Personal Chef Handles Meals Plans

October 1, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Inspired by watching and helping his mother and grandmother prepare authentic Italian meals, Chef Peter Ambrosi has found a way to turn his passion for food into a business.

As head chef and owner of Peter Ambrosi Personal Chef Service, Ambrosi also added a dash of Internet to come up with his recipe for success.

“I went on the Internet and found the USPCA (United States Personal Chef Association) and decided to build from that,” said Ambrosi.

What he found was a guideline and numerous recipes to incorporate into his business. Upon becoming a member of the association, he also joined Business Networking International (BNI), which is a group of business people who are dedicated to helping one another succeed.

“If I need a press release written, there is someone there that knows how to do that,” said Ambrosi. “In turn, we get the word out on our customers and everyone helps each other out by using their skills and spreading the word.”

And the word has begun to spread. Ambrosi, who has been in business for just under two months, already has stirred up a few clients.

He also is no stranger to the culinary world. Upon graduation from Grand Rapids Community College’s Hospitality Program, Ambrosi then worked under three master chefs, including two years at the 1913 Room.

But being a personal chef is different from creating in a restaurant setting.

With a personal chef service, clients receive everything from shopping and preparation to storage and re-heating instructions.

Ambrosi begins with a consultation with customers, including a questionnaire to find out food preferences, allergies or food dislikes. He then takes the compiled information and creates a 10-meal menu.

After the client has approved the menu, Ambrosi sets up a day to come to the client’s house and cook the food.

“When I come in to a customer’s house, to save time and money I bring in all of my own utensils and herbs, wines and oils,” said Ambrosi. “Then I go shopping for the other ingredients for each meal.”

He then creates two each of five different meals, thereby giving the client 10 meals that are well-rounded, created by a chef and ready for the freezer.

The first meal is always fresh, Ambrosi noted, adding that fish is a favorite. Then the other meals are either frozen or refrigerated, in Ambrosi’s containers, and labeled with re-heating instructions. He said each recipe is guaranteed to be freezable and that by closely following the directions the meal will taste as if it was just prepared in the home.

“For career-oriented professionals, to which time is of the essence, this is a perfect service,” Ambrosi said. “I go do your shopping, go in for one day and prepare 10 meals, clean up, package everything with directions and then you come home to a clean kitchen, smelling as if someone has been cooking all day and simply heat the meal according to the directions and you are all ready to eat.”

Ambrosi said that 40 percent of his customers are one-time customers, but 60 percent are bi-weekly customers who see the service as paying for itself.

For a $100 gift plan, the customer would receive two meals for two adults; the $225 trial plan consists of six meals for two adults; the $325 economy plan is comprised of 10 meals for two adults; and the $425 family plan gives the customer 10 meals for two adults, plus 10 kid-friendly meals for two kids, 12 years and younger.

He is currently looking into partnering with real estate agents or welcoming services to give as gifts to new residents. Ambrosi also offers gift certificates and small catering opportunities for existing customers. He is currently targeting Cascade, Ada and East Grand Rapids areas, while looking into other areas as well.

“This is a great service and I want to take it to additional levels so it can be accessible to people in various ways,” said Ambrosi. “Some people work for years to be able to afford to have someone cook for them. I am trying to make it possible for everyone.”           

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