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What should I cook for the first time as a private chef?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have been working in fine dining restaurants for 12 years and recently got hired by a single man in his mid 50's to be his private chef. He asked me to do a stage before I decide to quit my job in the restaurant Im in and see If this is ideal for me. He is Jewish and will be having his two 11 year old boys and his vegetarian mother over for dinner. 

 

I want to play it safe because I need to cater to all of them so I decided to make a simple Chicken Parm with spaghetti and a nice roasted vegetable salad tossed with balsamic. 

 

Does this sound too safe or should I try to impress him with what I know from my restaurant experience?

 

**He has mentioned he does not want "super fancy" food. Just nice wholesome homemade meals.

post #2 of 12

As you probably know from your restaurant years, the first rule is to be able to follow instructions. He asked for simple homemade meals. If you give hime those well prepared, that will impress him.  He already answered your question by telling you what he wants. A simple, well prepared meal. Chicken parm sounds like a fine start. 

post #3 of 12

What will you be offering the vegetarian mother in place of the chicken parm?  My second question would be, I know he is Jewish, but is he religious and if so how religious?  I ask because some of the kosher laws require that meat and dairy not be served at the same meal, and I do believe that extends to chicken, but I'm not sure.

post #4 of 12
Chicken is considered 'meat' in Jewish law so if he is Hasidic or orthodox then chx parm is out. Oddly enough eggs are considered pareve so they can be eaten with either meat or dairy.
But I think you have the right idea about what he expects. If you want ideas or inspiration I'd say think morrocan or ny delicatessen. A lot to draw from there
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

He told me he does not keep kosher. I considered the roasted vegetable salad to be her option long with the spaghetti..

post #6 of 12

Personally, I would come up with a way to "enhance" her spaghetti so it doesn't seem like you left her out.  I'm guessing the reason vegetarian Mom is coming is to see what you do for that and just leaving the chicken off seems like a poor choice and might come back to bite you in the butt.

post #7 of 12

Maybe ratatouille for the mother?  I love ratatouille; it's hearty but kind of light, complex in flavors but also kind of rustic and simple. Lots of room to personalize it and it's great for vegetarians.  But it can be served with a chicken breast if you like.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #8 of 12

Pete and alaminute........

 

If this guy was an Orthodox Jew, I highly doubt he would have a non Jew cook for him and his family

and he would have said all that up front in the beginning.

 

I think you're all reading too much into this, as the OP said up front that the guy wants simple home cooking..

post #9 of 12
Actually having a gentile cook your food doesn't make it un kosher as long as the kitchen is kosher and they don't mix the meat/ pareve utensils. My wife's family are mostly wealthy Hebrews who speak very little English and are extremely Hasidic (I.e. No driving, phones, turning light switches, or any 'work' on Shabbat) but they all have Mexicans cleaning and cooking in their homes. This is nice for me as I have someone to talk to whenever I'm around, lol.

Didn't mean to miss the point, but the OP did mention the family was Jewish so I was just clarifying in case the family did follow dietary law.

On that note I would agree with Pete that you'll need something more than just a salad for mom. Soups good but you could also just sauté some mushrooms for that 'protein' texture and maybe melt some parm on at the end then just put i nice pile of mushrooms on her pasta instead of the chx.
post #10 of 12

Agreed with the others, as the PC you are there to cater to their needs, so keep it simple and to the point if they want it that way.  As for his vegetarian mother, I too would suggest not to simply leave off the meat on her entree, it's not about pulling fancy tricks but making all the diners feel comfortable with their choices and end up looking like a second-class citizen.  Do an eggplant version for her or a nice mushroom bolognese or something.

"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #11 of 12
Why serve chicken at all for this meal ?

What about making a meal that will suit them all ?

App : soup or salad
Risotto Milanese ? Aubergine parmigiana ? Etc...
Dessert

A thought

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #12 of 12

My mother makes a killer zucchini noodle salad - even kids who hate vegetables love it.

 

Spiral noodles boiled al dente, with lots of blanched zucchini batonnets, large red onion dice, roasted pine kernels and sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, all mixed together with some mayo.

 

Alternatively her Silesian potato salad: About 3/5ths diced boiled potatoes, 2/5ths sour diced apples, seasoned with lots of diced pickled gherkins, diced harboiled egg and pearl onions, also with a bit of mayo.


Edited by mhpr262 - 11/13/14 at 7:32am
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