Why Doing Free Work as a Personal Chef is a Recipe for Disaster

The Dangers of Free Work for Personal Chefs

On this week’s Chefs Without Restaurants Podcast

On this week’s podcast, I discuss the dangers of free work for personal chefs. As a personal chef, my business is centered around providing my clients with a restaurant-style experience in the comfort of their own home. This includes personalized menus, table service, and even bringing my own cooking equipment and dishware. However, one mistake I made in the early days of my business was thinking that attending events and giving out free food was a good way to market myself and attract paying customers. In this post, I’ll share some of my experiences with this approach and why I believe it ultimately doesn’t work.

The Problems with Free Work

One of the main issues with doing free work is that it can be difficult to effectively showcase your skills and services when you’re limited to a small, sample-sized portion of food at an event. My business is based on providing an in-home dining experience with personalized menus and table service, which is not something that can be easily translated to a six-foot table in a mall on a Sunday afternoon. Additionally, the caliber of food I’m able to give away for free is not going to be on par with what I’m able to serve at a full-scale dinner event.

Another issue with free work is that it can be time-consuming and costly. For example, I once paid to have a table at an event and gave out hundreds of portions of free food, only to have people come by, grab a bite, and move on to the next table without taking a business card or showing any real interest in hiring me. Similarly, I was once convinced to do a dinner on a boat, which involved a lot of time and effort setting up and preparing food on a grill. While I had hoped to get some exposure to food media and potentially land some gigs as a result, the event ended up being a disaster and I didn’t end up getting any new business out of it.

The Better Alternative

Simply put…Don’t do it. After experiencing a number of failures with this approach, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not necessary (or even effective) to do free work in order to succeed in business. I’ve found that my skills and services are valuable enough that I don’t need to give them away for free in order to attract paying customers. Over the past five years, my side hustle has become my primary source of income, and I’ve been able to build a successful business without having to attend expos or work for free.

Final Take-away

Doing free work as a personal chef (or in any creative or service-based business) is not a successful marketing strategy. While it may seem like a good way to get in front of potential customers, it’s ultimately time-consuming, costly, and might not effectively showcase your skills and services. Instead, focus on the value you can provide to your clients and charge accordingly. This will not only help you build a successful business, but it will also help you attract the right kind of clients who are willing to pay for your services.

Relevant Links and Where to Learn About Chefs Without Restaurants

You can listen to the show on PodpagePodlink,  BuzzsproutITunesSpotifyTuneInStitcherAmazon MusicPandora I Heart Radio, and everywhere podcasts are found.

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Flavors Unknown with Emmanuel Laroche

About Emmanuel Laroche

This week my podcast guest is Emmanuel Laroche. Emmanuel has more than 20 years in the food ingredient industry, and is currently in charge of marketing for a company that manufactures flavors for food and beverage companies like Unilever and Nestle. 

In 2018 Emmanuel launched the Flavors Unknown podcast. Every other week he speaks to the chefs, pastry chefs, and bartenders who are creating tomorrow’s trends. Full disclosure… I was a guest this Spring, and you can hear me on episode 65

On This Week’s Podcast

Emmanuel has a master’s degree in organic chemistry, and an internship for his MBA led him to this career in flavor manufacturing. On the show, you’ll hear his origin story. We also talk about his podcast, how and why he started it, and some takeaways from the guests he’s had on his show. Some of his guests include chefs Andrew McLeodLevon Wallace, Philip Spear, Misti Norris, and today he’s releasing an episode with pastry chef François Payard.

This Week’s Sponsor

Looking to hire employees for your restaurant? This week’s sponsor is Savory Jobs, a job site only for restaurants. For just $50, get unlimited job postings for an entire year. Use discount code SAVORY10 to save 10%

Relevant Links and Where to Learn About Emmanuel Laroche and Flavors Unknown

You can listen to the show on PodpagePodlink,  BuzzsproutITunesSpotifyTuneInStitcherAmazon MusicPandora I Heart Radio, and everywhere podcasts are found.

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Emmanuel Laroche

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Flavors Unknown Instagram
Flavors Unknown Twitter
Flavors Unknown Website
Flavors Unknown Podcast
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Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites https://perfectlittlebites.com/

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If you want to support the show, our Venmo name is ChefWoRestos and can be found at https://venmo.com/ChefWoRestos. If you enjoy the show, have ever received a job through one of our referrals, have been a guest,  or simply want to help, it would be much appreciated. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

Farm to Table, Indian Cooking, and More Than Masala with Chef Keith Sarasin

About Keith Sarasin

This week my guest is chef Keith Sarasin. With his business, The Farmers Dinner, Keith and other guest chefs bring a multi-course dinner out to the farms of New England. Keith also has a deep love and respect for Indian cooking, which he expresses through his Indian-inspired pop-up experience Aatma. On his More Than Masala podcast, he and co-host Ragini of Third Culture Cooks, take a deep dive into a singular spice. And while we didn’t even get into it on the show, Keith has published a number of cookbooks

Berbere Butternut Squash Bisque – Chorizo – Pecan Oil Everything Bagel Croutons

On This Week’s Podcast

On this episode, we discuss farm-to-table cooking, and being a responsible chef as it relates to your community and the environment. We talk about food waste, educating your customers, cultural appropriation, and mental health. And of course, we talk about Indian cooking, and his podcast. 

This Week’s Sponsor

Looking to hire employees for your restaurant? This week’s sponsor is Savory Jobs, a job site only for restaurants. For just $50, get unlimited job postings for an entire year. Use discount code SAVORY10 to save 10%

Maine Lobster – Quark & Spring Garlic Stuffed Morels -Sumac Shoots – Brown Butter Milk Crumbs – Spring Carrot Purée- Tamarack Needles

Relevant Links and Where to Learn About Keith Sarasin

You can listen to the show on PodpagePodlink,  BuzzsproutITunesSpotifyTuneInStitcherAmazon MusicPandora I Heart Radio, and everywhere podcasts are found.

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Keith Sarasin

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Keith’s Instagram
Keith’s Website
Keith’s Facebook
Recommended Reading: India: The CookbookThe Illustrated Foods of IndiaPrashad Cooking with Indian Masters
Chef to Know: Chintan Pandya

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CONNECT WITH US

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SUPPORT US ON PATREON
Get the Chefs Without Restaurants Newsletter
Visit Our Amazon Store (we get paid when you buy stuff)
Connect on Clubhouse
Check out our websites (they have different stuff) https://chefswithoutrestaurants.org/ & https://chefswithoutrestaurants.com/

Like our Facebook page

Join the private Facebook group

Join the conversation on Twitter

Check our Instagram pics

Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites https://perfectlittlebites.com/

Watch on YouTube

If you want to support the show, our Venmo name is ChefWoRestos and can be found at https://venmo.com/ChefWoRestos. If you enjoy the show, have ever received a job through one of our referrals, have been a guest,  or simply want to help, it would be much appreciated. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

The Joy Premium and How it Relates to Charging for Your Work – with Cook and Storyteller Jonathan Bardzik

About Jonathan Bardzik

This week my guest is Jonathan Bardzik. He’s a storyteller, cook, and author. He’s a performer, speaking and cooking for private and corporate audiences, creating customized experiences that build connection. He’s appeared with more than 900 audiences, been on the TedX stage, written 4 books, and his new television series, Jonathan’s Kitchen: Seasons to Taste recently debuted on Revry. His work has been covered by USAToday, The Washington Post, and Food Network Magazine. Overcoming hurdles, including once setting the Christmas dinner table on fire, Jonathan celebrates 10 years in business this month.

On This Week’s Podcast

On the show, we talk about how he started his cooking and speaking career, and he shares his advice on how you can start too. We discuss why he wanted to write cookbooks, and some tips for those listeners who might want to do the same. We talk about his new TV show, and improvisation while speaking and cooking. Jonathan also explains what the joy premium is, and how it’s related to charging for your work. How much joy does a dinner bring you? If you’re excited about an event, maybe you’d be ok with charging less. If it seems like the client might be challenging, and this is just a transactional event, you’d better get that money. What are your thought’s?  Feel free to comment on Facebook, Instagram or shoot me a DM or email.

And next week is episode 100. I think this is quite the milestone. The episode will still be about food, but my guest is an actor whose resume includes the TV show Cobra Kai. Intrigued? Come back next week.

Relevant Links and Where to Learn About Jonathan Bardzik

You can listen to the show on PodpagePodlink,  BuzzsproutITunesSpotifyTuneInStitcherAmazon MusicPandora I Heart Radio, and everywhere podcasts are found.

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Jonathan Bardzik

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Jonathan’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jonathanbardzik/

Watch Seasons to Taste https://watch.revry.tv/details/35368

Jonathan’s Website https://www.jonathanbardzik.com/
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CONNECT WITH US

================

SUPPORT US ON PATREON

Get the Chefs Without Restaurants Newsletter

Visit Our Amazon Store (we get paid when you buy stuff)

Connect on Clubhouse

Check out our websites (they have different stuff) https://chefswithoutrestaurants.org/ & https://chefswithoutrestaurants.com/

Like our Facebook page

Join the private Facebook group

Join the conversation on Twitter

Check our Instagram pics

Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites https://perfectlittlebites.com/

Watch on YouTube

If you want to support the show, our Venmo name is ChefWoRestos and can be found at https://venmo.com/ChefWoRestos. If you enjoy the show, have every received a job through one of our referrals, have been a guest, , or simply want to help, it would be much appreciated. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

Keys to Running a Successful Personal Chef Business – Earl Arnette III of Steez Catering

About Earl Arnette III and This Week’s Podcast

On this week’s podcast I have Earl Arnette III. He is the chef and owner of Steez Catering, a personal chef and catering business based out of Baltimore, Maryland.  This is one of our “Meet a Member” episodes. You’ll learn about his business, and we discuss topics like going to culinary school, what he wished he knew before starting a business, and mentors.

This Week’s Sponsor

This week’s show sponsor is Olive & Basket. For a wide variety of olive oils, vinegar, spices, sauces, and gourmet food items, visit their website Oliveandbasket.com to have their products shipped to your door. Use discount code CHEF20 for 20% off your order.

Relevant Links and Where to Learn About Earl Arnette III and Steez Catering

You can listen to the show on PodpagePodlink,  BuzzsproutITunesSpotifyTuneInStitcherAmazon MusicPandora I Heart Radio, and everywhere podcasts are found.

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Earl Arnette III – Steez Catering

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Steez Catering Instagram 

Steez Caterng Facebook

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CONNECT WITH US

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SUPPORT US ON PATREON

Get the Chefs Without Restaurants Newsletter

Visit Our Amazon Store (we get paid when you buy stuff)

Connect on Clubhouse

Check out our other website (it has different stuff) https://chefswithoutrestaurants.org

Like our Facebook page

Join the private Facebook group

Join the conversation on Twitter

Check our Instagram pics

Founder Chris Spear’s personal chef business Perfect Little Bites https://perfectlittlebites.com/

Watch on YouTube

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