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Questions on recipes etc. for "Dream Dinner"-type business

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Not sure where to post this but, I just began teaching cooking classes 8 weeks ago. I am going to start charging. The way we do it is, the women come to my place or I to their, they act as sous chefs to one another (chopping, measuring, etc.) They prepare 3 double entrees, for 6 meals, and take them home to finsh cooking later. The idea is sort of like Dream Dinners but we come to you and they are cheaper because there is no overhead. I shop for the ingredients and supply recipes. My question? How do I charge for this service, where can I find more recipes that freeze well and prep quickly? We have done chicken marsale, lasagna, eggplant parmesan, Morracan stew, meatloaf, marinara, meatballs, Thai poached fish, Tandori, fish and chicken, and South African meat pies. I would like to be able to offer a menu in which the women or men choose three entrees from.
Thank you for your replies.
post #2 of 7
I hope you get some answers here -- it sounds as though what you do is kind of like personal cheffing, and we have some really nice personal chefs here.

But I have to ask that one of your questions NOT be answered here: the question about what to charge. I just found out that discussions of rates is considered to be price-fixing, and should not be done in online discussion boards. Frankly, that sounds stupid to me -- after all, we are just trying to help each other in our businesses, and since we're scattered all over the world it's unlikely that we could have any impact in the greater scheme of the services we offer. But it's better to be safe than risk a lawsuit from the FTC. :o
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 7
You can find the answer on what to charge pretty much anywhere you look in a search engine for personal chefs. The prices vary, but not by much. It really is dependent on where you like in the country, or if there are other services like this around you.

I know (roughly) what I'm going to be charging as I go into the PC biz, but I wont post it, for the reason Suzanne said. I like this site too much, to have to worry about a simple price amount.

Do you ever watch the Food Network show Recipe for Success? They have PC's and Dream Dinner "types" on semi-often. There's good info in them, including prices that they charge. If nothing else, don't be afraid to call some places like that to get a price.

Here's a few ideas of basics that I've written down for what I'm going to be trying to do, that freeze well...
Meatloaf (this should be a duh)
Soups and chilis
Any kind of casserole
Cookies (Yes already cooked cookies CAN be frozen)
Garlic Breads, Pizza Breads, etc.
Pastas IN sauces, not so well with pasta by itself.
BBQ (anything)

The list goes on and on. One idea you might try is just simply going to the grocery store, and look in the frozen foods section. Chances are, if it's a food, it's freezable.

Good luck, and I too hope you get some responses that help us all out.
Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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post #4 of 7
The old anal chef would like to throw in that:
Please take a sanitation or food handling course before you get started.
Please don't take offence to this. I'm not implying anything. It's just that soo many people seem to write this off as common sense. It's anything but. You need to know times and temps, especially if you are creating a liability from your service. There are formulations for chilling and freezing, how long food items can be out for preperation etc.
I only say this because PCing is becoming soo popular, that it is set up for a crash on sanitation. I've already seen a hidden camera thing done in Houston.
pan

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #5 of 7
I agree with the sanitation/food handling course.

I've got a restaurant background, and can't stress this enough. (about sanitation) Then again, just because I've worked in restaurants, doens't mean I've learned everything I need to know.

I'm a stickler about washing constantly, about washing thoroughl;y after handling chicken, etc. to the point that I was told I was wasting man hours. WTF? MY health is as important as the people eating the food I prepare.

Don't forget the easily forgetable part about a cutting board for each individual type of item you prepare. ie - Chicken seperate board, Veggies seperate board, Pork seperate board, and Beef seperate board, etc. Sure it means hauling around many utensils that most home cooks dont' care to carry around, but it's your "livelyhood" at stake, among other things.
Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes, I too have a restaurant background, have taken courses etc. I am greatly concerned with my own health so because of that, I've got everybody else covered. I don't have cable : (, but Ido have detective skills. Thanks for the tip about the pricing, I didn't know. My other business has a message board and it's all we talk about! At the end of each class, members take home a cooler packed with ice packs and their meals, I'm currently thawing out some lamb in the fridge for tonight. Not fast, but safer than the counter top! Thank you for the tips.
post #7 of 7
Two things:

To add to ricib's grocery store freezer selection; check out Trader Joe's if you have one nearby. It's a really nifty store, and has more cool stuff in the freezer than anyone.
By the way, Faith Popcorn, a think tank type trend predictor/ advisor, predicted the Trader Joe's type of friendlier, more personalized concept back around 1991. There are others, varied in nature and scope; Sunflower Market in the west (the Olive Bar alone is worth the trip, not to mention THE best bulk section ever).

Marketing your classes, I bet that emphasizing that you teach safety, health and sanitation throughout would be just another "hook" to attract clients.

Also, you've probably already thought of this, but lots of folks are starving for hors d'oeuvres ideas.

Best of luck to you.

Mike
www.lasvegascatering.com
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