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Let your customers stay home

By ROGER PIERCE, BIZLAUNCH.CA
Featured in the Toronto Sun

A great small business will save customer’s time, effort or money. Entrepreneur chef Jaime Miller offers all three benefits to his customers.

“By hiring us, a client doesn’t have to cook, will spend less than eating out in a fancy restaurant and gets to stay home because we come to them,” he says.

Miller offers personal chef services and in-home dining experiences through his company called Remember That Chef (www.rememberthatchef.ca)

“We offer two core services,” Miller says. “We can bring fine dining to your home as well as supply nutritious meals to busy people who don’t have time to cook.”

The timing for Miller’s company couldn’t be better, as an increasing number of busy Canadian urbanites embrace time-saving services that come to them. “For super busy people, my service offers an easy solution to boring old fast food and frozen dinners,” he says.

Remember That Chef separates itself from the competition by preparing all meals onsite at a client’s home, and by using only fresh ingredients. “That way a client can observe our cooking and retain full control over the quality of the food we prepare,” Miller says.

After working for 20 years in the food industry, Miller decided it was time to launch his own business four years ago. “Chefing is a very creative profession, and you can’t be too creative working for someone else,” he says.

Like any career choice, self-employment carries pros and cons.

“You just can’t beat the satisfaction gleaned from a customer job well done,” Miller says. “On the downside, you’ve got to be able to deal with unforeseen problems at the last minute — such as the time a client’s guest announced upon arrival that she was allergic to shellfish and I was serving lobster as the main course!”

Despite its challenges, Miller says he loves running his own business and aims to make Remember That Chef a nationally recognized brand.


This chef’s finally at home

By Katrina Simmons
The Hamilton Spectator
(Nov 23, 2006)

After more than 20 years in the food service industry, Jaime Miller has emerged from behind the scenes.

Two years ago, he created his in-home dining and personal chef service, Remember That Chef. Now he is learning the joy and challenge of doing things his own way.

He started cooking at home long before he attended culinary management studies at George Brown College. He progressed to working at notable places such as Liuna Gardens and Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York. Now he has happily put those behind him, and returned to the comfort and pace of home kitchens.

“Instead of eight to 10 hours in someone else’s hot kitchen,” he says, “I get to be in charge, be able to create what I like.” His clients might hire him to prepare meals for the freezer, so they can eat healthy meals at home even when they are pressed for time.

He does home parties and barbecues, too, and is often the entertainment as guests gather around the kitchen to watch him work. The personal contact with his clients, being able to customize food to their taste, and see the meal through from shopping to serving: that’s the appeal, he says.

It’s a different approach to professional food service and a learning curve for this chef who, until now, rarely interacted with customers.

The business end of the food industry — advertising, promotion, balancing the books, hiring staff for events, even setting up and managing his website — are part of the challenge of finding his own path.

Miller has waded into new waters, and come up with some creative marketing plans. He is working on an idea for real estate agents who like to give home buyers a housewarming gift. “If the agent sells a home, they present the buyer with a gift certificate for a three-course dinner for two.” Instead of heading out to a restaurant to celebrate their new digs, they need only Remember That Chef.

To find out more about Remember That Chef, visit Jaime Miller’s website:

www.rememberthatchef.ca or phone 905-560-6924.

ksimmons@thespec.com

Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 4 servings

  • 3 lb (1.4 kg) butternut squash
  • 1/4 lb (115 g) butter, divided
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Water
  • 2 leeks, cut into thin strips (white part only)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornmeal
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) allspice
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) orange zest
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
  • 8 cups (2 L) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cut squash in half and discard seeds. Place on baking sheet flesh side up. Set aside 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter. Cut the rest into small pieces and scatter over squash. Season squash with salt and pepper and bake for 45 minutes or until soft. When cool, remove the skin. Cut flesh into small pieces and set aside.

    Drizzle water over the leeks. Coat lightly with cornmeal. Saute in 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

    In a large pot, saute carrots, celery, onions, shallots, allspice and orange zest in olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the squash and simmer for another 10 minutes.

    Remove from heat and strain into a large pot. Reserve the stock. Puree the squash-vegetable mix in a blender, then add back to the stock.

    Heat on stove and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into heated bowls. Top with sauteed leeks and chopped parsley. Enjoy with crusty rolls.

    Approximate nutrition per serving: 680 calories, 40 g fat, 18 g protein, 70 g carbohydrates, 12 g fibre

    www.rememberthatchef.ca