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A little over a week ago, we came across this piece from The Kitchn about how to help you cook faster. Since time is money for a personal chef, we posted this on our Facebook feed. Then we got to thinking about tips even more specific to personal chefs–ways that you can focus more on the important stuff, the quality of the food you prepare, and less on the more admittedly aggravating stuff that you have to do to expedite your time.

As Candy notes, classic personal chef service cook dates are unique in that you are transporting ingredients and often a mobile cooking kit to prepare your clients’ custom-designed meals in the safety of their kitchen. Organization is key because you’re preparing multiple entrees and side dishes in a residential kitchen–and you have to do it in a timely and safe way.

So, below are 11 tips that Candy has compiled that should help you make the most of the time you spend in the kitchen so you can stay cool and collected and make your clients happy.

1. Menu plan not only from a standpoint of a full range of taste and textures, but also from a standpoint of stove time and available appliances.

2. When you get to the kitchen, set the oven to 375 degrees and leave it at that level for the day. Adjust the time to finish cook rather than the temperature.

3. Finish entrees and even some sides in the oven to free stovetop burners for searing and sauteeing.

4. If your client enjoys pulled pork or  braised entrees, use a slow cooker for the entrée. Need more burners? An electric pressure cooker can actually  be used as an additional burner, and can be used for multiple purposes during the cook date. You can make stocks in a pressure cooker in about 15 minutes.

5. If you cool it, store it in 2-cup containers and freeze it, you can defrost, enhance it and use it on a future cook date for the client’s enjoyment.

6. Making fresh marinara for your client?  Double the recipe, cool it, and store it for an entrée on your next cook date.

7. Take a pasta cooker with a drain insert on a client cook date for multiple uses. You can blanch vegetables for side dishes while building layers of flavor in the water that can then be used to cook pastas or starch side dishes.

8. To expedite cooling, place several half sheets or quarter sheets in the freezer. When removing hot food from the stove or oven, spread or pour the food onto the chilled half sheet and place on a rack on the counter top to cool.

9. When packing your car always transport proteins and perishables in your vehicle in a cooler or a personal chef choice of a soft-sided thermal bag on wheels with a telescopic handle along with blue ice for safe transport.

10. Buy a 10-pound bag of ice on your way out of the grocery store to use as an ice bath for cooling food at the client’s kitchen.

11. If the client’s kitchen isn’t well ventilated you may want to purchase several small battery-operated fans for the counter top to circulate air AROUND The area where you are cooling entrees to expedite the process…remember NEVER direct the air directly at or onto the food that is being cooled.

What are some of your tricks for efficiently working your cook date? Please share them below in the comments section!

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.