A stylish dinner in your very own home, preferably with a few, select guests – what could be finer? If only being the perfect host didn’t involve quite so much work. There’s the frantic rush from one supermarket to the next as you try to track down enough fresh coriander. And decorating the table and struggling to remember the best napkin folding technique. And what’s that? Grease stains on the glasses! How about the good cutlery? Where is it again?
And that’s before you’ve even started to prepare the meal. Peeling, slicing and dicing the vegetables takes ages. And frying the meat leaves grease stains on your new white shirt. How long does the fillet need in the oven? Suddenly the doorbell rings and the guests have arrived. Can anyone still slip into the role of relaxed host between the mountains of crockery and steaming pots?
The perfect solution already existed back in the days of kings and dukes: A private chef. These masters of the culinary arts work in your very own kitchen at home, bring all of the ingredients they need to whip up their taste sensations and, if you need them to, will even turn up at your door with a full selection of pots and pans. They cook, serve, decorate the table, if desired, and leave the kitchen spick and span at the end of a delightful evening, allowing you to relax and converse with your guests and enjoy the meal.
Michal Orantek has been working as a private chef in Berlin for five years now. He is equally comfortable working in large and small kitchens, whether luxurious or more basic, with gas or induction stoves. He has extensive experience from the years he spent as a chef in various high-end restaurants. One of the things he loves most about working as a private chef is being able to express himself by combing his style with yours. His concept: he tailors his menu to his clients’ culinary desires. Whether vegan, paleo or a memory of the last holiday in Italy or a special family reunion – he can fulfill almost every wish. After all, a good meal can inspire a full range of emotions. Of course, Orantek can also offer suggestions, or even plan a complete surprise menu.
From a business dinner to a wedding, baptism, candlelight dinner or birthday surprise – the occasions catered by a private chef are as varied as his guests. His job is above all a matter of trust: “I like to get to know my guests before the actual dinner. After all, they want to know who is coming to their home,” says Orantek. The kitchen equipment is less of an issue for him. He gets along almost everywhere and actually only needs a stove, an oven and a refrigerator with a freezer compartment. “If something is missing, I improvise or I have the right equipment with me just in case.” As the old German saying goes: “There’s no helping a chef who can’t help himself,” laughs Orantek. But there is one thing that is important to him: his knives. Which is why he always brings his own knives with him wherever he works.
Orantek’s work involves much more than just the cooking. He designs the menu, selects the products, thinks about how to prepare the food, goes shopping and organizes dishes and table decorations if necessary. This easily involves up to three days of preparation time. After cooking and serving, he then takes care of tidying up.
The special challenge: It has to happen quickly, because no guest likes to wait. “At larger events, things can be quite chaotic. But I tidy up after every step, so that the guests can look over my shoulder at any time.”
Being well organized is the key to being a successful private chef. Nevertheless, things can always go wrong. “Just recently, while I was working in the kitchen of one of my clients, their stove broke down and we had to come up with something quickly in order to avoid the birthday dinner turning into a complete washout. Fortunately, their neighbor let us use his stove. Where would we be without our good neighbors?” Thankfully, Orantek is able to laugh about his bizarre experience. The best thing about his job, he says, is the variety: He is constantly getting to know new people and is able to experiment with new culinary trends.
Of course, most people only treat themselves to a private chef on very special occasions. In everyday life, we all spend time in our kitchens cooking for ourselves. Orantek’s tip when you are looking for something quick and easy? “You should always have flour, eggs, milk and some seasonal fruit and vegetables at home. You can use them to prepare all of your meals: How about pancakes for breakfast, noodles for lunch and homemade bread for dinner?” His advice: Be brave when combining ingredients.
And of course, even Orantek needs to eat quickly sometimes. When time is of the essence, he’s also partial to pancakes or a take-out pizza.
So, what’s his favorite dish? “Truffle pasta is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a fast and delicious dish that I also like to offer my clients.” It can be served as a main course or as an entrée. Truffles are such a versatile product: They also make a wonderful starter in the form of a Parmesan panna cotta with truffles, or in homemade tortellini.
Would you like to book a private chef? Then take a look at Michal Orantek’s website.