It was an amazing interview. Definitly a position I would have loved if they accepted the salary I wanted.
Arrived at the estate gates and was buzzed in. Brought my 'A Game' with full portfolio (menus, press releases, etc) and resume.
Then I also prepared one perfect hors d'oeuvres - lump crabcake with chipotle remoulade - presented on an amuse dish straight from Paris!
Then prepared grilled swordfish topped with chopped sundried tomatoes & basil with a shallot butter sauce & sauted organic swiss chard (straight from my garden) with mojo de ajo (double YUMM) garnished with a beautiful nastursium.and presented under silver dome.
I also brought a baby hawk feather that I found just before I left as a surprise to the little 3 1/2 year old boy (one of 4 kids)
So as I waited in the solarium for my presentation, I soaked in the beautiful 30 acre estate!. While I felt confident, my heart was pounding. It was a dreamy country oasis. Caretaker arrived to offer a drink and I accepted a glass of water so my tongue wouldn't stick in responding to the interview questions.Greeted by their family dog (a rare breed which I bred years ago......un signa....un signa!!) This is definitely book material.....
Okay, so in walks Mrs. X and immediately sizes up the dishes proffered.on the cocktail table. We greet each other and then she casually reaches for the crabcake as we sit down to begin the interview. It first begins with the family pet and my background with the breed. Then on to the portfolio, resume and assorted menus. I then remove the dome cover and an explanation of what's offered is presented. She's impressed goes for a mouthful.
That was the first "mmmm". (Oldest son and Mr. X also floated in for a tasting). She wonders out loud if she can "afford" me. Mentions she's very busy between her four properties - NY, FLA, ASPEN, and country estates....runs a business....4 children ....philanthropic obligations.....and multiple staff.
Needs someone who is very flexible.....so "what are my rates.....had I thought about how much I would want for this Fri-Sun gig" She also mentions she is interviewing a couple for the M-Fri spot immediately following my interview.
I make sure to review her expectations:
Friday dinner for family of 6 plus staff of 4 (of yes, she forgot to mention another 2 staff), & maybe guests or children's 6 friends
(different menus, different service times)
Saturday lunch for family of 6 plus staff of 4.5.6 ? plus dinner for family, guests (12) and staff.
(different menus for lunch, child 3, child-teen, staff and dinner party)
okay....still not a problem
Sunday brunch buffet, and dinner (same amount of people, different menus and services)
Then there's planning for the unexpected....she mentions some prepared meals for the kids and friends
Planning with groceries for last minute surprises (extra shrimp, veal and chicken scallopine, soups, etc)
Oh another ..."by the way....for parties ....Halloween 50, Thanksgiving 18, Christmas and Holiday parties..And she would give me advanced notice if there would be celebrity guests or if the President was coming for dinner.
And of course all of the personal factors I needed to consider: no personal life on the weekends, the high risk factors of no "contract" where they can release at any moment, no insurance, no benefits, being hired in the HIGH SEASON, no more big weekend catering gigs, no $5K cocktail parties, no holiday parties, no mitzvahs.......nothing that they would have to care about)
What's my rate?.....I let her know who I'm not.....so if she's looking for a private chef who is looking for $1200-2000 and shops at Stop & Shop for groceries (no disrespect to that franchise), I'm not the right person. I have the experience from private chef background, catering parties, can handle requests on last minute notice, can stock and organize for the wide range of palates and occasions, and have the vendor contacts to assure the best products delivered to her gates. And I live only 15 minutes away if she needs last minute help.
My rate.....$3600. She follows up with what I would charge for Sat only.....$1200. ($100.pp for those dinner parties)
She would need to speak with her husband to see if this makes good financial sense. I leave with a cordial and gracious thank you and ask that if she wants, she could hire me for her big parties and to please refer me to her friends and circle of influence. She says we will definitely be in touch......
I certainly hope so.
Thanks for all the immediate help when I needed it.....
As always, with gratitude,
PS I love this board, the straight chef-talk, the expertise of everyone here and the knowledge of the unspoken factors.
Edited by saffron - 9/6/10 at 7:24am