FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Please explain lic. caterer, contract cook and private chef.

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Smoke Ring Forum Index -> Catering
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 12:14 am    Post subject: Please explain lic. caterer, contract cook and private chef. Reply with quote

I've just started dealing with my HD and luckily, they actually appear to be willing to help me rather than being the bureaucratic mess I assumed. The lady I spoke with will be getting back to me next week with particulars for my situation.
I brought up the subject of lic. caterer vs. contract cook vs. private chef and I just heard crickets. She did say that if I'm just doing private back yard functions and only relying on word of mouth, the HD would have no concern for me. I don't want to be some fly-by-night skirting the law but I also want to avoid unnecessary hassle from a bureaucrat. If I can be a licenced and inspected legitimate caterer (admittedly small scale) but avoid a lot of EXTRA hassle by calling myself a private chef rather than caterer I'd like to know.
This is what I have in mind for myself, at least in the beginning;
I'm going to spend the $100 to become an LLC.
I'll be relaying on web advertising and word of mouth.
On sight service for smaller, low key functions (no wedding receptions or large corp. gigs) like family reunions, small anniversary parties or birthday parties.
Take out/delivery service.
Vending. Not fairs and such but rather as a service to small business owners, promotions or grand opening type stuff. As a way to bring potential business into their parking lot.
I plan on keeping my menu simple to start with.
This venture will be personally financed in the beginning and I plan on turning all profit back into the business for at least 3-5 years so I'm able to grow.
So... my bottom line question is: Can I call myself a contract or private chef and make an easyer path for myself while still being legitimate?
No matter what path I take, food safety will be my first goal and a close second will be quality.
I found http://www.servsafe.com/ and will be brushing up on my food handling skills.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your best bet would be to look up the statutes for your state on the web, and look at the definitions listed in them.

After looking at the state site, go to the county and look for modifications.
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ckone
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 2451
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about your area, but "take out" and "vending" sound like they rule out contract cook/personal chef.
_________________
22.5 Weber Kettle
OK Joe
The Bubba Keg
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry... I skimmed the statutes but didn't see any reference. I'll look again.

ckone... my thinking is that I'd be a personal chef that also offers vending for special events and take-out for those that didn't want/need an on site chef.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jeff Hughes
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 1182
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't offer take out without a commissary.

You can't vend without an approved trailer or truck(this could also serve as your commissary for take out). You typically can't just set up an EZup, a table, and a cooker in some parking lot and start selling food.

Being a personal chef generally gets you around the above requirements, but limits you to doing all of your prep and cooking on site for private functions if you actually care about being legal.
_________________
Klose 72" Mobile
Big Green Egg
Hasty Bake Legacy
Weber 22" Kettle
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff Hughes wrote:
You can't offer take out without a commissary.

Yeah... I'm starting to see that.
Jeff Hughes wrote:
You can't vend without an approved trailer or truck(this could also serve as your commissary for take out). You typically can't just set up an EZup, a table, and a cooker in some parking lot and start selling food.

This is actually up in the air until my local HD gets back to me with specifics. The person I talked with seemed to believe that as long as wasn't "just pulling off of the side of the road somewhere like those lunch trucks" I may able to do what I have in mind with a "purpose made cooker, not some converted oil drum". What I have in mind is vending from a "contracted" business's adjacent parking lot for promotional purposes.
Jeff Hughes wrote:
Being a personal chef generally gets you around the above requirements, but limits you to doing all of your prep and cooking on site for private functions if you actually care about being legal.

I do care about being legal. That's why I'm talking to the HD, SCC and asking questions here. Someday, I would love to have a full blown catering trailer with a porch and a Southern Pride cooker but right now, I'm a middle aged family man that is trying to start a business on a shoestring, that he can pass on to his two boys.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
valleypigs
BBQ Fan


Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 267
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VA HD considers on-site bbq "catering" a gray area that they do not specifically regulate, as long as you have a single person you are charging and they are hosting the event.

But...once you directly sell to the public, they defintiely regulate and assess fees. And you have to have a mobile food permit and annual inspections.

Or..you can work weekends only on any street corner that will let you and you will probably never see the HD because they do not work weekends apparently. At least that is what works in Shenandoah Co if you have the right name and influence.

Yeah...I'm a little bitter. Do what's right, follow the rules, pay the money not only for inspected equipment and HD fees. Then watch others get away with anything. Called the HD and was told, they do not have the power to enforce their rules on him. WTF!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ridge View BBQ
BBQ Pro


Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 827
Location: Charleston WV West Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21 11 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

valleypigs wrote:
VA HD considers on-site bbq "catering" a gray area that they do not specifically regulate, as long as you have a single person you are charging and they are hosting the event.

But...once you directly sell to the public, they defintiely regulate and assess fees. And you have to have a mobile food permit and annual inspections.

Or..you can work weekends only on any street corner that will let you and you will probably never see the HD because they do not work weekends apparently. At least that is what works in Shenandoah Co if you have the right name and influence.

Yeah...I'm a little bitter. Do what's right, follow the rules, pay the money not only for inspected equipment and HD fees. Then watch others get away with anything. Called the HD and was told, they do not have the power to enforce their rules on him. WTF!


Does seem like the honest working person gets nickle and dimed a lot these days doesn't it!
_________________
www.ridgeviewbbq.com
http://www.facebook.com/RidgeViewBBQ
Lang 108
Wells Cargo 20' Concession Trailer w/porch 24"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Grnmtn BBQ Chef
BBQ Fan


Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 161
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22 11 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's see...

Personal Chef... also known in certain circles as a contract cook. Generally you work for a specific client on a given day. Work all needs to be done at the clients location of choosing. Meals can be everything from heat and eat to dinner parties and or BBQ's depending on what the client wants. How you set the business structure regulates you status. In most cases you charge a service fee and directly pass the cost of the food to the client, as in they are purchacing the food, only you are picking it up retail.

Private Chef... Work usually for just one client supplying anywhere from one meal a day to three plus snacks. Can be a live in position but depending on the Chef live off campus so to speak but be avaible at most usual hours for food service.

Catering opp... That is covered well, a lot of additional red tape, but also a bigger pay off as you have more advatages with wholesale buying as well as the ability to do mulitple clients or gigs in one day depending on the size of your centrally located kitchen and number of employees you want to handle.
_________________
Eat hearty and live life to the fullest..... Chef Brian

Meadow Creek PR72T modified adding a 2nd Meadow Creek PR 60 this week and 2 well loved Red Rivers going into retirement
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22 11 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

valleypigs wrote:
Do what's right, follow the rules, pay the money not only for inspected equipment and HD fees. Then watch others get away with anything.

I know what you mean. No matter the topic... it always seems like the people who do it the right way just watch the slackers get away with the easy life. I would have done what you complain about if I where in my 20's and didn't see beyond the end of my nose but, I'm hoping that the right way will pay off in the end. It's my goal to leave an option for my boys to pursue. What kind of father would I be to leave them with the lesson that the easy way is the right way?

Update... I found out today that a fraternal organization I belong to has a kitchen that is HD approved!


Last edited by Virginiasmoke on Sat Jan 22 11 7:20 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22 11 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe this will help you understand better and this ties in with the other posters.

If you are not licensed, you may only cook for private parties on their own private property for their private guests. There is no take-out or pick-up options available, period, no discussion needed because it just is not going to happen.
You cannot base you business from your home, meaning no food storage or preparation anywhere but at the location you are preparing food for the private party with invited guests.

To sell directly to the general public, you must have a base of operations that is properly licensed, insured and in many cases you will also need a "Food Managers License" issued by your state after completing an approved food handling and sanitation course (Serv-Safe)

You may be able to have a licensed food prep area on your property that is not attached to you living quarters, and you will most likely need a separate water source that is approved, and maybe a separate septic/sewer system too.

Basically, there is a ton more that you need to know than what you currently realize. So do not spend a dime on equipment until you and your local health department have this hammered out.
Or if you already have, I would be willing to buy the equipment at a discount if you need to sell it,.
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22 11 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
If you are not licensed, you may only cook for private parties on their own private property for their private guests. There is no take-out or pick-up options available, period, no discussion needed because it just is not going to happen.

I get this now. Seeing that I plan on this being my main business plan I could almost get away with the hassle of the HD. I would like the option of vending on non-catering days and besides... I would guess a "I'm HD certified" goes a looong way with a potential client.
Quote:
To sell directly to the general public, you must have a base of operations that is properly licensed, insured and in many cases you will also need a "Food Managers License" issued by your state after completing an approved food handling and sanitation course (Serv-Safe)

I think I'm homing in on a potential HD approved commissary that should take care of this requirement.
I've also found the serv-safe website and am making my way through that as well.
Quote:

You may be able to have a licensed food prep area on your property that is not attached to you living quarters, and you will most likely need a separate water source that is approved, and maybe a separate septic/sewer system too.

I'm still mulling that over. I have the space for it but would rather save the funding if I can.
Quote:
Basically, there is a ton more that you need to know than what you currently realize. So do not spend a dime on equipment until you and your local health department have this hammered out.
Or if you already have, I would be willing to buy the equipment at a discount if you need to sell it,.

I think I've demonstrated that I don't tend to go off half cocked. I'm reading, studying and bugging everyone on "the ring" with questions you guys must have answered dozens of times so... nothing for sale here. Thanks for taking your time with me. : )
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22 11 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just hate seeing guys buy a ton of equipment, and finding out later that there is no possible way they can legally do what they wanted to do, or they get overwhelmed by the regulations.

You did the right thing by inquiring here. Many of the members have started out the same way. I catered BBQ for 4 years before opening my restaurant, but I also had a few decades of food service experience behind me already and knew what needed to be done.
I got sick of someone else taking credit for my food, so I went out on my own.
The only problem now is that my boss is an azzhole, he doesn't pay me anything, or give me a day off either!!
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22 11 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
The only problem now is that my boss is an azzhole, he doesn't pay me anything, or give me a day off either!!
Just think though... you can never get fired for telling the boss just what you think of him.
Thanks Harry for your advice. I've got a head full of ideas and a practical way to put them to work now.
I'm taking a small business seminar on Monday and I'll be taking my Food Protection Manager Certification Training at the beginning of next month.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harry Nutczak
BBQ All Star


Joined: 01 Mar 2007
Posts: 8558
Location: The Northwoods

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a great place to start, and even go to again after starting a business
_________________
Just remember that the toes you may step on during your climb to the top will also be attached to the a$$es you'll be forced to kiss on your way back down!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Virginiasmoke
BBQ Pro


Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 870
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update: A friend of mine happened to mention to me that a friend of his has a Lang 84 deluxe that he rents out when not being used.
First a commissary falls into my lap, now this.
Things are coming together quickly!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
G's BBQ
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 1641
Location: NV

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
The only problem now is that my boss is an azzhole, he doesn't pay me anything, or give me a day off either!!


Aint that the truth Harry...I would kick my ass if I could...LOL
_________________
California State Grand Champion-Shake,Rattle & Smoke-July 2007
American Royal Invitational 2007-11th place Ribbon Brisket
2nd Place BBQ Sauce-Best On The Mountain Rib Cook-Off-Horizon Casino, South Lake Tahoe-May 2008
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Grnmtn BBQ Chef
BBQ Fan


Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 161
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27 11 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now your only boss is the bank and book keeper... LOL! I used to complain about getting a day off, Now I complain about having one. Go figure.
_________________
Eat hearty and live life to the fullest..... Chef Brian

Meadow Creek PR72T modified adding a 2nd Meadow Creek PR 60 this week and 2 well loved Red Rivers going into retirement
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Smoke Ring Forum Index -> Catering All times are GMT + 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group