This week is a follow-up episode with Chef Derrick Fox. You might have heard my full episode with him last week. Derrick went from being a punk rock drummer to cooking on MasterChef season six where he was the runner-up, followed by a season of all-stars. He currently works as a private chef, and is also the man behind the Epic Mega Cookie Co, and host of the podcast A Bunch of Losers.
In this short episode, we jump right into the topic of getting paid for chef referrals. Should you ask for money when providing a referral? How much should you charge? When is it better to just do it for free? These are just some of the aspects we discuss.
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Let's say you work as a private or personal chef, someone contacts you because they're looking for a chef. For whatever reason, you're not the right fit, but you want to help them. Maybe the person who contacted you is with a wealth management firm as a personal assistant, or even a celebrity themself. Is this something you should charge for? Or do you do it just because you're a nice guy with time to kill? This is something I've encountered and I've had trouble with, and today we're going to talk about it. Hi, I'm Chris spear. And this is Chefs Without Restaurants, the show where I speak with culinary entrepreneurs and people working in the food and beverage industry outside of a traditional restaurant setting. This week, I'm back with a short follow up episode with Chef Derek Fox. You might have heard my full episode with him last week, Jared Cohen for being a punk rock drummer to cooking on MasterChef season six where he was the runner up, followed by a season of all stars. There currently works as a private chef, but he's also the man behind the epic mega cookie, CO and host of the podcast a bunch of losers. During my conversation with Derek, we got into the topic of Chef referrals. It's something I've talked to a lot of other chefs about, and I want to see what Derek thought about it. A number of times I've been contacted, usually by an agency or personal assistant to help find a private chef. Often it's for a celebrity athlete or wealthy family. But because I haven't set this up as a proper business, I'm usually caught off guard. Am I supposed to just send them a list of names? Do they want me to vet an individual and set up a cooking trial? And the bigger question is, how much should I charge for this? And how do you charge we talked about in the episode, but one time a well known football player reached out to me directly to help find a chef. And while he wanted me to do a lot of work to find this person, he didn't want to pay me anything for the service. Nice coming from the guy who just signed a multi year contract for 10s of millions of dollars. This episode isn't going to provide a definitive conclusion. But I think it's a good start. So I'm putting it out there because I'd love your feedback. If you've ever been approached to help find a chef or someone How did it go? What went well? And what didn't? What do you wish you'd done differently? If you feel comfortable talking about the finances of it, I'd love to hear that to feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram at Chefs Without Restaurants. Or you can email me at chefs without firstname.lastname@example.org. And this week, I have one ask have you share an episode? It doesn't have to be this one. Do you have a favorite episode, post it up on your Instagram, your Facebook, your LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever, wherever you think people would get the most value. Let me know that you're listening and that you love the show. As always, I hope you're having an amazing week. And feel free to hit me up on the socials. Thanks so much and enjoy the show. Since we've been talking about like staffing and gig share kind of things. Do you have any advice for people? Like how you monetize that? Let's say because I've had, you know, wealth managers contact me and say, we're looking for a chef for this family. Can you help us out? But if you've never done that before, how do you I mean, are you doing this, like out of the good graces? Are you charging for this? What is the charging because people ask me all the time, and I've had trouble with that, where it's like, oh, yeah, I know, someone let me connect you with a chef. But then you're like, damn it. Like that was a lot of work for me to just connect them. And I didn't get any money from it like, right? Do you have any guidance on this? Because I'm talking to people about this all the time I get this question. And it sounds like you might even have more experience in this area.Derrick Fox:
Yeah, so sometimes I do it just to be kind and I like depending on like the chef or, or the client, I'll just say, you know, get me back later. That's on like the friend the homie hook up. And then there's other times where like, I got contacted by a basketball players agent. They're like, they're gonna be in LA for a month. This is what they want. And then I put that in writing. I'm like, Okay, this is what they want. I was like, This is what you're getting a shot for. I basically, I go to the chef, and I say, How much do you want to do this gig? Like, what's your day rate? Or what's your weekly rate, whatever, they give me that fee, I add 10%. On top of it, I go back to the client, I say to the client, I say, this is what it is. And then I go back to the chef and I go, do not discuss money with the client. I'm the liaison. You're getting what you asked for I'm taking 10% Off the top added. So he doesn't lose, he doesn't get any less money than he wanted. And they don't. They're paying 10% more. Like it sounds kind of shady, but they're paying the 10% more thinking that that's what the chef costs, but it's me buffering in my fee, and everyone's happy, right?Chris Spear:
How are you getting paid that is that like per week, or upfront? Are you kind of saying like, annualized, you make 100 grand a year so I'm gonna need 10 grand like now,Derrick Fox:
this was a gig that was a one month gig. Sure. I knew there was a I knew there was a start date and an end date. And so I sent the invoices, I paid the chef kind of deal. So I ran out all through my business. So, you know, that's how that looks. And I have another friend that does this chef Johnny, he's placed full time that it's all about just a contract of like, this is what it's going to cost. And then he gets paid, he skims his portion for the deal. And then he pays the chef is really the only way to do it. Because you've done the networking, you've cooked all the dinners that have led up to working for that client, or getting that call from that client, like, You do deserve to get to skim that 10%. But I put it in honestly, 10% whatever chef feels comfortable, if it's 5% or I think more is, is too much. I look at it like a manager fee and, and the business. Well, it'sChris Spear:
work. I mean, I had a pro football player reach out to me directly one time who wanted me to find him a chef, you know, he had just gotten traded and was looking for someone in a new area. And he was personally just like blowing up my cell phone with like texts and calls all the time. And then I said, okay, like I've, you know, put some feelers out, I've got some ideas. But you know, this is a lot of work that I'm at this point doing for free and to go forward, like, this is going to be what the fee is. And he said something like, Well, I don't feel comfortable doing that, I think we should take whatever that fee is and donate it to a charity, which sounds all well and good. But like I just saw how much you signed for and you got like $40 million, and I'm making like $60,000 a year like, you know, to me, it just was like, No, that's if you're gonna have me put in all this work. I can't just take that and like just throw it to some random charity, like my work is not a charity. Right?Derrick Fox:
Yeah, that's, that's wild. You know, I think I think one thing that shifts in our business after remember is to approach every client and every situation, like the roulette table as an individual situation. Because there's sometimes I have clients that I know that they don't want a price breakdown, they want one number, they want to know, it's all in on that number. And then I manage everything from that number. You know, like, I gotta get all the food costs, I gotta get all my employees, I gotta get all the rentals, it's all gotta be in that number. So I put all that together before I ever give them the number. And then there's other clients, where I'm super transparent. I'm like, this is the rental fee. I always put under it's subject to change based on availability. And then I'm like, this is the fee for each chef isn't what I'm taking, this is what, you know, the server's getting blah, blah, blah. And then they and they love that because then they're like, Oh, can we add this? And then, you know, I think it's just the same with when you're booking a chef, it's like, the chef is my good friend, he's always been there, I'm not going to skim. I know, he needs the money. I'll just make the connection. And it's like, it's up to you. And I say, Hey, I'm gonna give you the number. You gotta make it happen. And so I think, yeah, every every situation is, you have to approach it as its own.Chris Spear:
And I've always said, you know, like, that can open doors, like, for sure there's been times where it's like, yeah, if it if it's not gonna be a lot of work, if I know that you're looking for a chef in a city, and I have a good friend there. And I can do that cool. It's when I'm spending hours days, you know, just like digging having to reach out like, if I'm spending 30 hours trying to do this for you. I probably can't do that like for free, right?Derrick Fox:
Yeah, sometimes, like the menu planning, that's a big one. And sometimes they want a menu before they decide to lock in, it's like, well, then you need to pay for me to spend the time to do that menu, right. So I've charged for that to like, before they even locked me in to do an event. I'm like, I'm sending you a bill or basically like a lawyer like their retainer. So on the new a retainer, this is for me to, you know, spend the time working on this menu, calling rental companies making sure they'll have all the stuff you want. And then you have to pay me that before we do we talk anymore, and then they do and then we make it all happen if they don't want to move forward. Leave my time wasn't wasted.Chris Spear:
Is that a regular practice for you? Because that's not something I do. But I have guests on this show who say they've like never planned a menu without having menu without having money in their pocket.Derrick Fox:
Yeah, that that was a new thing that no one ever shared with me one day, I was just like, I spent all this time and, and then they canceled the party. And I was like, I just put in like 20 hours of work for nothing. And I'm like, I can't do that.Chris Spear:
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