We are so lucky at Sugarella to have some of the best freelance chefs in the business on our books. We’ve put together a list of tips for new or fledgling freelancers on how to be a successful self-employed chef.
You can boil, bake and fry your way around a kitchen standing on your head, blindfolded with your hands tied behind your back. Your menus are inventive and fresh, and there are no tough joints, soggy bottoms or burnt buns on your watch. In short you are cooking on gas (or Aga, if need be). But there’s more to be being a private chef than just being a culinary whizz kid. Here, we tell you how to improve on excellent…
Imagine booking an expensive hotel with no pictures of the rooms, recommendations or trip advisor scores....
Imagine visiting a restaurant where you are expected to spend a lot of money which has no reviews, no menus in advance for you to see, and no one has ever heard of it...
Imagine buying an item of clothing off the peg online without knowing what it looks or feels like....
So - you want to cook in a private home. That is great, and we look forward to working with you. There are just a few things we would like to remind you:-
- We have numerous cooks on our books. And they all think they are as good as you. We are a young company and, for now, have less clients than cooks, so it helps to be nice to us, to stay in touch with us, and to let us know your whereabouts. That way it is likely you will be our first call when the next amazing job comes in.
- You should be able to provide us with at least two recent references from your most recent employers. These should be private client employers, regardless of how famous/busy they might be, we work with numerous chefs and clients and can always get references from someone, whether that be the clients PA, or the client themselves, it is possible. Unfortunately without references, we cannot use you. How will we know who you are and how you work in a private home?
- We advise all our chefs to have a DBS certificate. You are working in a private home, around young children, and invading someones private space. We want to know you are who you say you are, as much as the client does. Apply for one here.
- Photographs of your food. This is really important. If you are a chef in this day and age, we advise you have your own website with lots of photographs of your food. Or at the very least, an instagram page which shows pictures of your food ONLY. We don't want to see what you get up to on your days off - create a private personal page for this. You may even find you get jobs from clients direct through your own instagram page or website.
- Up to date CVs and references. When you finish a job, ask your client if they are happy to write a reference for you and if they are happy for you to pass their details to future employers. Update your CV, send it to us and let us know the amazing things you have been doing.
- Reply to our e mails and phone calls. As much as you like to get a response from us, we like to get a response from you. If we contact you in regards to something, even if it is not for you, please just acknowledge us and let us know where you are in the world. If you are no longer needing work, we then no longer need to bother you.
- Once a job is confirmed, contact the client at your earliest convenience to arrange menus, logistics and travel arrangements.
- Flexibility. Being a private cook is not easy. We never said it was, and we know how hard it is ourselves, having been there and done it, and still doing it! Please expect the long hours and days, and understand that some jobs will be harder than others....
- If you can do all of the above, get your chef whites ironed, your knives sharpened and....enjoy the experience.
To work for Sugarella Cooks or to book a cook, please contact us.
"I don't work through agencies"......oh how many times have I heard chefs and cooks tell me this - and believe me, I do understand. You have had bad experiences in the past with larger companies that perhaps have too many jobs and not enough time. Perhaps they have never worked as a chef so don't understand the things us cooks and chefs just 'get'.
I started my agency due to the frustrations I found with other agencies. Whilst I am by nowhere near perfect, I do try to cover the gaps to make my business a success, to keep my staff on my side, as we have to remember - good staff are the people that keep your business going.
I am not saying I reply to every single application within nano seconds, but I do make a conscious effort to respond to each and every applicant, even if I do not believe they would be right for the type of roles I have.
The next time you complain about an agency, perhaps stop and think. Whilst the one dream job you have seen advertised may not have worked for you, there may be another just around the corner. So don't burn your bridges with them - hold your breath and move on, you just never know what the future holds!
Why Cooks should work through Sugarella Cooks
- Do one job for us and get good feedback, it is likely you will then be on speed dial from then forward, bringing lots more business your way
- I have worked as a chef myself and understand the hard work involved. I never undersell cooks and price the jobs fairly.
- If there is an emergency and you find yourself unable to do the job - you just give me a call and I sort a replacement. If you are on your own - what do you do? You have let the client down, and it is likely they will not use you again.
- I have extensive insurance covering for damages in the home or accidents on the job (more information can be asked once you are registered)
- We have a regular pool of lovely clients, so it is likely you will get some nice jobs in wonderful places
- We are an ear at the end of the phone. If you are lonely on a job, worried about a client, I am here to talk. I understand all the anxieties cooks and chefs can go through!
- If you do one job for one of my clients and they ask you back, if you inform me, I offer an incentive where you are entitled to 10% of my fee. Why bother telling me your returning? Look back at point 3.
- I offer a personal and bespoke service, and am here to be the cooks friend, not the enemy.
- I have a number of contacts with chefs who may need a helping hand. If I know you are good, I will often recommend you to a chef in need.
- If I ask you about a job and it is not for you, I will not hold it against you and will call you again! Likewise, if I do not feel a job I have will be the right fit for you I will not ask you to do it.
We have recently taken on a job, based in West London, which is catering for the most important little people in London! You will be responsible for catering a variety of Children's Parties across London and will be cooking for HNWI and their little families!
This is a fantastic opportunity for a newly qualified cook, or someone who has perhaps completed a couple of ski seasons, to get some incredible experience under their belt. Alongside catering for the childrens parties, you will also help out with some of the larger events during busy times.
Working with a team of fun people in West London, this is an opportunity for a keen and enthusiastic cook to really get themselves involved with something amazing. If only I could rewind the clock 12 years and I would take this job myself!
See more details here or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV, and should I think you are suitable for the position I will contact you to discuss.
If you are thinking about work for the winter, this fantastic opportunity based in Tiverton, Devon, will guarantee you some regular income throughout the winter months and we know that January can be quiet for cooks so why not apply if you are in the area or based in the South West of London?
17th, 20th, 21st, 25th, 27th, 28th
5th, 7th, 11th, 15th, 17th, 21st, 23rd, 26th, 28th
2nd, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 20th
4th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th
And here is the description....
A team of two (cook and assistant) are required for regular shoot days in Devon on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Should be a local cook/assistant team who can commit fully to the clients, so the couple must be able to be relied upon not to drop out at the last minute!
A brief outline of requirements:
Team to arrive at 8.15 and light the fire (logs will be brought in by the Keeper). To check the lodge is clean and tidy, light bulbs all working, heaters should be on in loos, sufficient hand towels etc. There is a cleaner that cleans, so this is not required, but the team need to do an all round spot check before the guns arrive at 9.15am.
Coffees and teas to be provided to the guests on arrival. A home made (not tinned or powdered!), hot soup (in thermos flasks) for the 30 Beaters/loaders/pickers up should be ready for Keepers to take by 08.40. Champagne and glasses should be prepared for the guns and put in appropriate truck.
Elevenses consist of sausages, canapes (not sandwiches), consommé and bullshot and served in shack where a fire should have been lit, table set up etc. Cook and assistant to serve the guns food, drinks and clear up afterwards.
Lunch is two courses (main and pud) of good standard (gourmet pub standard), plus cheese, and table should be laid by the cook and assistant, ready for the arrival of guests. A low carb alternative should always be provided in addition to any potatoes or rice. Drinks and glasses are also the responsibility of the team and should be polished and cleaned at the end of the day.
Pots of tea and cake (sufficient amount for loaders as well), should be provided for the end of the day.
The team will be able to leave around 4.30pm.
Between the shoot days, the cook/assistant team is expected to launder and iron all linen/tea towels etc. The team should also liaise directly with the next guns (if syndicate or directors) in regards to the menu.
The clients are looking for the same two people for each shoot, or two rotated from a known pool of three staff. The team must have their own insurance.
Dress code is black jeans, branded shirt and waistcoat/fleece (to be provided).
£150/day for cook and £75/day for assistant. Based on a 3 day wk this is approx £1,800/month for cook and £900/month for assistant. Ingredients paid for on top. The clients may pay more for a very experienced chef.
If you are interested in this position, please send your CV to email@example.com
SALARY IS FLEXIBLE FOR THE RIGHT COUPLE!
It is not a lie that we are really passionate about finding the right people for the right job. We care about our clients and our chefs, and we really mean it. We have received a lot of positive feedback from all the jobs we have placed so far, which is so wonderful to hear. It is why we set up our agency so that we can look after cooks and clients and make sure they are happy long term, rather than just a quick fix. If we do not think a cook will suit a certain role, we simply will not put them forward for the position. We do not want to waste time of the cook or the client.
Here is a recent testimonial from a happy client where we placed a domestic couple for a busy family in Yorkshire, we were thrilled to read this and wanted to share it with you:
If you are looking for a cook, chef, extra pair of hands, domestic couple or any other form of household staff, please do contact us - we would be delighted to hear from you!