Thinking of dropping that corporate job and becoming a personal chef?
The first stop for most chefs-to-be is a professional organization like the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) or the American Personal Chef Organization (APCA). Both offer training, referral services, recipe archives, and professional development.
David MacKay started the USPCA in 1992. He came into the personal chef idea serendipitously - his wife, Susan Titcomb, worked in a restaurant but was tiring of the long hours and low pay. A friend, impressed with the premade dinners in Ms. Titcomb's freezer, asked if she could do the same thing for him. Within a year she was booked with customers and her peers were clambering to start similar businesses. Mr. MacKay, who loves teaching, then started the USPCA.
Based in Albuquerque, N.M., it is the largest professional-chef organization, with about 3,500 members. It has stringent requirements for certification, and maintains over 40 chapters allowing members to get certified or continue their education. A USPCA chef even teaches the flight staff at Andrews Air Force Base to create personalized meals in a confined space.
Candy Wallace began the San Diego-based APCA in 1995. Its network now includes 1,400 chefs, drawn by the relatively low fees and online discussion forums for members. It also maintains an open forum for potential chefs and conducts two-day training seminars around the country. Dennis Nosko and Christine Robinson (see article above) are APCA members. Both organizations maintain Web sites: www.uspca.com (USPCA) and www.personalchef.com (APCA). The initial investment in becoming a personal chef is around $1,500 to $2,000.
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