I lost my marketing job at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in early March. I’ve spent the year trying to figure out my next steps in the midst of a national crisis. I was searching for jobs one day, scrolling through hundreds of online advertisements, when I came across a “Private Chefs Wanted” post. It definitely piqued my curiosity. One thing led to another and here I am with two 5-star reviews under my belt, a newfound confidence and the faithful reminder that difficult times often lead to beautiful destinations.
Food Fire Knives is a private chef platform and network that allows anyone to book a personal chef to come to their home to cook and entertain. With my background in culinary entertainment, it was hard for me to see a downside. I joined the Savannah/Hilton Head area team in June and had the opportunity to design four five-course menus. This was the moment for my culinary school training to shine. I set about dreaming up my favorite dishes from a variety of influences, and developed these four concepts: 1) Southern Coastal Heaven, 2) Georgia on My Mind, 3) Rise and Shine Brunch and 4) Tour of Italy. Several of my menus feature top recipes from my book and blog, and I loved the process of creating flavors and designing plating techniques. When an individual wants to book a private chef, they simply visit the website, choose their date and time, and find an available chef. Then, they can study the menus to choose what they’d like to order from entrees, soups and salads, appetizers and dessert. Once the reservation is made, I get to work grocery shopping, prepping ingredients and packing equipment, then show up to their home to execute a Some Kinda Good meal.
With my menus complete and my profile live, it was time for the booking to begin. I must admit—I have cooked on national television for Bobby Flay and the late Anthony Bourdain and a host of other celebrities, but I was even more nervous about this endeavor. My husband Kurt, reassured me time and time again that my food was good enough, that I was made for this, that I had nothing to worry about, and even though I know he is my biggest fan, the pressure of cooking for paying customers took food preparation to the next level. In times past, facing my fears has served me well and it was time to step up to the plate. See what I did there?
I had hoped to ease into this new gig, with maybe a small party of two, you know, just to whet my appetite. Nope. My first reservation was a bachelorette party of eight. I would meet this challenge head on and come out the gate swinging. I made list after list and organized my mise en place, that is, a French culinary term meaning, “Everything in its place.” Pots and pans, baking sheets, and everything I’d need to deliver a delicious evening was packed into my car and off I went to slay all day. Two and half hours and three courses later, I had satisfied eight hungry Northerners, washed every dish and restored the vacation rental kitchen to better than I’d found it. It wouldn’t be long before reservation number two rolled in - a business dinner for a party of seven, five courses in a beautiful home on Dutch Island.
With each booking comes a different set of challenges, allowing me to refine my skills and learn from my experiences. While I’m not sure this is the path for me full-time, during the pandemic, it’s been both helpful and rewarding to rely on an additional skill set, outside of my marketing and public relations career. Never be afraid to try something new and trust the magic of beginnings. If you’d like to learn more about booking me for a private chef event, visit foodfireknives.com/chef-profile/rebekah/.
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in-season. Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.