👩‍🍳Personal Chef asks, “what if they don’t like my food?”

What if your 👩‍🍳Personal Chef clients pay you for Meal Prep and they don’t like the food?

Today’s topic is actually a question posed to me recently. What happens if I become a personal chef and my clients don’t like my food?

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Are you lacking confidence in your personal chef skills?

You know the truth. That’s just you lacking confidence. You know you can cook well. All your friends tell you so. Your family tells you so.

You might think you have imposter syndrome. They’re lying to you. They’re just being polite. Really, you know in your heart that you’re a good cook and are going to make a great personal chef. Just have some confidence in yourself. I’m sure that your clients are going to love your food. But really, what if they DON’T like your food?

Are you listening to your clients?

Part of having a consultation with potential new clients is that you’re trying to get an idea of what they like to eat. You ask them about their allergies, dietary restrictions, likes and dislikes. If you don’t listen well, you could do them a disservice.

I must share with you about the time I went on a consultation for a couple who said they really loved French food and would love if I cooked French food for them. The truth, however, is that my niche is healthy cooking without the use of butter or cream. As you know, French cooking is all about butter. I replied, “of course I’ll make you French food.” Obviously, I was new and trying to please everybody and really, I wasn’t listening to them and wasn’t being true to myself. My plan was to make them something they didn’t even know they wanted. Obviously, it didn’t work out.

you can’t please everyone, every time with every single dish you create as a Personal Chef

Did you improperly cook the dish?

It is possible that if you don’t listen to your clients, you may create dishes they’re not interested in and won’t like. Now, let’s take a different approach. What if you made pork chops and burnt them? Or, what if you overcooked zucchini until it was soggy. The client reheats the dinner and of course says, “we don’t like this.” That’s your fault, obviously.

This is now a business decision. How are you going to handle it? You’re going to make mistakes in the kitchen. It’s inevitable. Are you going to refund the money for that particular meal? Perhaps you’re going to offer to remake it the next day or the following week? You may want to think about it now before you encounter the situation. Decisions could be made instead on a case-by-case basis. You don’t have to have a set policy in your mind about how you’re going to handle every situation. Again, it’s your business and you get to run it how you want to run it.

Is your client ordering outside their comfort zone?

Let’s consider a different situation. Let’s say they order chicken piccata because they’re never tried it before. You know you have an amazing chicken piccata recipe. Everybody loves it. The prepared dish is presented and they let you know, “we didn’t like it.” Your response should be, “WHY didn’t you like it?” If they state that it was too salty, maybe they just didn’t like the capers. The next step is to make a note that this particular family doesn’t like salty foods. You want to consider this fact when presenting future offerings and possibly omit salty items such as olives, capers or sardines. You’ll learn something new about your clients when they share why they don’t like a particular dish. It’s impossible to please them with every single dish you present.

What do you do when they don’t like, for example, the chicken piccata? It’s similar to visiting a restaurant and thinking, “I’ve never had quail before. I think I’ll check it out. I’m going to go ahead and order that.” You order it. You cut it up, eat it, and you don’t like it. The restaurant is not going to give you your money back because you’re trying something new on the menu and didn’t like it. In the case of this client ordering the chicken piccata, trying it out and not liking it, it’s not your fault. I personally wouldn’t give them their money back for that particular dish, but again, it’s your personal chef business and you get to run it how you want.

Virginia Stockwell, Personal Chef Mentor

Personal Chef Questions Welcome!

I think that should sufficiently answer the question of, “what if they don’t like my food?” I love receiving questions about getting started in the personal chef business, so please send them my way.

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Virginia Stockwell has been in the professional catering and personal chef business since 2005. She offers mentoring advice at VirginiaStockwell.com and her YouTube channel “How to Become a Personal Chef”.

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