Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a Personal Chef? Well, EXEControl Global Solutions sat down with Jennifer Sternfeld, Wife of Jonathan Sternfeld, Senior Applications Developer at EXEControl Global Solutions, to find out!

In Jennifer’s own words, she told us what it means to be a Personal Chef. “Personal Chefs cook for multiple clients.  Some cook in their client’s homes, others cook in a commercial kitchen.  Some do parties, teach classes or cook for businesses, or other groups.” Personal Chefs aren’t just for the rich and famous, explained Jennifer. “Some are just getting by, and others want healthy food, but don’t know how to cook.  Some people love cooking, but simply do not have the time or the ability to do so”. As the Chef/Owner of Dinner Vacations, Jennifer expressed her pure love for what she does.  She explained that, “there are so many different needs and ways to do this job.  It is never boring.  Each new client/kitchen is like having a new office!”

Being a Personal Chef wasn’t always on Jennifer’s radar.  In fact, she had never even cooked prior to turning the age of 18! She read about the career from an in-flight magazine she picked up during a trip.  As she read about the career, she reflected on the compliments she had received over the years, as she heated her leftovers in the break room at her job.  Many colleagues were so amazed by the smell, they asked for her to make them some as well! Starting a business seemed like something that might be interesting, however she still was a bit hesitant. Shortly after that trip, she experienced the unfortunate passing of her father and later, her uncle.  Along with the sadness, came an unexpected opportunity.  With the inheritance of both estates, it allowed her to revisit her once “what if…” and turn it into a reality.  Jennifer started on her new journey, studying in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with some of the very same people she once read about in the magazine, many years prior!

Fast forward 20 years, Jennifer shared that with the unexpected COVID pandemic, her like many others this year, has impacted her business in some unexpected ways. Her clientele has changed slightly.  Jennifer noted, “I have been primarily working for seniors, and those that are immunocompromised.  They are happy to be able to avoid the grocery store.” She has also been able to be a part of a few significant milestone events for her clients. At the beginning of one noteworthy week, Jennifer prepared and served a 50th anniversary dinner for a couple that didn’t feel comfortable celebrating at a restaurant and ended her week with a special engagement proposal meal.

As one would imagine, being a Personal Chef, would require one to be able to prepare a vast variety of cuisines.  We asked, “Do you have one specific dish that you consider to be your “specialty?”, Jennifer’s response “Not really, I like variety. I do specialize in ethnic cuisine through, so my go-to dishes are from other cultures.” With that, she then went on to explain that, while she would hate to be constrained to one cuisine, if she could only prepare one type for the rest of her career, she would choose Tapas.  “There are so many types from each region of Spain. Some feature meat or seafood, some are vegetarian. They are very seasonal and easy to customize to different tastes. Many are simple to prepare, but some are showstoppers. Although, all of them do require top notch ingredients.”

We at EXEControl Global Solutions wish Jennifer many more years of making clients happy through her cooking and while we hope she never stops, she left us with this last piece of insight; If she was no longer a Personal Chef; she would “go back to libraries – It has the same sense of variety, as each patron has a new question”.

Thank you Jennifer, and Congratulations on your 20th year as chef/owner of Dinner Vacations!

Jennifer Sternfeld Chef cooking