PDA

View Full Version : personal/private chef requirements


Panthers65
01-14-2011, 03:13 PM
Searching hasn't brought up anything relevant (and I must suck at searching), can a private chef use their own tools, or must those be provided by the home owner as well? I know the food itself can't be supplied by the chef, but what about everything else?

JD McGee
01-14-2011, 03:40 PM
First stop...your local Health Department/Dept. of Licensing website...you should find what you are looking for there.

smoque shack
01-15-2011, 01:15 PM
most real chefs will have their own cutlery.....they work with what you have in the kitchen, as far as pots pans etc.

Slamdunkpro
01-15-2011, 03:01 PM
Most health departments don't have any jurisdiction over personal chefs - even here in the land of never ending regulation.

Back to the OP's question - Take your own tools and any specialty equipment you might need. Usually you've met with the client prior to cooking and have an idea what they might have in their kitchen. You also usually know the menu. When I PC for contact cook for people I travel with an assortment of unusual / odd / favorite equipment in addition to my knife/tool bag.

Panthers65
01-15-2011, 06:19 PM
well there in lies my question, I'm wanting to cater, but every caterer in gwinnett has to have a commissary with a singular license to a kitchen (IE I'd have to sell at a business, can't just use a church or school kitchen)

Personal chefs can use their own stuff, does that include smokers? Where's the line?. Whats to prevent someone to open two businesses, a delivery business and a personal chef business. The delivery business delivers the meat to the house, then the personal chef cooks it. As far as I know, a delivery business/personal errand business doesn't have anything to do with the HD either....

yea yea, it's stretching the rules, I know. but in theory, as long as you have two separate businesses, each with their own business license.....

even not stretching the rules, they provide the meat and sides straight from Sams club, and I bring the smoker and all materials materials to cook the food with.....

Slamdunkpro
01-15-2011, 07:59 PM
I don't know GA, but here in NoVA if you are picking up foodstuffs, taking them directly to the client, cooking them on site for the client and the client isn't charging admission then it's a private party and the health department has no jurisdiction - you are a contract cook / personal chef, not a caterer.

I actually had a client call the police to have the health department inspector removed for trespassing when she showed up at a function. They showed up and made her leave.

txschutte
01-15-2011, 08:17 PM
I don't know GA, but here in NoVA if you are picking up foodstuffs, taking them directly to the client, cooking them on site for the client and the client isn't charging admission then it's a private party and the health department has no jurisdiction - you are a contract cook / personal chef, not a caterer.

I actually had a client call the police to have the health department inspector removed for trespassing when she showed up at a function. They showed up and made her leave.
How does this work with liability as far as insurance is concerned? If you are not paid by the party goer, but by the host (just as you are in catering), are you still on the hook even if you didn't do anything but prepare the food? I would interpret that you are still held liable, therefore wouldn't the HD have jurisdiction to regulate food safety for the public?

I'm in no way doubting your situations, just playing devil's advocate here.

Bottom line: If insurance and HD pressed the issue, couldn't you, as a professional food preparer, be held financially responsible for the safety of the public?

Slamdunkpro
01-15-2011, 08:51 PM
How does this work with liability as far as insurance is concerned? If you are not paid by the party goer, but by the host (just as you are in catering), are you still on the hook even if you didn't do anything but prepare the food? I would interpret that you are still held liable, therefore wouldn't the HD have jurisdiction to regulate food safety for the public?

I'm in no way doubting your situations, just playing devil's advocate here.

Bottom line: If insurance and HD pressed the issue, couldn't you, as a professional food preparer, be held financially responsible for the safety of the public?
Liability insurance covers it for me with the host. It's a private party - the HD has no more jurisdiction than they would trying to come into your house when you are having a dinner party and trying to stick your pot roast or showing up at your 4th of July cookout to temp your burgers.

txschutte
01-15-2011, 09:01 PM
Liability insurance covers it for me with the host. It's a private party - the HD has no more jurisdiction than they would trying to come into your house when you are having a dinner party and trying to stick your pot roast or showing up at your 4th of July cookout to temp your burgers.

But, unlike you cooking a pot roast for the family dinner, you are being paid either a per hour, per head, or per event price for your services.

Unless you are a paid salaried employee (not a contractor) of the event holder, with all of the tax withholdings and worker's comp insurance, you are still a cook for hire or a caterer.

This is just my understanding as explained by my HD.

Slamdunkpro
01-15-2011, 09:46 PM
But, unlike you cooking a pot roast for the family dinner, you are being paid either a per hour, per head, or per event price for your services.

Unless you are a paid salaried employee (not a contractor) of the event holder, with all of the tax withholdings and worker's comp insurance, you are still a cook for hire or a caterer.

This is just my understanding as explained by my HD.

(Again this may vary by jurisdiction)
Getting paid or how you get paid has nothing to do with it. The difference (here and in every state I've investigated) is the chain of how the food is prepped. (same or multiple days) Store ==> holding==> offsite prep ==> party = caterer; HD has regulatory authority over caterers. (same day) Store==>party location==> cook==> party = private cook; HD does not have regulatory authority. They think they should, they've tried to bully contract cooks about it, they'll tell you they do, but until the law is changed, they don't.

Hoosier Chef
01-15-2011, 10:16 PM
Hello. I am a personal chef in Indiana. I am interested in getting into BBQ catering (this is my first post). I don't know the laws where you are, but I bring everything...pots, pans, tools, knives, bakeware, food, spices and everything else you can think of. You are prohibited by the DH from preparing anything in your home kitchen, although it is a rule that is bent by all and broken by many. For example, if you need to marinate an item overnight, you can't exactly do that at the clients' house. I also know many chefs that cook a lot of the food in their home kitchens and then do part of it at the clients' house. I try to fly the straight and narrow, but I have yet to hear anyone being caught in a personal chef sting by the DH. My advice would be to do a high majority of the work at the client site and check your local HD for the rules in your area. If, for example, your client got sick by your food, the DH is going to do an investigation into where you prepared your food. If they find that you broke the rules, you are in a world of hurt. I doubt your insurance company would cover you at that point. Better safe than sorry.

Panthers65
01-16-2011, 08:08 AM
hummm, interesting..

So according to your research, there is no need to form the 2nd company, I private chef can pickup, deliver, and cook food for a private client? as long as all the prep/cooking is done on site.

txschutte
01-16-2011, 09:07 AM
I'm not saying Slamdunkpro is wrong, but I'd check your local circumstances. Your liability coverage may not apply among other things.

As he said though, make sure that some of your best and favorite tools are on hand, or see ahead of time what the host has.

Good Luck!!

Slamdunkpro
01-16-2011, 09:54 AM
hummm, interesting..

So according to your research, there is no need to form the 2nd company, I private chef can pickup, deliver, and cook food for a private client? as long as all the prep/cooking is done on site.
In most jurisdictions, yes. Just remember that pickup, delivery, prep and cook has to be contiguous. You can't buy food on Thursday, store it in your fridge / cooler then cook on Saturday. It has to go right from the market to the client for this to apply.

smoque shack
01-16-2011, 03:39 PM
health departments have bigger fish to fry[pardon the pun]. they cant and do not cover every thing that is going on out there.........unless they recieve a complaint, then they have to look into it. but by that time[a single event]. the event is over and done........dont worry about it!

txschutte
01-16-2011, 05:10 PM
health departments have bigger fish to fry[pardon the pun]. they cant and do not cover every thing that is going on out there.........unless they recieve a complaint, then they have to look into it. but by that time[a single event]. the event is over and done........dont worry about it!

The last thing as respectable business people is to be telling people to skirt authority. Getting people the correct information to build a legit biz just helps those of us that ARE legit.

How long would it take for a guy to lose a bunch of business to some that aren't purchasing permits, Servsafe, and insurance because they can charge a much lower price?

smoque shack
01-17-2011, 09:05 AM
i was talking about a chef coming to my house, using my equipment, using my food for my party! not a catering business.......gesh!

Panthers65
01-17-2011, 10:34 AM
i was talking about a chef coming to my house, using my equipment, using my food for my party! not a catering business.......gesh!

That would be the same with any personal chef. I'm talking about the line between the customers food and supplying them food.

Say a person calls up, having a private party of 100 people, wants BBQ. I tell them, sure my delivery company will deliver all the food to you, then my Chef company will cook it. Doesn't really matter that i'm the CEO of both companies, because according to the state they are separate entities. Is this a necessary step, or can I have a personal chef bring the food out and cook it as long as I separate the food (ie charge them for 10 boston butts+fuel+labor as opposed to just charging them for 100 meals)

It sounds like there would be a few minor differences, things like they keep the leftovers since all my cooking company was responsible for is the cooking, and I may have to take two payments, one for the food and one for the cooking, as opposed to just one payment for the whole party.

Slamdunkpro
01-17-2011, 11:03 AM
That would be the same with any personal chef. I'm talking about the line between the customers food and supplying them food.

Say a person calls up, having a private party of 100 people, wants BBQ. I tell them, sure my delivery company will deliver all the food to you, then my Chef company will cook it. Doesn't really matter that i'm the CEO of both companies, because according to the state they are separate entities. Is this a necessary step, or can I have a personal chef bring the food out and cook it as long as I separate the food (ie charge them for 10 boston butts+fuel+labor as opposed to just charging them for 100 meals)

It sounds like there would be a few minor differences, things like they keep the leftovers since all my cooking company was responsible for is the cooking, and I may have to take two payments, one for the food and one for the cooking, as opposed to just one payment for the whole party.

It doesn't matter how the food gets to the client as long as it goes directly from market to client.

smoque shack
01-17-2011, 07:21 PM
Searching hasn't brought up anything relevant (and I must suck at searching), can a private chef use their own tools, or must those be provided by the home owner as well? I know the food itself can't be supplied by the chef, but what about everything else?

hey all,

im so sorry, looking at the question above, and looking at the phrase "i know the food itself cant be supplied by the chef" im thinking having a PERSON[chef] coming to my home to cook me a fine meal,as a chef would. i did not know the original question got changed to catering....my bad!

JD McGee
01-17-2011, 07:35 PM
A lot of your questions can be answered by placing a call to your local HD...they can eliminate any gray area. I have conversed with mine on several occasions when I was setting up my catering business...they were extremely helpful and even more so when I expressed my desire to "get legal and stay legal"...:cool:

It also helps that my BIL & SIL are former health inspectors for Ventura County CA...:becky: When they come to visit I shoo them out of my pit area! :twisted::laugh:

Slamdunkpro
01-17-2011, 09:03 PM
i was talking about a chef coming to my house, using my equipment, using my food for my party! not a catering business.......gesh!

Yes, they can use their own tools, or yours, tools are not an issue as long as they use them at your location.

landarc
01-17-2011, 09:46 PM
Out here, the laws are pretty clear about a private event, the chef can prepare the food on site, can provide all of the unprepared food to the site and can cook it on site. They may not prepare the food off-site unless it is prepared in a commercial kitchen for fresh direct delivery, or in a NSF kitchen if it is to be stored prior to cooking. The latter two options will require health department approvals and approved kitchens as well.

This is a Uniform Building Code requirement and is not going to vary in any state (all of them) that utilizes the UBC for the health department and building approvals. But, in terms of cooking for a private party, those laws do not apply as long as you are on site. This does pose certain issues, many of which can be resolved by simply finding a way to cook on site. Many folks out here have the private chefs come out prior to the party or event and prepare the foods that require more time.

What you are talking about when thinking that you could have two companies is going to get you into a situation, unless each company is separate and at least one of them vends or sells/buys from a separate source. Otherwise, you are operating two closely held businesses as one entity. It will not be seen as two companies held by one person. If you want to do BBQ and do not want to work on site, then Shane is correct, you are better off not trying to skirt the laws. The other question I would have is, would you report the profits from each business separately? If not, you have another issue, in that you would be selling from yourself to yourself? How would you report expenses? If you report the cost of food for the BBQ entity, then you must report the sale to the private chef entity, which means resale. This could get interesting.

smoque shack
01-18-2011, 09:01 AM
This is a Uniform Building Code requirement and is not going to vary in any state (all of them) that utilizes the UBC for the health department and building approvals. But, in terms of cooking for a private party, those laws do not apply as long as you are on site. This does pose certain issues, many of which can be resolved by simply finding a way to cook on site. Many folks out here have the private chefs come out prior to the party or event and prepare the foods that require more time


landarc,

well said sir!

Slamdunkpro
01-18-2011, 10:57 AM
A lot of your questions can be answered by placing a call to your local HD...they can eliminate any gray area. I have conversed with mine on several occasions when I was setting up my catering business...they were extremely helpful and even more so when I expressed my desire to "get legal and stay legal"...:cool:
I don't want to start a fight, but when it comes to personal chefing, the HD will lie to you, either out of ignorance or malice. In a lot of cases the HD wants to extend it's authority where it doesn't have any.

Now, that being said, PC'ing is not meant to be a backdoor avenue for skirting catering laws / requirements. The more people who try to use the PC title yet actually do catering means the quicker municipalities will come down on PC's.

landarc
01-18-2011, 12:17 PM
I agree with Slamdunkpro that the more people try to skirt the laws by saying they are personal chefs, or cooking at a personal party and are not catering, when they really are, the sooner the HD or government is going to start seeing a way to regulate the trade.

txschutte
01-18-2011, 06:13 PM
I agree with all above statements. Slamdunkpro is dead on. Many people out there are using the PC title when they do cater.

There is such a fine line there that it's easy to do.

Panthers65
01-18-2011, 09:17 PM
i did not know the original question got changed to catering....my bad!

Original question was trying to see the line between catering and PC

A lot of your questions can be answered by placing a call to your local HD...they can eliminate any gray area. I have conversed with mine on several occasions when I was setting up my catering business...they were extremely helpful and even more so when I expressed my desire to "get legal and stay legal"...:cool:

It also helps that my BIL & SIL are former health inspectors for Ventura County CA...:becky: When they come to visit I shoo them out of my pit area! :twisted::laugh:

I've been to the HD about this, they will try and regulate ever single aspect of anything I do. I'd rather seek opinions from people that won't make money off me by making me file a bunch of things I don't need

Out here, the laws are pretty clear about a private event, the chef can prepare the food on site, can provide all of the unprepared food to the site and can cook it on site. They may not prepare the food off-site unless it is prepared in a commercial kitchen for fresh direct delivery, or in a NSF kitchen if it is to be stored prior to cooking. The latter two options will require health department approvals and approved kitchens as well.

This is a Uniform Building Code requirement and is not going to vary in any state (all of them) that utilizes the UBC for the health department and building approvals. But, in terms of cooking for a private party, those laws do not apply as long as you are on site. This does pose certain issues, many of which can be resolved by simply finding a way to cook on site. Many folks out here have the private chefs come out prior to the party or event and prepare the foods that require more time.

What you are talking about when thinking that you could have two companies is going to get you into a situation, unless each company is separate and at least one of them vends or sells/buys from a separate source. Otherwise, you are operating two closely held businesses as one entity. It will not be seen as two companies held by one person. If you want to do BBQ and do not want to work on site, then Shane is correct, you are better off not trying to skirt the laws. The other question I would have is, would you report the profits from each business separately? If not, you have another issue, in that you would be selling from yourself to yourself? How would you report expenses? If you report the cost of food for the BBQ entity, then you must report the sale to the private chef entity, which means resale. This could get interesting.

I was planning on doing all cooking on site, didn't know about the difference between the two. As far as the two entities goes, this was where I talked about having to receive two different payments, one for the food and one for the labor to cook. Not the ideal way to do things by any means and I would avoid this if at all possible.

I don't want to start a fight, but when it comes to personal chefing, the HD will lie to you, either out of ignorance or malice. In a lot of cases the HD wants to extend it's authority where it doesn't have any.

Now, that being said, PC'ing is not meant to be a backdoor avenue for skirting catering laws / requirements. The more people who try to use the PC title yet actually do catering means the quicker municipalities will come down on PC's.

Not trying to screw anyone over, but the HD oversteps their boundaries way too often. I know it's not meant to be a backdoor, but I was never planning on delivering ready-made food to anybody until I get a restaurant setup. I'm simply talking about cooking for private parties. I always assumed this was classified as catering, my local HD still tried to regulate it as catering.

landarc
01-18-2011, 09:38 PM
I see the question is a slightly different light now, the real difference between a caterer and a private chef is really about where the food will be handled and prepared. Thus, if you provide the food unprepared to the site, where it will be prepared and cooked, you are working as a private chef. If you are prepping any of the food off-site, you will be catering. You are free to provide any of the tools or equipment you will need, just not the kitchen you will be working in.

In the bay area here, there is quite the black market in chef run 'private' dining clubs and guerrilla restaurants. These are where professional cooking is done in private homes, in the homes kitchen, but where people are 'invited' to attend. Of course, you bring the host a host gift that looks a lot like cash...oh wait, it is cash!

Slamdunkpro
01-18-2011, 11:02 PM
I see the question is a slightly different light now, the real difference between a caterer and a private chef is really about where the food will be stored, handled and prepared. Thus, if you provide the food direct from the market unprepared to the site, where it will be prepared and cooked, you are working as a private chef. If you are storing or prepping any of the food off-site, you will be catering. You are free to provide any of the tools or equipment you will need, just not the kitchen you will be working in.

Your description is pretty succinct, I made a couple of small additions. The only other factor that has to be considered is the host can't be charging admission to the event.

PorkQPine
01-19-2011, 02:39 PM
My HD was helpful and gave me specifics about working as a Personal Chef, what was ok and what was not ok. If I wanted to go the PC route they had a letter I needed to sign which listed the rules for PC and a notification that I would get a catering license if needed. HD has no jurisdiction on PC but if you try to vend watch out, especially if you are trying to vend at a reasonable size event because they will come out and check each vendor. Go the PC route and follow the rules until you decide to cater and then do it right. FYI, you will need insurance no matter which route you go if you have assets you want to keep.

Slamdunkpro
01-19-2011, 03:49 PM
My HD was helpful and gave me specifics about working as a Personal Chef, what was ok and what was not ok. If I wanted to go the PC route they had a letter I needed to sign which listed the rules for PC and a notification that I would get a catering license if needed. HD has no jurisdiction on PC but if you try to vend watch out, especially if you are trying to vend at a reasonable size event because they will come out and check each vendor. Go the PC route and follow the rules until you decide to cater and then do it right. FYI, you will need insurance no matter which route you go if you have assets you want to keep.

(HD rant)
I love the parts of your post that I highlighted; If the HD has no jurisdiction then what are these "rules" they speak of and where does the HD get the authority to impose them or even make you sign them? This is a perfect example of HD "creep" that needs to be stopped.
(/HD rant)

Panthers65
01-19-2011, 03:55 PM
Your description is pretty succinct, I made a couple of small additions. The only other factor that has to be considered is the host can't be charging admission to the event.

This is where i see the problem, how do I know if the hosts charged their guests or not? Is a jar at the door with a sign "money to help pay for food" the same as you must pay to enter? I've thrown many parties like this in college where I'd have a bunch of people tailgate and I'd volunteer to cook if everyone pitched in $5. Heck I build a Kegerator and normally drank for free cause friends would come over and would throw a buck or two in the jar every time they got a beer from it.

Slamdunkpro
01-19-2011, 04:24 PM
This is where i see the problem, how do I know if the hosts charged their guests or not? Is a jar at the door with a sign "money to help pay for food" the same as you must pay to enter? I've thrown many parties like this in college where I'd have a bunch of people tailgate and I'd volunteer to cook if everyone pitched in $5. Heck I build a Kegerator and normally drank for free cause friends would come over and would throw a buck or two in the jar every time they got a beer from it.
There's a big difference between passing the hat and selling tickets to the public.

landarc
01-19-2011, 05:22 PM
Panther, to me, it seems like you need to rethink your process. What I am seeing is someone who wants to cater and not play by the rules. There is a distinct definition of what catering and vending is. You are going to find it is easier to make money by choosing to do what it is you really want to do. And then going through the process to do it right.

This is a lot like the vending trucks out here in CA. Lots of reasoning to avoid getting the proper commissary and licenses, but, in the end, they are all just excuses for not paying the fees. In the end, when you do things like saying you are a personal chef, but, are quietly vending or catering, you are harming both the profession and the trade. If you want to vend or cater, it is best to do it through the channels.

I don't happen to share Slamdunkpro's opinion of the Health Department, at least not fully. There is a role for the HD and their inspections and permitting. And make no mistake, as a former building designer and current landscape architect, there is no love lost between me and the HD, but, they do have a role. I believe they take it seriously and much of what they do does in fact protect the public.

Panthers65
01-19-2011, 06:58 PM
Panther, to me, it seems like you need to rethink your process. What I am seeing is someone who wants to cater and not play by the rules. There is a distinct definition of what catering and vending is. You are going to find it is easier to make money by choosing to do what it is you really want to do. And then going through the process to do it right.

This is a lot like the vending trucks out here in CA. Lots of reasoning to avoid getting the proper commissary and licenses, but, in the end, they are all just excuses for not paying the fees. In the end, when you do things like saying you are a personal chef, but, are quietly vending or catering, you are harming both the profession and the trade. If you want to vend or cater, it is best to do it through the channels.

I don't happen to share Slamdunkpro's opinion of the Health Department, at least not fully. There is a role for the HD and their inspections and permitting. And make no mistake, as a former building designer and current landscape architect, there is no love lost between me and the HD, but, they do have a role. I believe they take it seriously and much of what they do does in fact protect the public.

Completely agree with you, while I may not like or respect them, i'll still play by the rules. Originally all i wanted to do was cook on site for people, Cover my expenses, $100-$150 for my labor and be done. Eventually i'd like to move up and be able to deliver prepared meals to people, but also I'd eventually like to open my own restaurant. Just because it's not financially possible for me to do that right now doesn't mean I can't take a step towards it. Cooking for people's parties will get me one step closer to opening my own place, I just wanted to know what I could and couldn't do without a commissary, or how much I should invest in PC's that I'll be able to carry over into catering and an actual restaurant.

Hoosier Chef
01-20-2011, 10:43 AM
My HD was helpful and gave me specifics about working as a Personal Chef, what was ok and what was not ok. If I wanted to go the PC route they had a letter I needed to sign which listed the rules for PC and a notification that I would get a catering license if needed. HD has no jurisdiction on PC but if you try to vend watch out, especially if you are trying to vend at a reasonable size event because they will come out and check each vendor. Go the PC route and follow the rules until you decide to cater and then do it right. FYI, you will need insurance no matter which route you go if you have assets you want to keep.

That is odd. If they have no jurisdiction over PC, why would they have a letter for you to sign......and why would you sign it? In my opinion, you should follow the HD rules, but stay completely off of their radar. The HD is necessary, but are mostly full of paper pushers with the power to shut you down on a whim. Not all are like this, but a lot of them are.

If you are preparing your food on-site for a private party, you can call yourself a private chef. The HD has no jurisdiction. Research all you want on the rules, but don't put yourself on their radar. Yes, I am skeptical of government.....:becky: