It’s funny how each client tells me s/he is a picky eater and asks “Am I your worst client?” I neither confirm nor deny who is my “worst client.” In fact, none of them is my worst client. I like them all and understand their ingredient idiosyncracies. Fact is, we like what we like. Maybe it’s just human nature to be picky. In our society of abundance, there are so many choices out there that enable our distinguishing preferences.
Being a personal chef is a lot of fun. Challenges do arise, including remembering the fine details of each client’s preferences. It goes beyond remembering the common-enough food allergies to wheat, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and eggs. Nutrition is still a relatively new science, with its education still very lacking for the majority of the public. Individual food sensitivities are becoming more abundantly known, which means home cooks and chefs must now accommodate requests to avoid anything from ginger to sweet potatoes.
Each week after I prepare multiple meals for a household, I request feedback to add to my notes of what was a hit and what was sh–. (No, not literally). Fortunately there are far more likes than dislikes. I hear about favorite dishes, notes of too much/little spice, “I realized I don’t like okra”, and more. All of this gets filed away in the back burner of my mind so I can continually refine how I cook for each person. It’s interesting how people realize and articulate more of their food preferences as we go along, a learning process for us both.
We all come from different places when it comes to our experiences with food. Our expectations of how something should be prepared and how it should taste are all different. Oftentimes people are faulted for being “needy”, yet those same people are to be praised for knowing their needs. Thank you to you picky eaters out there for telling me your needs so that I can provide the best, most personalized service when it comes to your food. You are my BEST, not worst, clients!