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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 03-09-2008, 06:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: 07-17-06
Location: Flushing Michigan
Default Personal Chef vs Catering

Hey All,

I have a quick question, and if I am in the wrong forum mods, please feel free to move it and then have me pay the price .

I have been gathering all of my information and getting everything all lined up to start my catering biz. After speaking to the Health Dpeartment and looking at the rules and regs I started to think that there has to be an easier way. Then I remember someone on a forum somewhere mentioning something about a personal chef. Now I know all of the rules and regs are in place for a reason, and I do not plan on using bad or unsafe practices. In fact I think all of the rules and regs of the Health Department are a good starting point.

I am building my business model as an "on-site BBQ Caterer", how much of a difference is there between a caterer and a personal chef as far as the Health Department would be concerned ? I still plan on forming my LLC, and buying Liability Insurance and all of the other items that a caterer would need.

I am still researching the info as it pertains to the State of Michigan and my county, but I wante to get some insight from The Brethren.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:18 AM   #2
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Join Date: 04-07-07
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It was a posting by Curt (cmcadams). I can't find it even though I've just spent the last 20 minutes trying to.. You might want to send him a note as he's more familiar than I am.

There are rules associated with both. You just have to be careful how sensitive your health board is. I had a conversation with mine last week about this very thing. They aren't going to turn a blind eye, but if they know I'm using proper facilities for larger cooks, they aren't going to be all over me when I'm doing smaller ones.

What I've done is worked out a deal with a local restaurant and a local church. If I have a bigger cook and need a walkin - I use the restaurant. If I only need a bigger certified kitchen, then I use the church. I pay rent, but I include it in the cost.

I am also building a small 3 sink setup that I can wheel around to be certified. Technically in Ohio(franklin county) you can cook at home if you store the food at the right temps before and after cooking and you have a 3 sink and a way to wash your hands. Wipes can count for a hand sink, as long as you have them readily available.

Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:28 AM   #3
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Join Date: 08-11-03
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There are lots of franchises for making "do it yourself" dinners popping up around here.
Normally with these places they publish a menu, you schedule a session and show up and all the prep work is done. You just put the meals together and take them home a freeze them.

Most of the cooking sessions are in the evenings. This means that fulling functioning, certfied kitchens are left empty during the day.

What about working out a deal with these places to use their kitchens during unused time. Maybe a little cash, or better yet a trade agreement.

Just a thought.

Here's an example of one place: Dream Dinners

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Old 03-09-2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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The laws for catering are different in each state. In Texas you have to have a permit/fire inspection and so on for each county you intend to cook in. That can make it difficult if you want to spread out you r operation. I don't think that's the case with a personal chef no matter where you are.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:42 AM   #5
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i'm interested in this also. curt, tell me how it goes in montgomery county. no wait, you ain't in montgomery county, are ya?
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:23 AM   #6
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When I checked with my Health Dept. about this very thing they told me that if I cater onsite that I would be exempt. It would be considered a private party.
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Old 03-09-2008, 01:15 PM   #7
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Location: Lakeland Florida

A personal chef does all prep and cooking onsite. So you have access to their facilities for washing, etc. It can be a house or a banquet hall. But remember it's all prep and cooking onsite. A caterer uses their facility or a leased facility to do the prep although they can still cook onsite. The facility must be inspected by the Health folks.

That's it in a nutshell. Now a lot of counties here in MI will give you leaway as they won't be checking every deal you do to make sure you rented a kitchen. But you keep books and if you rent per event then you need a rental receipt for each event if you are catering.

And a personal chef can choose to use a rental kitchen that's been inspected but they can nto sue their home kitchen.
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