you and your guests will never forget!

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Foodtech startup CHEFIN – press release

Australian food technology startup, CHEFIN created an innovative web app where party hosts and businesses can find professional private chefs to provide healthy meals and exclusive dining experiences.

In December 2015 CHEFIN opened its digital doors and invited consumers and businesses across Sydney to connect with passionate local chefs via a new web application, along with a little hands-on party planning assistance from co-founders and self-confessed ‘social foodies’, Petko Petkov and Sukey Xu.

The goal was to build a unique community where friends, families and businesses could enjoy authentic food experience prepared in their own kitchens by talented private chefs craving a fresh way to earn a second income. That social dining dream has since become a satisfying reality. So what inspired this startup to identify and fill the gap in a rapidly evolving foodservice technology sector?

“My Italian friend was visiting from Sicily and we were cooking meals for each other all the time. It suddenly hit me what a massive role food plays in our social lives and everyday happiness. It’s a core ingredient in many of our favourite memories,” explained Petkov.

“But we can’t always connect with people as often as we would like. I started paying more attention to the hospitality industry and I noticed that issues like overcrowding, long waiting times, group booking surcharges, and poor facilities for children and people with limited mobility, were potentially detracting from the restaurant dining experience.”

With a background in consumer research and insights, Petkov set about gathering data to discover if this ‘gut feeling’ translated to other challenges such as hosting meals and social events at home. The feedback told a clear story: many Australians feel they don’t have time to look for high-quality food options or cook and clean for a dinner party, while take-away and food delivery services don’t always offer the chance to share a positive experience with loved ones.

In the meantime, Petkov and Xu also asked professional chefs how they truly felt about their industry. “The response was eye-opening. Many chefs told us the existing model was far from perfect. They were overworked, underpaid and unhappy. Their lifestyles were not healthy,” Petkov said.

A high percentage of chefs revealed further pain points such as not being able to cook their own recipes or create their own menus, combined with a lack of engagement and recognition from the people eating their food. “The interaction with diners is very important to chefs. They like to see people enjoying their culinary creations and they like to receive direct feedback,” Petkov said.

In response to these frustrations, Petkov, Xu and a small team of business partners launched CHEFIN, a user-friendly online search and booking system designed to serve both sides of the consumer/chef marketplace.

“We wanted to help consumers choose a meal that’s convenient, healthy, affordable, and locally and sustainably sourced, and at the same time, we wanted to take private chefs back to why they fell in love with cooking in the first place. We put all our energy into developing a platform that supported those two big ambitions,” Petkov said.

CHEFIN’ now makes it easy to book a private chef or full catering service for events ranging from a romantic dinner for two all the way to a wedding or corporate function for 200 and anything in between, with home birthday parties proving a particularly popular choice so far. Party planners and corporate decision makers can talk to a CHEFIN’ team member, as well as the private chef, about the specific details and menu options for an upcoming event.

“We are able to offer the customer different cuisines, dishes, themes and even venues. For chefs it’s an opportunity to be their own boss, work flexible hours, make extra cash and express themselves through creative cooking and greater communication with guests,” Petkov said.

CHEFIN used EMMA / IPSOS research to identify two key target markets: ‘social creatives’ (6% of Australians) and ‘educated professionals’ (also 6%) between the ages of 25-44 and living in urban areas. While this audience represents a healthy 12% of the national market, the startup is keen to eventually explore global opportunities.

“Part of our growth strategy is to increase the visibility of food growers/producers and the local chefs that turn these fresh, nutritious ingredients into healthy meals personalised to consumer needs and lifestyles,” Petkov said.

These days the CHEFIN’ brand comprises an expanding team of developers, marketers, managers and executive chefs, who all take pride in being part of Sydney’s vibrant startup ecosystem. “Our policy is to work with a variety of co-working spaces and support other local startups and small businesses wherever possible,” Petkov added.

CHEFIN currently promotes more than 40 private chefs and provides custom catering solutions to more than 30 corporate clients including STARTCON, TWO | SPACE, freelancer and Asia Recon. The startup will soon be launching events in both Brisbane and Melbourne as part of its national expansion. Look out for CHEFIN’s ongoing rise up the foodtech chain.

Book your Private Chef which you and your guests will never forget!

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