Omelet pic the Laurel

Sacha Quernheim is a personal chef and APPCA member in St. Louis. She runs Red Zucchini Personal Chef Service, which is an umbrella for, yes, regular home clients–but also cooking classes and, get this, omelet breakfasts at luxury apartment buildings.

Sacha has operated Red Zucchini since 2012. For 17 years she had worked at law firms but over the years had been teaching kids cooking classes, starting with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. When she was let go from her law firm job in 2013, she did what many members do who love to cook but don’t know which avenue to take. She went online. Initially she was trying to get into incubator kitchens, but she didn’t know if she wanted to do just cooking classes. As she searched she found APPCA online.

“I thought this would be perfect,” she recalls. “I didn’t know if I wanted to work for someone again or have my own business. So I did the training and it worked out great.”

Sacha began adding clients–she currently has four monthly clients and three every other week. And she started teaching adult cooking classes. Then in Christmas of 2013, she was approached by an insurance company to do an omelet breakfast for their holiday party.

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“It was for about 30 people. I did some research online to figure out how to do it and it went great,” she says. “Then I got the idea to start contacting luxury apartment complexes in the downtown area to see if I could do an omelet breakfast for residents–mostly for marketing purposes. Most do a monthly breakfast anyway. They pay for all the food plus a small fee. I’m up front about my interest in marketing to clients.”

It took awhile for it to click. Sacha tried to get in touch with one of the most well known in the city for a year  and couldn’t get anyone to get back to her. But she persisted and fortunately got a person at the front desk to give her the manager’s name. This time she got a response. “You have to be persistent if you want clients,” Sacha says. And now most invite her back month after month.

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Recently she prepared a rooftop breakfast for 100 people and donated her services to Pedal the Cause, a popular fundraiser in St. Louis for bike riders raising money for cancer research.

How does the omelet breakfast work?

Omelet Toppings

Usually, says Sacha, she has an omelet station, with choices including ham, bacon, peppers, and mushrooms. She also serves something sweet to accompany the omelets, like her sweet lime fruit salad, chocolate-covered strawberries, or chocolate-covered pretzels with chili and cinnamon sprinkle. The onsite manager will provide drinks, like coffee and juice, mimosas, and bloody Mary’s. She confers with the manager about who is responsible for supplying plates, napkins, utensils, and cups. Sometimes, they have them, Sacha says, but you need to confirm that. And, she says, don’t forget to bring business cards or other marketing materials that guests can take with them. Remember, this is a combination revenue stream and marketing opportunity.

Omelet

Sacha found that the best way to organize the event is to shop, drop off the food, and prep the day before, then come in early in the morning on the day of the event to get set up. She’ll even crack and mix the eggs in pitchers, then cover them in plastic wrap the day before since they’ll stay fresh in the refrigerator for the next day and it saves a lot of time the morning of the event. She notes that most have kitchens available but she’s done them without a kitchen–and she always brings induction burners so she can prepare the omelets while facing guests.

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Sacha is working on getting more breakfast omelet clients in other luxury buildings and other companies–although she points out that companies tend to be resistant because they get solicited a lot.

She’s also teaching classes once or twice a month at her premier luxury building client. These buildings like to engage with residents and have events for them, so Sacha’s classes fit that niche.

Sacha has some tips for those just starting out and trying to figure out how to get clients:

  1. Market yourself. Do it every week even if you don’t need more clients.  This is essential.
  2. Phone calls are always better than email. People tend to ignore emails now. So I always call to follow up. I also send an email after the call if I get voicemail. But people are more apt to pick up the phone if you call rather than dealing with another email.
  3. Be persistent! I always follow up if I get voicemail or if I don’t get a response. I have been told by people that they are impressed by this. Some people will call or send an email and never follow up and they lose business this way. If I get voicemail or no response to an email I put a note on my calendar for a week to follow up again. I never pester people and keep calling over and over if they don’t answer but I do call once a week until they answer. If they tell me they are not interested that’s fine; I just need an answer.

What kinds of gigs fall under your personal chef umbrella? What are you trying to pursue to add to your repertoire and client list?

Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.

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Caron Golden

About 

Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Urban infill new planned communities: Here you have busy people looking for resources for living in their new homes. Why not approach the community manager or marketing manager (with some freshly made eats, your business card, and menu list)? Give the person your pitch for helping new/potential residents learn how to grocery shop, menu plan, and cook ahead for themselves? Yes, that’s the service you want to sell, but a friend of mine refers to it as the butterscotch pudding theory of marketing. That luscious pudding is so good you want the recipe to make it at home–until you learn that candy thermometers and double boilers are involved. Then you just want to enjoy it at the restaurant. As a personal chef, it doesn’t hurt to explain how involved the shopping, menu planning, and cooking are so that new residents want to hire you to do it for them. Alternatively, make a pitch to the marketing manager to do monthly omelet breakfasts for residents. They pay for the food, of course, plus a small fee. One of our members, Sacha Quernheim of Red Zucchini Personal Chef Business has been doing this in her St. Louis community for a couple of years. You can read her tips here. […]

    Pingback by Five Venues for Marketing Your Personal Chef Business | Personal Chef Blog — July 18, 2016 @ 6:44 pm

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