Well, we’re at the precipice of month three of 2017. What actions did you lay out in your 2017 business plan to build your personal chef skills? Have you acted on them yet?

Now, you’re probably assuming we’re talking about cooking. And, yes, that’s a part of it. But being a successful personal chef involves more than cooking skills. It involves marketing yourself and your business. Gaining financial literacy so you actually make a profit. Broadening your social skills to be able to engage with clients and potential clients. Maybe it’s developing a specialty and attaining the critical knowledge of that area of specialization to deliver on it to clients.

With this in mind, here are five ways to build your personal chef skills:

  1. If you’re feeling that your cooking skills need a boost so you’ll feel more confident and able to expand your repertoire of recipes, enroll in cooking classes. They can be local classes or you can get certified by a cooking school. Our partner Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy offers self-paced Culinary and Pastry Arts programs. In fact, several of our members are graduates.
  2. Amp up your visibility by building a social media presence. Figure out where your potential people are. Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? You don’t have to tackle them all but two, maybe three platforms will start to build your reputation among potential clients. Make sure you take great, well-lit photos of your food and reach out to others (including us) to build connections who can help share your posts.
  3. Where you live can make a difference in how you shape your business. So, why not reach out to other APPCA members in your city to network? You can exchange marketing tips, resources, and maybe collaborate on projects–catering large special events or backing each other up with gigs you can’t take on.
  4. Set yourself apart with an area of specialization. Some people focus on dietary specialties–gluten-free or vegan, heart-friendly diets, building athletic strength, disease oriented. Others like to cook for new moms and young families or busy executives or older adults. If there’s a type of diet or a type of client that really excites you, build a business around that–but make sure you have the special skills and insights you need to put you in demand. And that’s a combination of cooking skills and human interaction skills.
  5. Reinforce what you’ve learned and may have forgotten or weren’t ready to act on. When you joined APPCA did you attend our weekend Personal Chef Seminar at Candy’s home in San Diego? If you didn’t, this intensive course will give you a vast array of information, tools, and insights into running your business that you’ll leave excited and energized. If you did attend years ago, how about going back for a refresher course? With some experience behind you, you may discover some gaps you’re ready to fill. And Candy can offer you suggestions within the context of the seminar based on your evolved needs. The next seminar is March 11-12 and the following one will be held in May.

Enjoying lunch and some San Diego sunshine at a recent weekend seminar

We can help you with any of these five tips. Get in touch with Candy to discuss the Escoffier culinary program. Get in touch with me to get some help with social media (or take a look at past posts here and here and here). If you’re looking for local APPCA members to network with, go on our forum to reach out or our APPCA group page. Or ask Candy for a list of local members to contact. Get input from colleagues on specializing in both of these groups–or, again, Candy. We’re here to help you succeed!

What steps are you taking to rev up your business? How can we help you?

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.

And if you are a member and have a special talent to share on this blog, let us know so we can feature you!

Enjoying lunch and some San Diego sunshine at a recent weekend seminar

Enjoying lunch and some San Diego sunshine at a recent weekend seminar

Starting up your own personal chef business? Need a refresher on proven marketing strategies or business best practices? The APPCA can help! We’re holding our next Personal Chef Seminar in San Diego the weekend of May 21 and 22. Led by executive director and personal chef Candy Wallace in her home central San Diego, this intimate seminar gives you a thorough and hands-on grounding in everything you need to know to jumpstart or rev up your business. You’ll have plenty of time to dig deep, ask questions, and develop relationships with other personal chefs across the country who are on the same path. It’s an enjoyable, intensive dive into the best practices of being a personal chef. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have all the information necessary to complete your specific business plan, and have a targeted marketing plan and support network to guide you going forward.

We’ve been holding these seminars for more than 20 years, so we know they’re effective. Our proven teaching technique and gold-standard training materials have been assisting and supporting more than 11,000 working personal chefs across North America.

photo 1

Here’s a comment from one of our members who attended the seminar:

“Just wanted to let you know that i attended the SAN DIEGO two day live seminar this past weekend. i cannot begin to tell you how supportive, informative, professional Candy Wallace is. And what a joyful persona! We had a wonderful two days together of going through the curriculum; questions/answers; practicalities; computer training; and, great lunches on top of all that. She really cares about what she does and wants to pass on the knowledge (good and bad) that she has gained over the years. I had been looking at different organizations for the last few years and I’m thrilled that I chose the APPCA. I feel it will make all the difference in the ultimate success of my business.”

Regards,
elena b
Cardiff-By-The-Sea, CA

Here’s what happens over the course of the weekend seminar:

Saturday – Full Day – Nov 14, 2015

8:30 – 9:00

Continental Breakfast—Introductions

9:00 – 12:30

“Business Plan & Regulations” & “Finances”

12:30 – 1:30

Lunch (Hosted)

1:30 – 3:00

“How To Market Your New Business”

3:00 – 3:30

Break

3:30 – 5:30

“How To Market Your New Business – Through Advertising, Press Releases, and Media Exposure”

Sunday – Nov 15, 2015

8:00 – 9:00

Continental Breakfast—Q&A

9:00 – 11:30

“A Day in the Life of a Personal Chef”

11:30-12:30

Lunch (Hosted)

12:30 – 1:30

“Intro to Personal Chef Office”

plus Tips & Tricks for Search Engine Marketing with APPCA’S Webmaster

1:30 – 2:00

Q&A – Wrap Up (until ALL questions are answered.)

Continental breakfast and lunch both days also hosted by APPCA.

By the end of the seminar you’ll have answers to specific questions, such as “What level of service do I intend to offer and to whom?” How do I find clients and what do I do with them once I find them?” “How do I structure my business?” and “How do I track and store administrative and client information without being overwhelmed by paperwork and business details?”

photo 4-1

Chef Candy Wallace will guide you through these issues to help you find your path. With years of experience and real-life anecdotes, she’ll give you critical insights that will help you plot out your future. You’ll leave with a package of invaluable materials you’ll constantly reference as you dig further into your business, plus a signed Certificate of Completion for the APPCA two-day seminar. Not only is this suitable for framing, but it also applies to specific education points toward certification through the ACF/APPCA certification partnership. In fact, this APPCA training program and materials are the source material for the written certification exam offered through the ACF/APPCA certification partnership.

This one weekend in San Diego is your fastest and most effective path to success. You’ll leave with confidence in and excitement about your future, new friends and colleagues, and a boatload of knowledge that will help you launch your new career.

To learn more and register, go to our APPCA website. For more detailed information regarding the seminar location and local hotel availability, please phone 800-644-8389 or email info@personalchef.com

Are you ready to take the leap into your new career as a personal chef? Do have have all the tools and knowledge you need to be a success?

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.

DSC01926

Being a personal chef can be a solitary endeavor. You develop recipes and create menus on your own, you shop alone, you often cook and clean up alone. It’s up to you to market yourself and attract clients. You are the one responsible for growing your business.

Nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s what we signed up for. But at some point we all need advice, education, and help with advancing our business. Joining a professional association can help with that. It should help with that. Joining a professional association means making a commitment to your career through networking with peers. It means having a forum that allows you the opportunity to take advantage of situations that arise where you are able to make personal and professional contacts that can benefit you at the present time and also provide beneficial opportunities in the future.

These days, it’s understandable that many professionals feel that the interactions they experience on social media can replace membership in a professional organization. Millennials especially have eschewed professional organizations, according to Entrepreneur magazine. They reported that in Buzz Marketing Group’s “Professional Organizations Study 2015” survey, more than one quarter of respondents referred to professional organizations as “old school.” Why did respondents, who were under the age of 40, leave older groups in record numbers?

  • 37 percent did not see value in the group.
  • 45 percent reported participation was too expensive.
  • 35 percent said the group wasn’t a community comprised of their peers.
  • 31 percent felt that groups lacked technology.
  • 27 percent said it lacked proper curation.

But, Entrepreneur also points out that that with social capital being so important to millennials, they’re being drawn into professional organizations that are millennial focused.

We think that’s short sighted. While being in a group of same-age peers can be useful, there’s a lot to be said for interacting in groups with multi-generational members who can learn from one another and expand opportunities across the breadth of experience and networks.

At APPCA, we’ve found that our members most definitely learn from the expertise of those who have been in the business for years and from the insights and knowledge of young members who are in tune with new technologies and lifestyles. We share these on our forums and at meetings–as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Our members tell us that they hope to get job leads from membership and that they want to get together at conventions.

DSC01811

On our Facebook group page, Carolyn Tipton Wold explains that, “Joining an association has given me hundreds of ‘sounding boards’ when I find myself with questions about pricing, marketing, recipes, etc. I also gain perspective on issues I haven’t yet encountered but could in the future. I gain a lot from the annual conferences and, depending on which association(s) you join, you can also get insurance coverage for your business and access to organizational cheffing databases.”

The consensus among experts in career advancement is that there are some key gains to be made by those who invest both time and some money in joining a professional organization. The top benefits they see include:

  • Networking
  • Business operations resources
  • Access to insurance or other member perks
  • Greater exposure to jobs/clients
  • Continuing education
  • Shared information
  • Inspiration and motivation
  • Mentoring
  • Developing leadership skills

Of course, simply joining an organization won’t yield results–unless you’re looking to just add the fact of your membership to your resume or website. You need to participate, get to know other members, share information and insights.

Winery

So, let’s say you’re game to join a professional organization. Homing in on the right ones takes some research. How do you evaluate their effectiveness for your specific needs? Here are some questions to ask when considering membership in a professional organization:

  • What resources and benefits are you looking for and are they offered by the organization? 
  • What in general does the association offer to members?
  • What are the criteria for membership?
  • Are industry-specific training materials and programs available to members?

photo 3

  • Does membership in the association offer its members professional credibility?
  • What professional continuing education opportunities does the association offer? Does the association offer professional certifications?  Are they valid? Are they meaningful in the industry?
  • Does the association provide assistance to members regarding job lead assistance? 
  • Does the association provide access to professional support such as specific general liability insurance?
  • Does the association provide internet interaction access between members for mentorship and support?
  • Does the association provide information about current trends impacting the industry?
  • Does the association provide ongoing industry support to members through blogs, social media, forums, etc.?
  • Does the association represent the members through participation in other prestigious professional organizations and the media in order to further the value of membership in the organization?
  • Does the association win awards for developing and furthering the industry it represents?
  • Is the association committed to the success of the industry and members it represents?
Dennis Nosko and Christine Robinson Accept Chef of the Year Award from Candy Wallace

Dennis Nosko and Christine Robinson Accept Chef of the Year Award from Candy Wallace

APPCA, for example, has long been committed to the success of our members. We offer all the tools and resources a budding personal chef needs to start a business–including our upcoming Personal Chef Seminar in San Diego this weekend–as well as support and guidance for those with more experience. We are revving up our Chef Summit this year. We offer this blog–which features discussions about business strategies, recipes, member spotlights, and special diets. We are active on Facebook and other social media. We operate an active member forum on our website. We provide access to general liability insurance. We help members design effective websites. We have software to support your business. We have developed an app to help potential clients find and hire personal chefs in the association. And, founder/executive director Candy Wallace is always available to help individual members address issues they’re facing with their business.

Candy being inducted by Michel Escoffier

Candy being inducted by Michel Escoffier as a Disciple of Escoffier at the prestigious Gathering of Gourmands

If you’re not already a member, make 2016 the year you join a professional association so you can get these benefits.

What are you looking for in a professional organization? What’s been holding you back from joining one?

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.

IMG_5678

Whenever APPCA founder and executive director Candy Wallace and I have planning meetings, I get the benefit of her being a superb chef. She always prepares a dynamite lunch for us that makes me feel utterly spoiled. When I stepped inside the house at our most recent meeting she didn’t even have to announce that lunch was almost ready. There was the sublime aroma of beef stewing in something wonderful. I couldn’t put my finger on just what it was but as soon as Candy told me it was pumpkin pie spice, I smiled and started salivating. This was going to be good.

She had a big pot of what could be called either stew or chile on the stove simmering, with warmed cornbread muffins and a vibrantly colored kale salad on the table. If you’ve been to one of her Personal Chef Seminars you’ve enjoyed a meal or two around this table, too.

So, what’s so special about this stew? First, of course, is the fragrant pumpkin pie spice that she blends with cumin, chili powder, and oregano. If you buy pumpkin pie spice and have been frustrated that it only seems to have that one use for one holiday, Candy demonstrates with this stew that that’s a very narrow view. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger all marry beautifully with meats–and this combo is all that pumpkin pie spice is. So, use it for braising, for stews, in marinades. And, use it with poultry and other winter squashes and vegetables, too. It will add an intriguing sweetness to an otherwise savory dish.

IMG_5674

Second–and, of course, this is related to the pumpkin pie spice–Candy adds butternut squash cubes. So, you get the gentle sweetness and creamy texture of the cooked squash with the meat.

Finally, there’s the texture, not only from the cubes of beef tips and squash cubes, but also from the addition of ground beef and masa. It thickens the stew and gives it some heft–something welcome on a chilly afternoon or evening. (Now, as chefs you know that you can easily substitute beef for pork or even poultry to satisfy other tastes or just riff on the concept.) It’s a great dish to add to your client repertoire since it freezes beautifully.

IMG_5676

Candy says this dish sounds crazy, but tastes heavenly. I’ve enjoyed it, so I know she’s right!

SQUASH, BEEF, and PUMPKIN PIE SPICE STEW

6-8 Servings

Measure and divide into 2 prep cups and set aside:

1 Tbsp ground cumin
1Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the stewpot:

Olive oil to brown
1 to 1 ½ lbs cubed beef tips
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped/seeded red bell pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp El Pato Salsa de Chile Fresco (small yellow can)
1 ½ lb ground beef
1 Tbsp masa
1 ½ cups beef stock
1 ½ cups red table wine
1 peeled, seeded, cubed butternut squash
2-3 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 large cinnamon sticks
Salt & pepper to taste
Sear beef cubes in hot oil in stewpot over high heat and broadcast contents of 1 prep cup of spice mixture over top. Stir occasionally for approximately 5 minutes until beef is browned on all sides. Remove cubes and set aside. You will not be able to drain fat from pot once it combines with spice mixture which becomes paste like consistency. Reduce heat, add next 5 ingredients, stirring until softened, fragrant, and red in color, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.

Add ground beef and broadcast contents of prep cup spice mix #2 overtop. Stir occasionally until browned.
Stir in the remainder of ingredients and bring to a boil, reducing heat to low simmer till thickened by cornmeal and tenderizing squash and beef tips. Simmer approximately 45 minutes.

Remove cinnamon sticks.

Cooling and refrigerating the stew overnight makes it possible to skim the fat from the top of the dish and allow flavors to develop before heating, adjusting for necessary salt and pepper and serving.

IMG_5679

Do you use pumpkin pie spice in novel ways? Inspire us with the dishes you’re making with it!

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.

CandyWallaceAPPCAheadshot (low rez)

Starting up your own personal chef business? In need of a business reboot? The APPCA can help! We’re holding our next Personal Chef Seminar in San Diego the weekend of November 14-15. Led by executive director and personal chef Candy Wallace in her home in the heart of the city, this intimate seminar gives you a thorough and hands-on grounding in everything you need to know to jumpstart or ramp up your business. You’ve got plenty of time to dig deep, ask questions, and develop relationships with other personal chefs across the country who are on the same path. It’s an enjoyable, intensive dive into the best practices of being a personal chef. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have all the information necessary to complete your specific business plan, and have a targeted marketing plan and support network to guide you going forward.

Enjoying lunch and some San Diego sunshine at a recent weekend seminar

Enjoying lunch and some San Diego sunshine at a recent weekend seminar

How do we know these seminars are effective? Well, we’ve been holding them for 20 years. This proven teaching technique and our gold-standard training materials have been assisting and supporting more than 11,000 working personal chefs across North America.

Here’s one attendee’s comment:

Thanks for a Wonderful Weekend!

Thank you so much for the informative and enjoyable weekend. I am grateful for the time spent covering my new career objectives and recommending strategies for achieving them. It was a pleasure meeting both of you and spending quality time in your home. I especially appreciate being part of a great organization that will keep me connected with others sharing the same career path. I plan to utilize the online networking resources that are available to me.

Your home is beautiful and so warm and welcoming. The meals were fabulous. I have already been in contact with Erin and we plan to stay in contact.

Once again, if you are ever in my area, I would love to welcome you into my home.

I wish you both the best.

Sincerely,

Claire

Gourmet Creations by Claire

photo 2

Here’s what happens over the course of the weekend seminar:

Saturday – Full Day – Nov 14, 2015

8:30 – 9:00

Continental Breakfast—Introductions

9:00 – 12:30

“Business Plan & Regulations” & “Finances”

12:30 – 1:30

Lunch (Hosted)

1:30 – 3:00

“How To Market Your New Business”

3:00 – 3:30

Break

3:30 – 5:30

“How To Market Your New Business – Through Advertising, Press Releases, and Media Exposure”

Sunday – Nov 15, 2015

8:00 – 9:00

Continental Breakfast—Q&A

9:00 – 11:30

“A Day in the Life of a Personal Chef”

11:30-12:30

Lunch (Hosted)

12:30 – 1:30

“Intro to Personal Chef Office”

plus Tips & Tricks for Search Engine Marketing with APPCA’S Webmaster

1:30 – 2:00

Q&A – Wrap Up (until ALL questions are answered.)

By the end of the seminar you’ll have answers to specific questions, such as “What level of service do I intend to offer and to whom?” How do I find clients and what do I do with them once I find them?” “How do I structure my business?” and “How do I track and store administrative and client information without being overwhelmed by paperwork and business details?”

Chef Candy Wallace will gently guide you through these issues to help you find your path. With years of experience and real-life anecdotes, she’ll give you critical insights that will help you plot out your future. You’ll leave with a package of invaluable materials you’ll constantly reference as you dig further into your business, plus a signed Certificate of Completion for the APPCA two-day seminar. Not only is this suitable for framing, but it also applies to specific education points toward certification through the ACF/APPCA certification partnership. In fact, this APPCI training program and materials are the source material for the written certification exam offered through the ACF/APPCA certification partnership.

photo 1-1

This one weekend in San Diego is your fastest and most effective path to success. You’ll leave with confidence in and excitement about your future, new friends and colleagues, and a boatload of knowledge that will help you launch your new career.

To learn more and register, go to our APPCA website.

Are you ready to take the leap into your new career as a personal chef? Do have have all the tools and knowledge you need to be a success?

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.

Dom Petrov Ossetra and Hackleback (r)1

With the New Year upon us this week, we’re facing the inevitable feast of resolutions. Well, we don’t want to be left out of the fun. And we’re always keen on trying to help our members thrive in business and life. So, we’ve come up with strategies that we believe will help with both. And, if you’ve got any to suggest, please include them in the comments section below!

So, in the spirit of stepping right up to the future, generating new business, keeping current business, and just all around embracing life, we hope you will:

1. Jump start your business marketing in innovative ways that attract the people you want to work with. Dive into social media and really engage people with a mix of what you’re doing, useful information about food/diet, and showcasing what you admire in others (generosity is a winning character trait on social media that attracts others). Join professional or volunteer organizations that will help you network beyond your usual circle. Contact us about guest blogging in this space or to ask Caron Golden to write a feature post about you. Let us know your area of expertise so we can call on you as a resource. (And then promote the heck out of the published piece!) It all helps you get your name out into the wider world!

2. Refresh your website and be sure to include the most important information about yourself, specifically your name, service geographies, and contact info (you’d be surprised at how many people seem to keep this a secret). Keep your site up to date and informative. Brag on yourself! And, be sure to get someone else to give new copy a once over to catch typos and grammatical mistakes. Make it as professional as you can.

Chef Carol Borchardt, who is generous with business advice and photography expertise

Chef Carol Borchardt, who is generous with business advice and photography expertise

3. Improve your food photography. The difference between a mediocre photo and a mouthwatering one is often as simple as lighting and focus. Don’t display muddy shots of brown food. Make every dish glow. That’s what you’re selling! Take a photography class. Buy a food photography book like Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin and study it. Read our past posts by member/photographer Carol Borchardt and learn from them. Study photos you admire and learn how to style from them.

4. Focus on learning a couple of new cooking techniques or a new cuisine to reignite your passion for cooking and so you can introduce new recipes into your client repertoire.

5. Conduct regular client assessments with longtime clients–perhaps every six months. It’s good to have ongoing conversations about where they are in their health, diet, and preferences. It’s also an opportunity for you to introduce new dishes to them and encourage them to give you referrals.

6. Set aside a budget to go out to eat at new restaurants, ethnic restaurants, anything that gets you out of your rut so you experience new tastes and new approaches to food and cooking. It’s research and it’s fun.

7. Get out and ask questions. What do people need in your community that you can provide? Does a community college need cooking teachers? Does a cooking school need someone who is able to teach kids or elders or people with specific dietary issues in which you have expertise? Does a local business need a regular caterer? Does a dietician with special needs clients need a chef to refer them to?

All editions of The Professional Chef

8. Identify gaps or deficiencies in how you run your business and find ways to improve them so that you’re more efficient and can earn more money. We have plenty of materials and software that address the business of being a personal chef. I can help and if you need other tools, we can direct you to them. Or come to San Diego and take a Personal Chef Seminar to recalibrate your business. Or take a class to learn a new skill set (in accounting, marketing, public speaking) at your local community college.

 

photo 2

 

9. Add a new related revenue stream to your business. This can range from teaching cooking classes and doing food demos at events to providing small markets with take0ut foods or catering meetings for businesses.

10. Set aside time once a month to get out of the kitchen and away from your business and do something fun. We all need to clear our heads and just enjoy life. We chose this industry so we could earn a living doing what we love on our terms. Set your priorities so you can lead a balanced life and be with those who are important to you.

January is traditionally a time for activating a new approach to life. We may not need to diet or exercise more, but who couldn’t  improve on what we already do well or simply learn something new that will enhance our business or life?

With the economy improving, 2015 is bound to be a terrific year! What can you do for yourself and your family to fulfill that promise?

Dennis and I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

What are you planning on doing to make 2015 a banner year?

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.

For the home cook, leftovers can mean another meal or two. But how about if you’re a personal chef and you have bits of treasure from dishes you’ve made? You don’t want them to go to waste. And they could probably lend themselves to some stunning new dishes.

Food that’s been safely handled, prepared properly, and stored correctly is simply good food. Most personal chef clients find their custom-designed meal support programs keep leftovers to a minimum but if you find yourself in a leftover-heavy position–as the chef or the client–you might find some of these tips helpful.

Salad bowl

Let’s look at the easy stuff first–ingredient leftovers. If you have unused herbs or proteins–such as chicken, beef, sausage, fish or other seafood–or grilled vegetables, you can certainly use them in an omelet or frittata, or as a filling for ravioli or wontons, or in soups or salads. Quesadillas and tacos are also great ways to use extra fresh ingredients. Leftover pasta can also go in a frittata–or soup. Got mashed potatoes? Make mini shepherd’s pies or use it to top a casserole.

veggies for garlic scapes pesto pasta

Prepped but unused onions, tomatoes, peppers, lemons, watermelon, or anything else coming from the garden can enhance and complement any number of dishes. The watermelon pieces that were part of dessert the night before can be tossed with sliced heirloom tomatoes, pieces of feta cheese, olives, and arugula for a sweet and savory salad.

Our colleague Carol Borchardt of A Thought for Food and her new blog, A Cookbook Obsession, recently wrote about turning vast amounts of leftover grilled sweet corn into smoky sweet corn puree, which she paired with seared scallops. After heating some butter and a little bacon fat from cooking up four slices of bacon, she sauteed chopped scallions, then added the corn kernels, cream cheese, and half and half. Then she added cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper before pureeing half the mixture. Pieces of cooked bacon and chives are added to the mixture and served with seared scallops.

Seared Scallops with Smoky Corn PUree

Photo courtesy of Carol Borchardt

Risotto is another one of those leftover dishes that never tastes quite the same warmed up the next day. So, how about making risotto pancakes with sauteed mushrooms and onions and strong meltable cheese, like gruyere? Add a binder, like a beaten egg, then form a ball just a bit larger than a golf ball with the risotto. Flatten it into a oval in the palm of your hand. Make an indentation in the middle and add the mushrooms and cheese. Then close it up over the filling. Repeat until you’ve used up the risotto. Saute the pancakes in butter or olive oil on both sides until crisp and serve.

Making pies and have leftover dough? Roll it out and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, then get out the cookie cutters. You’ve got cookies to bake.

There are numerous web resources for you to get ideas as well.

  • Food52: Experts and home cooks contribute to this site. Here’s a blog post on creating refreshing summer rolls with leftover fish, plus links to 10 other recipes for leftover fish.
  • Foodinese: Leftover stir fried veggies can be soggy and unappealing after their initial debut on the table. Here’s a video on turning them into dumplings.
  • Epicurious: Got leftover grilled salmon? Flake it, Make a sandwich on ciabatta, per this recipe.
Photo by Marcus Nilsson

Photo by Marcus Nilsson

  • Food Republic: Wow, they must think you never finish a meal. Here are 15 recipes for using up what’s in the fridge.
  • Bakepedia: Are you a baker with leftover ganache or buttercream? Even dessert leftovers can get a new life with these ideas.
  • Tasting Table: Now we’re getting hard core. These “leftovers” are more like the trimmed off stuff you’d ordinarily toss, like stems, leaves, pods, and peels–even baguette ends. But they’re fantastic in all sorts of dishes. Here’s how to use them.
  • The Kitchn: Turn dinner leftovers into lunch. If it reheats well (or is good cold), easy to eat at your desk or the lunch cafeteria, and is easy to transport, you’ve got a delicious lunch. Here are 10 leftover ideas.

Any meal in which there are leftovers is simply another opportunity to make the most of your tasty, beautifully prepared ingredients–whether it’s reheating or reinventing.

What are your favorite leftover ingredients? Have you developed a repertoire of dishes based on leftovers?

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.

Don’t forget to sign up for our September Personal Chef Seminar Weekend!