Jill Donenfeld: Success In The Personal Chef Business

| September 28, 2009 | 0 Comments
Jill Donenfeld, Founder of The Dishs Dish

Jill Donenfeld, Founder of The Dish's Dish

For a growing number of families, the question, “What’s for dinner?” is best answered with a phone call to a personal chef. Personal chefs offer an affordable and great-tasting solution to families with little or no time to cook. Given the growing demand for personal chefs, more and more courses are offered online on how to start a personal chef business.

For Jill Donenfeld, founder of The Dish’s Dishes in New York City, becoming a personal chef sort of fell into her lap. As a university student at Barnard College, she worked as a babysitter and her chores expanded to cooking for that family. Soon after, she was cooking for four other families.

Jill decided to get serious with her cooking only after graduating from college. She then decided turn her personal chef sideline into a business. The Dish’s Dishes  was born.

Today, Jill does not cook for clients but instead manages a team of culinary trained chefs she dubbed as Culinistas™. For a fee of $300 per week plus groceries, her team of Culinistas™ will prepare about 6-8 meals in the clients’ homes, customized to the clients’ taste and dietary preferences. Customers can check out her web site and fill in the online checklist – from dietary information and food allergies to favorite ingredients to preferred types of cuisines.

Her team prepares five-star restaurant quality food, using ingredients from organic bakeries and other hand picked sources. If the client is craving for the croquet monsieur at La Coupole in Paris, Jill’s Culinistas™ can whip the dish for him or her. They then label and refrigerate the food that the client can then enjoy, and leave the client’s kitchen clean and spotless.


The success of Jill’s personal chef business stems from the quality of her Culinistas™, who are mostly culinary trained chefs. They also come from an impressive array of places — graduates of the Institute of Culinary Education, previous cooks in the famed Jean Georges Restaurant and Mario Batali’s Esca, and other Manhattan culinary hot spots.

Aside from managing The Dish’s Dish, Jill writes for other online publications. She writes a food-related column for Stylecaster.com as well as conducts music interviews for Salad Days Music . She has also written a cookbook of Madagascar , after visiting the country in 2005 and staying there for five months. She also dabbles in photography with Jill Donenfeld Photography  and doing music interviews.

For this twenty-something lady, Jill Donenfeld’s achievements are pretty impressive.

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