What Covid-19 safety precautions did Chef Laura take in 2020?  From March 2020 when shelter in place began Chef Laura and her whole household followed the California mandated stay at home, mask, and social distancing orders strictly. Only leaving the house to buy groceries every two weeks at an neighborhood independent local grocer and walk her dogs in unpopulated open spaces.

Did Custom Creations take any jobs in 2020?  We did not take any jobs for the first six months of the pandemic, from March thru August. We did resume small outdoor gatherings in September with social distancing and mask wearing by the chef and guests, when not eating or drinking.

What are the current protocols at Custom Creation events?  Since March of 2021 we have resumed both outdoor and indoor dining as Chef Laura is fully vaccinated as are many of our clients and their guests. Chef Laura still wears a mask while working in clients homes as a professional courtesy while serving, clearing, and interacting with guest’s in their personal space. Guests are no longer required to wear masks at events unless they choose to.

What is the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?
A private chef generally works exclusively for one family or individual, where as a personal chef serves many clients, either on an as-needed basis or a predetermined schedule.

Why hire a personal chef when there are so many restaurants in the Bay Area?
Although restaurants are always available, there are many inconveniences to dining out as a group. It’s not always easy getting a reservation for a group of 8 or 12! Then there is the hassle travel and parking, and when you arrive you are limited to a short window of time at a dimly lit, noisy table with your guests. In the end it is unlikely you will leave feeling you had the great, relaxing visit with your friends and family that you had in mind. With a personal chef all of those inconveniences go away with the luxury of dining in your own home.

Can I afford a personal chef for my dinner party?
Personal chef services are actually more affordable than taking a group of guests out to a restaurant. The cost of a three course meal in most restaurants for food alone is at least seventy five dollars per person. Then you have to add wine, tax, automatic gratuity if your party is larger than 6, parking or valet – the list goes on and on. Our three course seasonal menus start at $75 and include all food, cooking, service and clean up!

Are there any additional costs?
The only additional costs would be if you require rentals of any kind. Charges apply if you request additional service staff for your event or if there is any additional travel costs for your event outside of our standard service area.

What is your service area?
We service most of the SF bay area with no additional travel costs. From San Jose/ Los Gatos in the South to Marin/ Sonoma/Napa in the North and the East Bay as far as Walnut Creek.

What about menus and special requests?
Our menus are seasonally changing and highlight the bounty of California produce. Italian and Mediterranean inspired menus are our staple. However, our chef enjoys cooking many themes and cuisines. Menus begin with our seasonal choices but our chef customizes each menu to suit the tastes of the guests, taking dietary requirements and any special instructions into consideration when designing the final menu.

What do I need to have at my home for my party?
Our chef brings all the food and most of the needed tools and equipment needed, including platters or trays for cocktail parties or family style service if that is the agreed upon style for the event. The host is responsible for having all tableware; plates, glassware and flatware – enough to serve the number of guests at the event. The chef can arrange for rentals at an additional cost. Also the host provides all beverages, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. The chef will make wine pairing suggestions for any menu upon request.

Do I need to make any preparations before the chef arrives?
We only ask that the kitchen is clean and the counters are as clear as possible. An empty dishwasher is also helpful. The host is welcome to set a beautiful table but the chef can also help with table setting at the host’s request.

How far in advance should I book?
As soon as you have a date or dates in mind you should contact us for scheduling. Most of our clients entertain on the weekends, causing our schedule to book up quickly. Once we determine our availability on your date you will receive a client/event info sheet to fill out which, once filled out and returned, constitutes a mutual booking commitment between chef and host for the designated date.

How does payment work?
Once the date is booked and a menu has been finalized, an invoice will be generated and emailed to the host. A 50% deposit is required 7 days prior to the event with the remaining amount due the day of the event. We take payments in the form of Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, or by check or cash.

What if something changes or I have to cancel?
We know that things come up and we try to be flexible. Menu adjustments and guest count changes that occur before the 7 days deposit window are no problem. We do our best to accommodate minor adjustments in the final week before an event up to three days prior. Changes after that may not be possible. Cancellation before the deposit is due is not penalized, however unfortunate. Cancellation after the deposit is paid forfeits the 50% deposit. Please see our Policies Page for more information.