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  • Writer's pictureDotty

8 Questions My Clients Ask Before Booking Me As Their Private Chef

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Hiring a Private Chef can help make special occasions even more special and memorable. I don’t need to tell you how enjoyable and indulgent it is to have dinner cooked for you in a restaurant. Now imagine that feeling, except you’re in the comfort of your own home, on your sofa, cracking open your favourite beer or wine, with your slippers on (this part is optional!). Sounds pretty blissful doesn’t it?

It really is the best of both worlds: you get restaurant quality food without having to go out, and you get to have an amazing dinner at home without so much as having to turn on the oven, let alone do the dishes.

If you’ve got a special occasion coming up, it might be worth considering doing something a little different and booking a chef. Here are the top eight questions that my clients ask me before they book their event.

1) Can I pick my own menu?

Of course! This may seem like an obvious question but it is the most common thing that my clients want to know. I have lots of seasonal sample menu ideas on my website to give you some inspiration, but every single event that I cater for is completely bespoke. After you submit your initial inquiry, I’ll get in touch to find out a little bit more about you and your event.

We usually chat about what type of food you love, and what you don’t like, what your favourite restaurants are, and what kind of atmosphere you’re looking for. Then, I go away and write a menu with loads of different options that are completely tailored to your brief.

From there, you can either lock in your menu choices, or we can chat a bit more to tweak the menu until we get it just right!

2) How much does it cost?

After the food, this is always the next question that clients want to know. Hiring a private chef sounds like it would be really expensive, way out of your price range doesn’t it? It’s really not as expensive as you might think!

The cost of hiring me to cook for you really varies depending on how many people are attending and how complex your menu is. As all of my menus are written bespoke to you, it really can vary. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around the same as you would in a quality restaurant.

My three course menu options start from £50pp and a sharing plates menu from £65pp for dinner. Lunch time options or bowl food options can be even cheaper. You can see a sample of the menus here.

If you already know that you have a specific budget, don’t forget to mention this in our initial consultation. I’ll try to make sure that I can create a menu that strikes the balance between delivering on flavour and delivering on cost.

3) How does it work on the day?

The exact logistics of the day will depend on the scale and complexity of your meal. In most cases, I will arrive about two hours before the time that you would like to eat. This gives me just the right amount of time to finish off any last minute prep, get to grips with how everything works in the kitchen and to lay the table for the event. As your guests arrive, all you need to do is be there to greet them then settle in for a good night! I will take care of the rest.

Once you’ve finished your meal, I will clear away, wash the pots and stack the dishwasher before creeping out, leaving you to continue your night with your guests. I’ll leave the kitchen like I found it; you won’t even know I’ve been there!

4) What equipment do you need?

You don’t need anything special at all: I bring everything I need to cook your meal. During our initial consultation about your menu I will usually ask you about the cooking facilities you have available. I am very comfortable working in most domestic kitchens, no matter how big or small, well equipped or sparsely equipped. From chopping boards to frying pans, cheese graters to tea towels, I come completely prepared so I don’t need to use lots of your pots and pans.

When it comes to serving, it really depends on you. Sometimes my clients like to use their own crockery and glassware but sometimes my clients don’t have the right crockery at home for the dishes we intended to serve. Plus, many of my clients bring me in to cook for them whilst they are staying at an airbnb or holiday cottage so can’t be sure what crockery will be there when they arrive. That’s why I offer all of my clients the option to add on a crockery hire package. This means that I will bring everything: glasses, water jugs, cutlery, napkins, plates… you name it. I can also help with little extra touches like candles and flowers too.

5) Can you advise on wine?

Yes I can! I spent 2021 lockdown studying for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level Two Qualification in Wine. I am happy to say that I received a distinction in my exam! That, combined with the fact that I just love to drink wine, means that I have accrued a significant amount of knowledge about what wine to serve with certain dishes. I cannot sell wine for a whole load of boring legal reasons, but I absolutely love advising my clients about wines to choose – I just think it can add such a special extra touch to your event. I can help you to source the right wines, and help serve them on the night too.

6) Where do you get your produce from?

Using the best quality, seasonal and locally sourced produce is a core value for me and my business. All of the meat that I serve come from Charlotte’s Butchery or Block and Bottle, and my fish comes from Phil’s Plaice at North Shields. That means that all of the meat that I serve is high welfare or better. Plus, I trust these suppliers to make sure I get the very best quality.

I use local farm shops and organic shops to source as much of the veg as I can, and always buy British when I can too.

If you have specific suppliers that you’d like me to use, I am more than happy to do so! I always love finding new local suppliers!

7) Do you have staff that work with you?

Yes and no. I am Dotty in the Kitchen so if you hire me, you get me! For clients who are hosting larger events, or events where the client is looking for a more formal level of service, I have a small team of fellow foodies and chefs who come and help me. I don’t work with any agencies so everyone who works with me is someone that I have personally chosen and know. I trust them completely and know that they share the same values as me when it comes to good food and good service.

8) Do you do this kind of event?

This isn’t a specific question, but I often get enquiries saying “is this the kind of thing that you do?” I specialise in dinner party catering – which means cooking for intimate groups (usually fewer than 15 people) at the client’s house – but I love working with all kinds of different clients with different briefs! From buffet lunches, afternoon teas, larger catering events such as weddings, or corporate lunches, I have experience delivering a wide range of catering solutions.


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