Why He Switched: "I specialized in Latin American markets and was
sort of a financial diplomat. But I wanted to be my own boss, and
cooking has been my passion since I was a little boy playing in my
grandmother's kitchen in Mexico City."
How He Did It: "I
sensed a lot of demand here for personal chefs, so I enrolled in
cooking school part-time. I quit my job and worked at Per Se and
Le Bernardin, and I developed recipes for Whole Foods. I started
Healthy Meals JPC in '05."
What A Personal Chef Does: "I handle my finances, marketing and
website. I meet each client to discuss their needs, preferences
and budget. I test dishes at home and cook in clients' kitchens,
usually a family supper or a dinner party. Sometimes I shop and
serve. I charge by the hour, and clients foot the supplies. I also
teach cooking classes."
Who Does This Job Best? "In any customer-service business, you
have to be pleasant, patient, flexible and reliable. As a chef,
you must be as creative as the client wants. You have to keep the
meals fun, because you depend on repeat business."
How's The Dough? "Nothing except entertainment compares to Wall
St. salaries. But New Yorkers want personal chefs, and you can
earn enough to live in Manhattan."
What About Perks? "I meet interesting New Yorkers who share my
love of food. Sometimes I travel with them to places like the Hamptons or Provence. And it's great to be my own boss."
What Else You Should Know: "When you're Mexican, hospitality and
cuisine are part of your heritage. I'm doing what I was born to