Chef Make House Calls

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Lynn Thilman worked in sales and marketing for a travel agency for about 20 years. She was happy and doing well, but when the Internet began competing with travel agents, her job was cut.

So, four years ago, her alias — “The Food Fare-e” — was born. Thilman is now a certified personal chef, based in Edwardsville, Mo.

The personal chef industry is a relatively young one and is separate from restaurants. It even has a trade association, the United States Personal Chef Association, which says it’s a $100 million industry today that is expected to grow to about $150 million over five years.

Chefs are paid a flat rate per cooking session, do the grocery shopping on their clients’ dime and pay for their own cooking utensils. This business model is more attractive than running a restaurant because personal chefs don’t have to worry about rent, electric bills or salaries for other chefs, waiters and hostesses.

Thilman said her startup costs were about $2,000, which included chef coats and utensils, plus pots and pans. After seeing a profit in her first year in business, Thilman said her long-term career goal is set.

Photo by Special to The Press-Enterprise.

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