Years ago, a successful local restaurant owner told me this about the chefs he hired for his kitchen: anyone who was any good or who was highly responsible would be doing their own thing in the Hamptons within a few years. It has taken me half of my career to see how true these words ring.
My best advice for finding a chef in the Hamptons this summer would be to scoop them up now for the whole season if you want to ensure that your dinner party dates will be covered. I used to have people calling me in June, wanting to book the Fourth of July. But that date would always go to my best client or my highest paying client. Also, I would never book more then two weeks in advance unless I knew the client very well and knew that I was going to be treated fairly.
When looking to hire a private chef in the Hamptons, you may want to consider these three types:
While many private chefs have been traveling to the Hamptons for years, others are here for their very first season, learning their way around. There is nothing wrong with giving a new chef a chance in your home. It’s a great way to start a relationship that could last a career. I still remain friends with the clients who gave me my first chance. If it wasn’t for what I learned from them, I could have never excelled.
Plus, the client-chef relationship works both ways. Often, clients would give me more work and I would work with them on my fees. Fair is fair. Eventually, in my situation, I gave in to my “best year-round client” and have worked with that client ever since.
Many newer private chefs in the Hamptons are interested in consistent work and, even better, year-round work. Why not take a chance and give a good new chef a shot?!
Many of the seasoned chefs are those who have been coming to the Hamptons for many years. You may see them on NeedAChef when they are looking to fill the gaps between their other client assignments. These chefs are seasoned pros and usually charge a premium for their services. Seasoned chefs often lead their own catering operations as well as create delectable dinner parties for individual clients.
Out of town chefs
Some chefs will travel to the Hamptons from as far away as Manhattan, New Jersey, or even Upstate New York, not to mention the “up island” chefs. You can usually tell where they’re from by their out-of-town area codes, and many stay with friends while here. They are great to have around to cover our busiest times. The best way to handle hiring a private chef from out of town would be to make sure that anyone coming into your home is vetted and to offer him or her or accommodations during the time of service.