Why The Best Chefs Aren't Just Great Cooks Who Can Plate Up Perfection

Oh we do love a success story!

We pride ourselves on thinking outside of the box and giving opportunities to cooks with talent, skill, work ethic and natural charm, even if, at first glance, their experience might not be perfect for the world of private cooking jobs.

This week an extremely discerning client has just hired one of our cooks for the entire summer at a five-star private villa in Corfu.

The chef we placed had been sous chef at Nopi (Ottolenghi), head chef at the John Salt with Neil Rankin, development chef at Patty and Bun as well as head chef at Hopscotch in Brick Lane. He had worked under the likes of Tom Kerridge and had started his career from scratch as a pot washer. Despite his success in the kitchen, he was finding it hard to break into private cooking because he had no experience of, well, private cooking.

Thankfully, this doesn't matter too much to us. Obviously his CV was immaculate - there was no doubt he could cook like a demon. Happily, we met with an extremely polite chef, with excellent references which spoke of a calm, diligent cook - and signed him up.

Now that he's been confirmed for this four-month stint in Corfu (following a trial during which he wowed the client with his inventive food and friendly demeanour) our new recruit will have another valuable string to his bow and will be well-versed in the workings of private cheffing.

Placing chefs into private households isn't easy, because clients need more than beautifully cooked, fresh, modern dishes.

We always need to meet potential chefs because working for a private client is almost as much about personality as it is about plating up perfection. We've had chefs tell us they "don't do washing up" - well, in private households, this approach simply won't do!

For us, the best chefs are those who have at least two year's restaurant experience, have a passion for food trends, a good understanding of nutrition and of course, a can-do attitude as already mentioned. The best chefs are those who are modest. The best chefs will be discreet - no one needs to know if you're working for a celebrity or fantastically rich client. The best chefs must be happy to literally muck in - cleaning up turtle poo was once in our remit, and it must be done with a smile. The best chefs will be polite. The best chefs will keep the kitchen clean and tidy. The best chefs will make an effort to get on with other staff. The best chefs will not drink or smoke on duty. The best chefs will not be wasteful of food or money. The best chefs will not talk about their personal lives in the kitchen. The best chefs will be cheerfully flexible when guests make cups of tea while they are cooking or have a midnight feast using the ingredients for tomorrow's brunch. The best chefs will, in essence, roll with the punches.

If you have what it takes to work as a private chef, we want to meet you! E mail ella@sugarellacooks.co.uk with your CV.