Frequently Asked Questions:
Please tell me more about Personal Chefs! As Personal Chefs, our goal is to provide you with hand-crafted, palate-specific meals that you can come home to and enjoy when it's convenient for you.
By custom designing each menu to your individual requirements, your Personal Chef can ensure that each meal is delightful, satisfying and tailored to your dietary needs.
All meals are prepared in the safety of your kitchen, with fresh ingredients selected and purchased by your Personal Chef the morning of the cook date, providing you with the best quality and highest achievable level of food safety.
By having delicious meals to come home to, you will have more available time for family or recreation, better quality food than commercially frozen entrées, and the feeling that you are "eating right" for your health. And the best part is: having a Personal Chef isn't just for the rich and famous anymore. In fact, most Personal Chef clients are regular, time starved professionals and families.
What is the difference between Private Chefs and Personal Chefs? Although often confused, the difference is substantial.
Private Chefs usually work for only one family or individual and prepare multi-course meals that are consumed at the time they are prepared. There is no freezing or heating involved. Private Chefs usually work in cooperation with a waiter/ress and a housekeeper or kitchen helper/dishwasher.
Personal Chefs, on the other hand, cook for several families or individuals during the course of a week. Personal chefs shop for the groceries, go to the client's home and prepare several entrees at one time in the client's kitchen, then package and store those meals in the refrigerator or freezer and provide the clients with heating instructions.
Are you insured to cook in my home? Yes, I am fully licensed and insured and I hold a Food Services Manager certification from the City of Houston. I can provide copies of all paperwork at our free, no-obligation consultation. Also, my business is incorporated under Federal guidelines.
Should I prepare a space in my refrigerator in advance or will you make space for me? l do require that you leave appropriate space in your refrigerator for your meals. I would be more than happy to clean it out for you, but a $30 surcharge will apply for me to do so.
How long does it take Chef Jo to prepare my meals? I usually arrive at a client’s home between 10:30 and 11 a.m. It will take me anywhere between 2 and 5 hours to complete your meals, depending on the package size and menu items you have ordered.
Is it necessary for me to be at home while you work? No, in fact, in order for me to concentrate on creating the best meals possible, it is best that I have the kitchen to myself. Most clients feel comfortable giving me keys and alarm codes to their homes and I come and go while they are at work or while they run their errands and live their lives. Also, please know that, for safety reasons, at no time are children or pets allowed in the kitchen while I'm working. This allows me to concentrate on my work with no interruptions and without endangering your "babies" with knives or boiling water.
Is there anything for me to do? All I need are a clean kitchen, cleared countertops, and room in your refrigerator when I arrive. Otherwise, I will do all of the shopping, preparing, cooking, packaging, labeling and clean up. All you have to do is heat and enjoy your meals!
How do I heat my meals? I will leave for you a detailed description of heating instructions. Also, each dinner entree will be labeled with a description of when the meals were cooked, what the package contains, and easy instructions for heating. I will also note when meals will need to be frozen, if they are not consumed within 3-4 days. Please know that some menu items should not be frozen - I will let you know this, too.
What kind of packaging do you use? Is it microwave and oven safe? The packaging choice is totally up to you. I can put your meals in reusable plastic containers like Rubbermaid or I can use Gladware or Ziploc brand. I also have available Glad Ovenware, which is microwave safe and safe in the oven up to 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Some clients prefer using Pyrex glassware. I will bring samples for you to see at our consultation meeting.
How long will my meals keep? For premium freshness, Chef Jo recommends consuming your refrigerated meals within 3-4 days and then freezing what you have left. I leave ALL meals freezer-ready and you can choose which ones you want to eat within the first 3-4 days. Freezer meals will need to be consumed within one month, although some freezer meals will keep up to three months in your freezer.
How will you help coordinate my dinner or appetizer parties? We will decide on a theme, if you would like one, a menu, and I will help you create the configuration that best suits you and your guests (a buffet, table service, presentataion of appetizers). We can also go through all of your serving pieces and decide how to best present your dishes. Bottom line ~ I want your guests to be wowed with the food and the service! (By the way, if you want to keep me a secret, it won’t hurt my feelings a bit! I can cook and leave ~ you can take all the credit for an awesome meal! Your guests will think you’ve turned into a gourmet chef!)
What services do you offer? I offer a number of different levels of service including the Standard Personal Chef Service, cocktail/hors d’oeuvre parties, wine-tasting parties, picnic basket service, theme dinner parties, cooking demo/chef parties. If you don’t see something you like, please just call and I will do my best to accommodate your request.
What is involved in a consultation? My consultation/assessment interview is designed to gauge new clients’ likes and dislikes, health and dietary concerns, how many people will be eating, any allergies any person in the home may have ~ just to name a few issues. This allows me to create a personalized menu specifically for you and your family's tastes and needs.
Can you provide for the dietary needs of people with health concerns? As touched on above I will make every effort to satisfy all dietary concerns. I have several full-time clients with special dietary needs and I also have a cooking library containing reference books and cookbooks for special needs. In addition, there are literally thousands of sites on the web to access for reference and/or recipes. I will also work closely with your dietician, if you have one, or your doctor. Please call with any special requests and I will do my best to accommodate you.
What is your service area? I am based on the west side of Houston, Texas and my service area includes the Houston metropolitan area as well as Katy, Cy-Fair and Sugar Land. Under certain very special circumstances, I may serve areas as far away as Clear Lake, Galveston, The Woodlands and Kingwood.
Do you have a kid’s menu? I do not have a separate children’s menu, however I can accommodate most children’s tastes. This can be discussed at the time of our consultation.
Do we have to have kitchen facilities? All food preparation and cooking must be done on-site, therefore kitchen facilities must be available where the food will be served. I am NOT a caterer, which means I don’t have the overhead expenses of a commercial kitchen and can therefore save you a great deal of money as compared to a regular catering service. I leave you with a clean kitchen and a happy family and guests.
What about feedback? Can I tell you what I think? I thrive on feedback from my clients. So, I request that you jot down your feelings about the dishes I have prepared as you consume them. I like to collect this information weekly and use it to adjust your personal profile to ensure that my cooking is always current to your needs. Your weekly menu is a handy place to jot down these notes each week. Also, I call each new client about a day or so after I have cooked for them to find out how they like their meals and how they feel about the service in general. Please know that you can ALWAYS call me any time you have a comment or question – day or night!
Call or email Chef Jo today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation:
Email: Email Chef Jo
Chef Jo’s Home Cooking, Inc. ~ Serving the Houston Metropolitan Area Since 2005