Enquiries
+44 (0)20 7430 9811
  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    chef
  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    lady chef
  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    chef, waiter
  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

    bar man

Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Eat My Words – Executive Chef Rob Shipman

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Last summer an exciting opportunity arose for an Executive Chef in a top dining establishment in Casablanca, Morocco.  Mise en Place matched the role with the very talented foodie Rob Shipman over 18 months ago now.

Rob is all too familiar with high-spec food ideas and creations, having cooked for a number of celebrities.  He’s recently started his own blog ‘The Food Guy’ , sharing food inspiration, recipe ideas and tips alongside some beautiful snaps of his latest creations.

Here, we talk to Rob about his experiences in the cheffing world, where he likes to eat and what it takes to work in the kitchen.

Which is the last restaurant you visited and what were your thoughts?

Last night I went to a sushi restaurant in Casablanca call ILOLI.  There are many places doing sushi over here but this is the only place I’ve found so far that’s worth trying.  It seems that Morrocan’s are quite fond on deep fried sushi rolls with cream cheese.  This is what I’m trying to avoid.  The chef/owner of ILOLI has become a friend of mine now, he comes from Tokyo, the food is great and I can sit at the sushi bar and chat in Japanese all evening; it’s the only chance I get these days to speak Japanese.

Which is your favourite restaurant?

This is a very difficult question for me….! One of my favourites is perhaps Michele Bras in Hokkaido.  I’m still a big fan of Nobu and Zuma also.

What is the most important attribute for a chef to have, working in your kitchen?

That’s easy….honesty….if people are not honest with themselves, ultimately they are not being honest to the guest and this becomes a quality issue.  In my kitchen dishonest people are out!

If you had to give one piece of advice to an up and coming chef, what would it be?

Work hard…..always do your best and never make excuses….(that’s three pieces of advise as I’m not sure if one piece of advice will ever be enough!)

What would you choose for your last meal?

Veal carpaccio with loads of shaved white truffles and a bottle of vintage Montrachet.

Who would be your ideal dinner companion?

My wife.

Which chef(s) do you most admire?

Nobu, Ferran Adria, Tom Aikins.

What is your signature dish of the moment?

Nigiri sushi of tuna and salmon with white truffle oil, fleur de sel and lime juice.

What do you cook at home on your day off?

It’ll normally be a BBQ or a Moroccan tajine.

Have you had any recent food discoveries?

Yes – spaghetti with jumbo prawns and Moroccan chermoula sauce.  I made it at home recently and it tastes amazing!

What is your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?

My honyaki sashimi knife….it’s worth about $2,500 and was given to me as a gift by the owner of SUISIN knife factory in Osaka

____

We asked Rob for feedback on his experience of working with Mise en Place in looking for and securing a new position; here’s what he had to say:

“I highly recommend Mise en Place, Very professional, well connected and able to find great opportunities for talented people in the hospitality industry. I have first hand experience with this recruitment agency and I do recommend to job seekers and to employers.”

Follow Rob’s latest recipes, ideas and creations on his blog.

____

If you are looking for a new challenge or role in a top end hospitality and catering role, register on the Mise en Place website here to find out about the latest available roles.  

You can also submit your CV directly to our website, enabling us to identify the role(s) for you.

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat my Words – Chef Kayne Raymond

Monday, September 29th, 2014

This week we talk with Chef and adventurer Kayne Raymond. Chef Kayne commenced his passion with food very early on in his life and has travelled the world as a  Private Chef. He has also appeared on the US TV network BBC America in an adventure cooking show called No Kitchen Required.

Kayne you developed an early passion for cooking from your Mother. What is a fun or special moment you shared with her when learning to cook as a child/teen?  

I have quite a few good stories about food and growing up in the Raymond household.

I think I will share these two goodies…

My mum is a great cook! As a child I remember vividly my love for her pikelets. Most weekends started with warm pikelets, strawberry jam and whipped cream for breakfast.

I would constantly harass her to make pikelets at any opportunity! So one day after obviously having enough of me asking she told me to go ahead and make them myself.

I had the recipe and knew how it went as I’d watched her make them numerous times. I made the batter carefully adding everything and continued to cook the batch of pikelets.

They looked awesome. My brother and mum tucked into them and spat them out instantly. The recipe was completely correct except for the fact that that I had added salt instead of sugar to the recipe. I couldn’t help but burst into tears. Mum stepped in and remade the pikelets and all was good. I have never done that again!

Something we laugh a lot about these days also is how when I was a kid I would smell all my food! I still do whether Iʼm at home or a restaurant. I have always leant down and taken a good whiff! I would do it at the dinner table as a kid and it would drive my mum crazy! She would yell at me how that was terribly bad mannered and not to do it. There were a few occasions where there was a clip to the ear. 38 years down the track and I’m still smelling my food but she understands that it was those smells that drove me to follow my scent into a career as a chef. I haven’t been yelled at or had my ear clipped for a loooooooong time. Love you Mum!

When did you know you wanted to be a Chef professionally? At what age or particular moment in your life?

I started working in kitchens probably when I was 16 years old. Doing dishes and food preparation. I was the bloody fastest, most thorough dishwasher ever. I think I always pushed hard to be the best at whatever I did. I think that has something to do with being the middle child also. I remember working at a restaurant “Cin Cin” on quay in Auckland and I remember watching the chefs in awe. I felt that if I busted my ass doing the dishes and doing a good job with the food preparation they would notice me and give me a chance on the line. That didn’t happen but it really was that moment, at that restaurant that ultimately led me to want to be a chef.

You’re based in New Zealand and have travelled around the world working with many Chefs and have also worked as a Private Chef for the rich and famous. What would be one (or a few) tip/s you would give to those Chefs looking to work for wealthy clients on a one-on-one basis?

I think the most important tip I could give a chef wanting to get into a personal chef career is to be themselves, be personable and really make an effort to read and understand your client’s needs. Very Important!

Yes, you have to be a great chef but you also want the clients to feel comfortable and at ease around you. Your clients may have children, there are guests and friends that drop in etc. Its important that they trust you and feel safe. I treat my clients as I would treat anyone that was a close friend or family member. For me it has created great trust with my clients that gives them the freedom to be who they are around me. Its important not to pretend to be someone who you aren’t, to just please the client. I can’t express that enough, to just be yourself.

On another note I think a great tip is to broaden your repertoire of food. If you can cook Italian one night, Japanese the next, French, Indian etc it keeps the clients and yourself interested, excited and employed longer. Bonus!

Aside from excellent knowledge of food preparation, what are the soft skills that you think are needed for upcoming Chefs to have when looking to enter the Private/Personal Chef arena?

I think when entering the private chef arena you need to have a balance of several things. You need to know your profession well obviously, but private chef work is a lot more than just the food. You are sometimes working closely with wealthy high end clients from all nationalities and backgrounds who at times can be very demanding. I think you need to love food no 1 but also get on well with people, have strong social skills, honesty, integrity, patience and flexibility. This helps to navigate the demanding schedules that can occur not just from a “food” perspective but from a mental perspective. You have to be able to think on your feet and adjust at a moment’s notice.

What is one thing that you’ve learnt from your mentor/s that you still do to this very day?

My mentor always would say to me “life’s short, cook hard” I do this to this day and have never forgotten this!

It’s also a bad ass saying. Give it your best or go home.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

I don’t really have a favourite chef as such. There are so many chefs that are incredible in their styles and techniques that it’s impossible to choose. If I had to pick one I would feel I let down another. That being said, one of my most memorable meals was at a restaurant named “Sant Pau” many years ago in Spain. The chefs name is Carme Ruscalleda. It was one of those life long memories that I will cherish. From the train ride north of Spain along the coast (stopping outside the restaurant) to Carme cooking the most incredible dinner ever then coming out to our table and taking me for a tour of the kitchen, it just went on and on. It was awesome. Not many people I knew had known anything about her. She is a self taught Michelin star award chef, which at the time really inspired me to go there instead of El Bulli. She had the goods and it was one of my favourite food memories to date. I’m sure many people know who she is now.

What is the strangest/quirkiest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

Wow there has been many crazy things I have seen in the last 7 years of private chef work. Here is a G rated one for you.

One of the strangest or ridiculous things that happened was one Christmas when the client brought their 235 foot Mega Yacht to San Francisco and moored it down by the ferry building. I was to cook an elaborate dinner for 100 guests on the yacht.

I employed a team of chefs to assist me in preparing an enormous Christmas banquet, appetizers, midnight snack menu, etc. It turned out that all the food was for the clients and a couple of friends. I think 7 people showed up. My pastry chef was making bonbons and needed to run them to the freezer on another other level of the boat and had to have a security escort. It was a bloody waste of time, money and food. It was a total self indulgent waste of Christmas cheer.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

My three favourite places or dishes to eat are dim sum. I love soup dumpling, shumai, congee and make congee often. My favourite is Dungeness crab, pork and green onion.

Anything from New Zealand that has green lipped mussels in it. In particular I make a killer green lipped mussel fritter. It goes great with a little shaved beet, fennel and arugula salad.

I also think one of my favourite things to make is risotto! The fact that you have to “nurse” the risotto throughout the cooking process and stay with it from start to finish, from pan to plate I love. It a very versatile dish that lends to many types and styles. This is a dish I like to cook for friends.

I definitely cannot forget the Kiwi BBQ!!!!! I’m a GRILL-IN VILLAIN

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Probably the All Blacks rugby team (and I’d ask pro surfer Kelly Slater to turn up also)

If you don’t know who the All Blacks are you better act like ya know :-)

Do you have plans that you can share with our readers about your future projects or aspirations?

Right now I’m heading to NYC for another TV show test and working hard on some adventure cooking television shows.

I have been working on a nutritional juice company for the last seven months and hope to get that off the ground early 2014. Hopefully that will pan out. If not I will just hang out with my beautiful family and keep living the dream surfing cooking and paying the bills.

Life’s short cook hard!!!

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Polynesian Halibut Ceviche serves 6-8

  • 1.5 lbs halibut diced in half-inch cubes
  • 5 lemons juiced (enough to cover fish)
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • ¼ c fine diced red onion
  • ¼ c sliced green onion, green parts only
  • 1 large celery stick finely diced (about half a cup)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed ginger juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ¼ c chopped cilantro

-Dice halibut and cover in lemon juice
-Marinade at least 5 hrs, no more than 10
-Add remaining ingredients and mix
NB: Do not use bottled lemon or ginger juice for this recipe.
To make ginger juice, simply grate fresh ginger (skin and all)
and squeeze juice through cheesecloth, paper towel or your
hands!

Many thanks Kayne for sharing your love of food and of your professional experiences as a Private Chef. For our readers who would like to follow Kayne’s activities, visite his website at: www.kayneraymond.com , follow him on Twitter @kayneRaymond and his Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/CHEF.KAYNE.RAYMOND Thanks Kayne and we look forward to seeing you do more adventurous cooking!

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat my Words – Sean Bone

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

This week we talk with Chef Sean Bone. Sean is a Private Chef in Vancouver, Canada and has worked on large Estates and Private Yachts for wealthy clients and also works as a ‘TV station Chef”.  He talks with us about his current work and what it takes to be a Private Chef.

Sean you are a Certified Private Chef working for a large family in Vancouver on their motor vessel. Is this a full time job for you or do you have other clients you attend to also? 

I am a Red Seal Certified Chef who has worked in the private industry since 2009.  I have worked both on an estate and on yachts.  I recently retired my position working for a large Canadian family and am now focusing my efforts on building my personal business – which exclusively aims to provide private chef services.   At present I have numerous clients and have recently been picked up by a local television station as “station chef”.

What is one thing that you need to be aware of or prepare for when working in a non-standard environment like a boat?

Excellent organization, time management and pre-planning are vital to your personal success.  It is also always important to expect the unexpected.  Last minute changes are commonplace in this industry.  

You started cooking from an early age with a heavy influence from your Mother and Grandmother both of Italian descent. What is one thing they taught you that you still do to this very day?  

I still use a number of skills that my mother and grandmother taught me.  One that I hold dear to my heart is incorporating courgette flowers into summer cuisine.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with? 

I have a number of Chefs that are my favourite, but if I had to choose one – I would have to choose David Everitt-Matthias.  He has had a humble, yet rewarding career.  He works with his wife and he is an advocate of foraging. 

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career from your mentors? 

The best piece of advice I ever received from one of my mentors (Chef Michel Jacob) was to always work as though you had a video camera on you.  This helped me to always be aware of my demeanor, cleanliness and overall organization.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef? 

The list of advice that I would give is very large.  However, the top three tips would be: 1). You must love your food first before anyone else can love it, but you shouldn’t be arrogant about your food, you also should learn to accept that you cannot please everyone, 2). Your job is to please your client and guests first and foremost; therefore it is extremely important to create thoughtful and nutritious food, 3).  Always be organized by knowing your menus in advance.

What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?   

I suppose it’s not really THAT strange, but in my entire career as a Private Chef, the one thing that stands out is that I was asked to prepare potatoes as a side dish for every single dinner for 3 full years.  Let’s just say that I have a “large” repertoire of potato recipes under my belt.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare? 

I love to prepare braised meats (traditional and sous vide methods), stuffed pastas and breads made from natural starters.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be? 

I would love to prepare a full course meal for someone who is underprivileged.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

You can find a few of my simple (homestyle) recipes online at www.chefseanbone.com/blog

Anything else you’d like to say or share? 

Being a Private Chef seems glamorous but it is equally as challenging as being a restaurant chef.  Be prepared to be the first one awake and the last one to leave your post.  However, receiving compliments from your guests can make any long day worth every minute.  

Many thanks to Sean for taking time out of his very busy schedule to take part in our interview. Sean’s website can be found at www.chefseanbone.com and you can follow him on Twitter @ChefSeanBone as well as Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SeanBonePrivateChefServices

 

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat My Words – Stacie Pierce

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Today we talk with Stace Pierce a Private Chef who serves the very wealthy in Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York, an exclusive holiday destination for the elite.

Stacie was in great demand when we spoke to her therefore due to time constraints,  she sent a short bio of her career so far, which will give you great insight and inspiration…

I knew I wanted to be a chef since I was 14 years old, I am now 46.

I worked in a French restaurant and pleaded to get a job at 15 years old.  They finally gave me a shot  as a dishwasher and I had to work for free for two months to show that I really wanted it.

After two months I was given a prep job… no more dishes for me!  I loved the feeling of family within the kitchen and it feels very much like a team of any type such as sports, acting etc… 

I began to change my classes around in High School  to allow me to get to the restaurant by 1:00.

 By 17, I was accepted into the prestigious Culinary school “The Culinary Institute of America“.  I was one of the youngest at the time to be accepted! 

After CIA I went straight to New York and pounded the pavement and showed up over and over to the restaurants I wanted to work in. My first was “The Four Seasons”.

From there I had a 15 yr career in New York City as a Pastry chef to Union Square Cafe , Monkey Bar, Gotham Bar and Grill, to name a few.

I’ve been in many magazines and on T.V.  I’ve been lucky to have been given many opportunities to cook for movies and photo shoots.

I ended up (unfortunately)  going through a divorce. My husband and I had a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as Sag Harbor, New York. I stayed in Sag Harbor and literally fell into becoming a private chef.

I’ve been doing this for years now and work with clients who ask me to help them celebrate their most special moments.

When I cook I allow the food to be the focal point . I live in an area that is filled with farm stands and artisanal shops.

The clients I have eat at the Best Restaurants in the world. They own planes, trains and lots of automobiles, not to mention the Yachts!  They do nothing small and entertain big. They have butlers, chauffeurs and lots of “people” (which is also a big part of the job). 

A couple of years ago I bought a large catering company 185 employees. We did Big clam bakes on the beach , huge soirees, benefits etc.  Although it was fun, I missed the personal relationship between myself and the client. I sold the company to work on two other projects I am now pursuing presently.

Stacie’s projects are specifically working on a small restaurant where it will be more like a home environment it is very unique and she has wanted to cook in this type of setting forever. Stacie is also working with a woman who wants her to help roll out a dessert line,  mostly frozen cakes.

The above along with beginning to book up for the holiday season is a challenging yet exciting time for her now. For more info about Stacie visit her site: www.beautifulfoodbystacie.com

Thanks Stacie and all the best wishes for your business!

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat My Words – Ameerah Watson (Creole Peach)

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

This week we talk with Ameerah Watson, aka ‘Creole Peach’. Chef Ameerah was born in New Orleans where she received the foundation of her flavoring style. Later in life her mother, who was raised vegetarian, moved the family to Atlanta where Ameerah was primarily raised but still spent her summers in New Orleans. Each of these two southern cities are well known for their unique styles of cooking and flavours.

Paired with her Culinary Arts degree, she completed her Naturopathic Medicine certification in 2008 through the Phoenix Rising Institute to support her focus on the true root of food and what it can do for the human body. These two backgrounds, along with her upbringing, have resulted in Chef Ameerah being well versed in meeting every dietary need with flavour and colour.

We contacted Chef Ameerah during a very exciting time. She has been chosen as one of 9 Chefs to take part in a new TV reality competition show called “Restaurant Express” which aired in November.

Ameerah, you fell in love with cooking at an early age and eventually became a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, worked at amazing places such as The Marriott and Ritz Carlton and appearing very soon on The Food Network on TV. What is the main message that you want to give to others through the food that you prepare & make?

I would like people to respect food and love it for its qualities. Cook food in a way that praises its original flavor. Be simple yet creative. Most of all put your soul and heart in every dish.

What is the story around your nickname The Creole Peach?

I was born in New Orleans and the smell and taste of this unique place has always been in my veins. My upbringing has mostly been in Atlanta which is also a place that embodies Southern Hospitality. My flavor style matches this history. It was my sister who began calling me Creole Peach as one on my biggest fans of my food.

You specialise in vegetarian, vegan and raw foods, what was the main driver for you to focus in these particular areas and what is the most memorable comment from a client/customer who has eaten your food?

My mother’s side of the family has always been mostly vegetarian and my father’s side excellent farmers. All though I do cook for all diets, fresh food and health has always been my foundation. Food should feed your mind, body and soul.

Most of my clients are pleasantly surprised by fusion of seasonal ingredients. I pride myself on perfecting the basic and layering colorful jazz on top. The most memorable response from a client was a woman’s expression to me that she was in shock and amazement at my talent for cooking, and then she begged for a picture and my autograph.

You not only have your business as a Personal Chef but you are now commencing a new adventure by appearing on a Nationally televised show called ‘Restaurant Express’ where you and 8 others travel around the country cooking and competing on a large bus to win a chance to be Executive Chef at an exclusive resort. Congratulations on being part of this project! Do you have any game plan that you can share and what is something you’ve learnt so far on this project that is a good piece of advice to other Chefs? 

Always set a standard for each dish you create to be to best that someone has ever tasted. With this you will always be remembered. It was word of mouth that got me noticed and my passion that landed me there. I can’t go too far into the show except to say I am on it. I am also on season 2 of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

My favorite Chef is Todd Richardson. He is the chef that invested so much care in to me and still does. He is an excellent man with a lot of talent.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Always do your best even when you feel the job is too easy.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

You have to always be looking for opportunities. Do not get caught in a box, listen for the needs and wants of people. The market is changing and you can make it a fun challenge or stressful failure.

What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

In this field if there is no strange request then something is wrong. So there are too many to call one out.

What are 3 favorite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I love making simple biscuits it brings warm memories and comfort. My favorite place to visit is my grandmother’s farm in Louisiana. Soon as I get there I lose my shoes on purpose and cook up all of her fresh eggs.  The country girl in me gets fed.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

My  Mother, I find her to be the most amazing woman I know. I’m her biggest fan.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Blackened Shrimp with avocado grapefruit salad and chili powered vinigarette

blackened-shrimp-creole-peach

1/2 lb 16/20 shrimp, butterflied
2 tbs blacking seasoning
2 tbs olive oil

Salad
2 avocados large dice
1 grapefruit segmented
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
Chilli Powder Dressing
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tbs chives
2 tbs honey
2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the dressing. In a medium bowl place vinegar, chives, honey, chili powder, and mustard.
Whisk ingredients together then slowly add olive oil until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
In another bowl gently mix together diced avocado, grapefruit segments and cut cherry tomatoes. Little by little and dressing and gently toss.
Place in refrigerator for holding.
Take shrimp and drizzle with olive oil and then dust with blackening seasoning. Sear in a skillet on medium high until cooking just right, blacken yet juicy!
Dish out chilled avocado grapefruit salad among 4 bowls and serve hot blackened shrimp on top. Let your guests enjoy this full flavoured unknowingly healthy dish.

Many thanks Ameerah, we wish you all the best with your TV projects and good luck! If you want to follow Ameerah’s progress, she is now on Facebook and Twitter @CreolePeachChef.

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat My Words – Terri Moser

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

If you think you could never do a career change, then you will enjoy our interview this week from Terri Moser, who runs her own In-Home Custom Catering service in Baltimore &  Harford areas in the state of Maryland the USA. Terri had a career of nearly 27 years in public health before retiring and starting Terri’s Table, a personal chef company.

1. What do you love in particular about being a Private/Personal Chef?

My favorite part of being a personal chef is the cooking! I love being able to provide healthy, home cooked meals for busy families. I grew up with that tradition in my parents’ family, and made sure that my kids grew up with home cooked meals. The slow food movement and the other efforts in this country to direct kids to healthy, whole foods rather than fast food is the way I grew up and the way I believe kids should eat.

2. Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

In terms of celebrity chefs, I use many of Giada DeLaurentis’s recipes in both my personal and professional meals. I love how she combines simple ingredients in healthy combinations, and I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean style of eating. I would love to cook with Ann Burrell because I love her attitude and passion. Alton Brown appeals to the scientist side of me. On the non-celebrity side, we have a wonderful local restaurant called Pairings in Bel Air, Maryland, and I would love to cook with their chefs and learn how they make their killer butternut squash soup! 

3. What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Another personal chef told me, after I confessed to feeling uncomfortable with “Chef” in my title (since I am not professionally trained), that the definition of a chef is someone who cooks professionally for other people. As I gained more experience and saw how my meals were valued by my clients, I realized that she was right. 

4. What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

I would tell people to jump in and do it. I began by cooking for friends and neighbors for free – they paid me for groceries, but my labor was free. This allowed me to get my timing down (important when making 20 meals by yourself!), figure out the most efficient way to tackle recipes, get my “gear” pared down to the essentials, etc. It also allowed me to get those all-important references for future clients. 

5. You also say on your website that you look forward to continuing your education through culinary classes and experimenting with new flavours and dishes. How regularly would you do extra classes to skill up further on your craft?

Although I’ve not had the opportunity to take formal classes, I continue to experiment with new recipes and foods – pomegranate molasses is my current favorite new ingredient! I’ve also attended a great annual event in Baltimore for the past few years – “The Foodie Experience.” It’s a symposium/tasting event that involves many great local restaurants, and includes a keynote address by a celebrity chef. My favorite was Alton Brown. 

6. What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

The strangest request was to provide all of my grocery receipts so that my client could verify that I was really purchasing organic ingredients! 

7. When preparing for a client’s menu, what would be something that you need to be aware of or prepare for that you would never need to consider in a typical restaurant setting as a Chef?

If you will be preparing more than, say 3 meals, you need to ensure that your recipes will retain quality after freezing. You always need to be mindful of how reheating will affect the food quality and cook the food accordingly.

8. What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I love to do risotto in my pressure cooker – the other day, I did a chicken and asparagus risotto that was awesome. I love Vietnamese food, although I don’t commonly cook that for clients. I love a good grilled salmon – I lived for a time in the Pacific Northwest and wild salmon can’t be beat. 

9. If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would prepare salmon for my son, Casey. We lost him 6 months ago and it would be wonderful to prepare him a meal he loved. 

10. Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Absolutely! Every summer, I plant several pots of basil. In addition to using it fresh, I make many batches of pesto for the freezer. There’s nothing better than that taste of summer on some pasta in the dead of winter!

Pesto
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 C olive oil
1 C firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 C freshly grated parm
2 T pine nuts
1/2 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground pepper

Heat garlic gently in the oil for a few minutes – don’t brown.
Cool oil for a few minutes.
Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor with metal blade.
Pulse several times to chop, then process while slowly drizzling oil/garlic mixture into the processor.
Process to a paste like consistency.

Freeze in zip-top freezer bags.

Personal cheffing is a great career! I get to do what I love while making my own schedule. And I get to make people happy, which is always a good thing!

Many thanks Terri for your inspiring story and for your Pesto recipe! For more info about Terri and great tips, visit her website at www.chefterristable.com

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat my Words – Chef Ben Quinn

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Introducing Chef Ben Quinn, Dad, husband, surfer and private chef in Cornwall. Ben has a career that spans the UK and Australia as well as a coveted role as a Trainer at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in 2009. He went out on his own offering Private Chef services in 2010 and provides them in a non-traditional setting which would be considered a ‘food experience’ rather than just a meal. Read more about Ben’s style and approach towards being a Private Chef.

Ben after many years cooking commercially and then as a trainer for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, you then went out on your own to provide true food experiences for people as a Private Chef. What was your main motivation to take that direction?

My main motivation was to give a service that I felt was going to be true to what I love about cooking. Private chefing is for me that great balance of service, food and experience that I craved to get right in a restaurant setting.

Your services include ‘Catch & Cook’ where you take clients out to fish for their food, do you do other non water based food activities also?

I also offer a ‘cook together, eat together’ service. This is a crossover of teaching and eating. A typical day might involve buying fish at market, learning how to clean and prepare the fish, then cooking it to perfection and finishing it off with a meal for us all to enjoy.

What is the most amazing/interesting or just plain weird experience you have had with a client when cooking for them?

Offers of marriage!  For me, as a chef, it always amazes me how interesting guests find tasks we do every day in kitchens around the world! One particular client couldn’t get enough of rolling pasta! To this day I still receive updates as to how they are getting on with different filled pastas.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef?

I look up to chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi. My aspiration for my food is to cook simply with confidence in my ability and produce.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Love what you do because if you are going to plough 60 hours a week plus into it otherwise it would be a waste of a life!

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

Be sure you can cook and enjoy serving your guests, lots of chefs are fantastic at the stove, but no good front of house!

Do you still train or coach other up and coming chefs in the industry? If so what is the most valuable piece of advice would you give?

I often help friends out in restaurants and love working with ‘green’ chefs. I love to ask them what they eat at home. Passing on the importance of being passionate about food is the best advice I can give them.

Where was the last place you dined out and what did you have?

Porthmeor Beach Café. Black Rice. Cameron Jennings the Head Chef is an amazing chef and it’s a great location.

What is your favourite Local Restaurant?

No.4 in St Agnes in Cornwall. Nola and Adam are running a fun restaurant based on their passion. You can eat well year round in Cornwall, which is brilliant.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

  1. Sunday breakfast with my wife Sammy and my daughter Evie.  We do it together and anything they make tastes brilliant
  2. Preparing food with a pint of cider at home, in Somerset, with my brothers
  3. Sunday roast.  We are about to start a Sunday roast club at my friend’s restaurant.  To start with we’ll be serving local smoked salmon, soda bread and salty butter – just perfect!

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

All my friends. That’s what cooking is about for me now. Get a good group of mates together, feed them, water them and you’ll have a memory that’ll last a lifetime.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I was shown this salad at the beginning of the summer in Greece. A massive perk of the job is getting to cook in amazing locations with interesting people.
An old lady made this for me all in her hands with no chopping boards.  It was a refreshing salad with loads of depth. I can’t get enough of it!

Salted Cucumber and torn fish salad serves 2 well!

1 cucumber cut into chunks,
Good pinch of salt
100 g cooked white fish (such as bream or bass)

30 g feta
Mint. (1 handful ripped up)
Olive oil splash
1 lemon

Salt the cucumber and leave to stand for 5 minutes
Tear the fish into bite size chunks and mix with crumbled feta, mint and a dress with a splash of olive oil.   Divide the cucumber onto two plates, pile fish mix on top and serve with lemons to squeeze fresh.

Thanks for your time. I would be interested to see how many chefs out there would want to be a private chef they can always get in touch with me.

Thanks to Ben for sharing with our readers his experiences as a Private Chef and a delicious recipe! Ben can be contacted via Twitter @chefbenquinn or via his website: benedictquinn.co.uk

Photo courtesy of Fieldgrazer Productions

Share

Post to Twitter

Eat My Words – The Critical Couple

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

When it comes to critiquing a restaurant’s food with intimate detail and with mouth watering images of the food you’re about to devour,  you can’t go past The Critical Couple, written by Nicole and David Williams. Their blog of the same name at: The Critical Couple  ranked #5 by Urban Spoon, is definitely worth a visit if you need to gain a complete picture of your dining place of choice. Enjoy this interview where you’ll learn to appreciate Nicole and David’s perspective on being passionate foodies.

From reading your blog you review food & drink with equisite detail including the beautiful photos you take. Each foodie or critic has their own style and spin for the reviews they do. What is your focus and style?

Our style seeks to take us out of the equation as odd as that perhaps sounds. While clearly a restaurant write up is a personal experience, including how you feel about the service, nevertheless, we believe people want to read about the restaurant, not about how our day was going or which friends we were meeting for lunch that day. Accordingly, it is the restaurant’s story not our own that we try to tell. With the photos, we try our hardest to get over to the reader the best representation of how the dish was. We want readers to share the experience, not simply be wowed about how clever the words are.

As the ‘critical couple’ have you always reviewed food and drink? What lead you to do this?

The blog was born of our passion for going out, eating, drinking, going places and all things related to that. When we started the blog however, we did so almost as a diary, a friends and family thing and didn’t ever think about it becoming something. At the beginning then we were freeform, and that included even things like book reviews. The blog now has a form and an identity centred around restaurant reviews but we still like to throw in unconventional posts from time to time also reflecting the fact that this remains a personal endeavour.
 
How do you choose a restaurant to review?

Very simply, do we want to eat there? If we wake up one day and feel like eating Italian, or seafood or whatever, we’ll think about where we haven’t been but think that we might enjoy. We pay our own way and if we are going to spend our own money, we want to enjoy it. Even if a bad restaurant makes good copy, we don’t make money from the blog so it’s bad economics. 

Who is your current favourite chef?

Without doubt, Simon Rogan.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Even when we first started the blog, we would return time and again to our favourite restaurants. The success of the blog has driven us to keep visiting new places. In doing so we have discovered two things. First, just how much great food there is in the UK right now, and we would especially note, it’s not always in London. Second, it’s not just about food, it’s as much about people. The majority of chefs we have met are massively hard working, super talented and genuinely nice people. We’re proud that some of them have become our friends.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you just need to go back to regularly? (We’re thinking one of those may be Casamia? ;-))

Can we have four? L’enclume in Cumbria is in our opinion the best restaurant in the UK currently and we try to get there as much as we can. Brett Graham’s The Ledbury is in our view the best restaurant in London. We do love Casamia in Bristol run by two super talented super humble brothers (Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias) and we have even before the blog started been returning to eat the food of Alyn Williams (now Alyn Williams at The Westbury) time and time again.

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Neglecting the importance of the front of house.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

As odd as this may sound, genuine innovation. There is without doubt great food in London but it lacks ground breaking food. Where’s London’s El Bulli or Can Roca? London only has two 3 star restaurants and both have classical French orientation. New openings last year focussed on burgers, brasseries and steak houses. Even Bray’s The Fat Duck now seems somewhat dated while ‘new Scandi’ is now old Scandi. Awaiting then the next big original London thing.

What is your favourite food event?

We’ll be cheeky here, we’re organising a charity food, cabaret and music event called EatPlayLove2013 in September of this year. We would have to say that’s it.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Another relatively easy and without doubt answer: 41 courses at El Bulli. It redefines the food experience.

What is one challenge you face when reviewing food and/or drink?

Getting the ‘ordinary’ experience. It’s a small industry in many respects and several times this year with new openings, we have been recognised by FOH who had looked after us at their previous employer. That in turn can lead to extras from the kitchen and more attentive service. We have a disclosure box on our blog to alert readers as to when that happens but our value to readers is greatest when we experience it like they experience it.

Thanks to Nicole and David for an insight into their foodie experiences and style. You can also follow their delectable insights and fundraising adventures 140 characters at a time via Twitter: @criticalcouple

 

Share

Post to Twitter

Preparing for an Interview Part 5 of 5 – Notes, Achievements & Follow Up

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

This is the last post of our 5-part series, ‘Preparing for an Interview’. As we mentioned in Parts 1-4, we’re covering all the aspects of applying for and attending a job interview in the hospitality industry. This post will cover some more tips to give you the edge when going for the job of your dreams.

The suggested stages of preparation are:

  1. Pre-Application – part 1
  2. Curriculum Vitae – part 2
  3. Research – part 3
  4. Presentation – part 3
  5. Interview – part 4
  6. Notes/Achievements – part 5
  7. Follow up – part 5

Feel free to review the Pre-Application, CV, Research & Presentation & Interview  posts before reading on.

This post covers 3 tips that applicants should be diligent with and to ensure that the cycle of the interview process is not only complete but that all parties involved are left with a positive impression.

  1. Notes

Many people make the assumption that when you go to an interview, it is like a real exam and that you can’t take notes with you. This is incorrect! You don’t have to remember everything. If you have worked with a few different employers where you have gained valuable experiences, ensure that you write down the particular achievements, learnings and situations that are worth sharing with your interviewers. The main ones would definitely be those that you may have referred to in your job application letter/selection criteria. In saying that, it will always present better if you can recall your major events & achievements or example situations quickly however have your notes handy if you need to refer to more detail about those situations.

Your notes should not only list your achievements but also the challenging situations where you can demonstrate the actions you took to ensure the desired outcome. Although many may be hesitant to list failures, it is good to refer to if you can show that you learnt from that experience and/or show that you achieved a positive result the 2nd time around. This highlights your maturity, professionalism and adaptability in challenging circumstances.

By all means, practise answering questions about particular situations or achievements beforehand but to help ease your mind leading up to the interview, write/type them down and bring them with you, which will help as a handy reference in case you need a moment to compose your answer. Have your notes open in front of you so that you present as an interested and engaged interviewee. It is important however to use them in moderation; don’t rely on them for every question but use only as a reference a couple of times throughout the interview.
As part of your notes, think about the relevance of achievement for you but also the result and/or impact on the business/organisation. There must be a balance there as the interviewers will look for your understanding and consideration of business needs in conjunction with your skills and ability to cope confidently. You should also be able to talk about your team and how you brought the team together, considered quality and costs as well as producing a creative outcome. Bring any proof that you can without divulging confidential information of your current or past employers.

2. Achievements

Many people find it hard to promote themselves as they may think they are showing off or bragging about themselves too much. In the case of an interview this is the time and place where you can share your achievements with pride.

A good tip is to not just say for example that you ‘achieved a dinner of 100 each night’ but take the interviewers through the logical steps you took in order to achieve that result. In this way you are showcasing not only that you can achieve the desired result for the customers but you also considered the business needs (and whether you kept it within budget) and, that you managed it accordingly. Also remember to share any challenges you faced within that example and what you did to rectify it.

3. Follow Up

Once the Interview is over it is a relief however there is another step in the process that must be managed professionally.

If you feel that after the interview you did not want to pursue the job further, we recommend you call us immediately to discuss (or the potential employer if you went direct) to let them know as soon as possible. Explain your reasons in a polite and respectful way and thank them for the opportunity to apply.

If it is a job you wish to pursue, ask them before you leave the interview when you should expect to hear if you’re successful. They will usually give you an indication of timeframe. We will always keep you updated once we hear back if we are acting on your behalf. If you are going direct with an employer, if you don’t hear back from them within the time-frame they have stated, it is ok for you to call them, but only call once.

If you don’t get the job it is a hard piece of news for many, however how you handle this is also important. Know that although you may feel that you should have got the job, the employer felt someone else may have been a better fit for whatever reason.  Understand what it may have been that may have contributed towards their decision such as how you presented, if you were nervous or whether your experience was sufficient.

We will always give you feedback so that you can use it to improve for your next interview. It is disappointing to receive this news but remember, we all have received this type of news and try not to take it too personally.

Most of all we’re here to help you through the process so feel free to meet with us for an appointment. You can contact us via email at info@miseenplace.co.uk or phone: in UK 020 7430 9811 or outside UK 0044 20 7430 9811.

Good luck in the search for your dream job!

Share

Post to Twitter

Preparing for an Interview (Part 4 of 5): Interview

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Preparing for an Interview Part 4 of 5- Interview

As mentioned in Parts 1-3, we’re covering all the aspects of applying for and attending a job interview in the hospitality industry. This post will cover interview questions.

In case you missed it, the stages of preparation an applicant should go through are:

  1. Pre-Application – part 1
  2. Curriculum Vitae – part 2
  3. Research – part 3
  4. Presentation – part 3
  5. Interview – part 4
  6. Notes/Achievements – part 5
  7. Follow up – part 5

Feel free to review the Pre-Application, CV, Research & Presentation posts before reading on.

The Interview

Usually the interviewer will ask questions based on what the company/organisation is looking for. Some of the categories of these questions include:

  • Quality:  in work and customer service
  • Teamwork: how you influence others and develop relationships
  • Leadership: how you inspire others to achieve
  • Communication: with internal and external stakeholders at all levels
  • Development: of yourself and others
  • Problem Solving : understanding the issues, gathering facts & presenting solutions
  • Achievements: what successes have you had
  • Value Creation: process management and service provision
  • Negative issues: how you hande complaints, rejection or pressure.
  • Other Questions: What do you do in your current employment? Why are you applying for this position? What can you bring to this organisation?

One of the traits that many interviewers look for above all else is passion. Read an interview with former White House Chef, Walter Scheib and what he looks for when hiring Chefs:  http://reluctantgourmet.com/tips-guides/chef-interviews/item/310-chef-walter-scheib

When it comes to Interview time, there can be many types of questions thrown at you. Some of the straight forward questions may be:

  1. How many employees report to you?
  2. What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
  3. Why did you choose to become a Chef?
  4. What do you do to educate yourself about new trends?
  5. What is your management style?
  6. What do you consider your strengths?
  7. How involved are you with the development and design of menus?
  8. How involved do you get with Purchasing and Receiving?
  9. How involved are you in risk management of the Business?
  10. How involved are you in managing the financials suchs as budgets and forecasting of a business?
  11. What is your experience with regards to managing labor and associated costs?

There are however other types of questions to prepare for which are called ‘situational’ style questions. These revolve around real situations that you may have encountered and helps interviewers assess how you have or would handle them.

Some example questions are:

  1. Tell us about a time when you helped to resolve a dispute between others.
  2. How have you handled it when the boss is wrong?
  3. Whoever else learned out of your mistakes, what did you do to share your learnings?
  4. What negative factor would your last boss say in regards to you?
  5. What  good assignment which was given to you was too hard for you personally? How did you resolve the problem?
  6. Let us know about a situation when you faced a significant obstacle?
  7. Describe a hard decision you needed to make with or without the help of your superiors?
  8. You are working with a co-worker who is consistently making mistakes that affect customers and that impact your ability to do your own work. You have tried talking with this colleague, but you have seen no improvement in the quality of their work. What would you do next?
  9. You notice a co-worker stealing from the company. What would you do?
  10. Give us an example of a time when you were able to communicate successfully with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you?

The main thing we recommend is to be prepared for all of these and write down your answers to all or as many as you can that are relevant to you and the position you are applying for. It is always better to be prepared than to operate in a reactive way.

Of course at Mise En Place we will help you to get prepared for the interview with your potential new employer so that you have the best chance possible for success!

The next part of our series, we will talk about taking notes, your achievements and follow up after the interview.

If you have any further questions please don’ t hesitate to reply below or contact us via: info@miseenplace.co.uk or phone: in UK 020 7430 9811 or outside UK 0044 20 7430 9811.

Share

Post to Twitter

Search Our Vacancies

Latest Vacancies