I'm often surprised at items that some client kitchens don’t have like a cheese grater, citrus press, or liquid measuring cup. For this reason, I bring along a small box of kitchen gear...but it wasn't always like this.
When I first started, I would pack specifically for the client’s kitchen I was visiting. If I knew the house didn’t have a good non-stick skillet, I would bring that, my favorite cooking spoon, and of course knives. As my clientele built up and for ease of packing each morning, I now have a basic checklist of kitchen gear that fits into a small plastic bin brought to every appointment.
There is much discussion about knives out there. Everyone has a different style, but I’m a minimalist and use my basic chef’s knife for everything plus a small paring knife for cutting small things like strawberries or deveining shrimp.
I also always bring my own stack of dishtowels, usually one to two for each hour I’ll be there. This way when I leave, the trash has been taken out and the client does not have dirty dishtowels, so there is nothing for them to clean up, just reheat dinner and serve. The goal is to make things easier for the client.
Should you bring your own cookware to the client homes?
I've found that the majority of kitchen are well equipped with barely used All Clad pots and pans, my favorite.
Occasionally I will come across poor quality “college pans” as I call them. You know, the kind that burns everything cooked in them except boiled water. For these homes, I may bring along a couple skillets, but truly I usually make due with what's on hand. Obviously this is just what I do and you of course will do what works for you. That's the cool thing about running your own business. You get to do what you think is best for your clients and your business model.
It's wonderful to see perspectives on how others run their personal chef business. If you'd like to share your personal chef journey, I'd be honored to have you as the next guest post.