Hospitality Firm Putting Culinary Talent Back to Work With Private Chef Program

Aliza Sokolow/Courtesy BMRS

With restaurants in flux, top chefs are changing the way they approach business.

Nearly every industry was affected by the spread of COVID-19. But the restaurant world, in particular, has taken on a lot of the burden with reduced seating capacity and severe staffing reductions. But one company is hoping to make a difference. Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions (BMRS)—a premier hospitality recruiting firm based in Los Angeles—is trying to put the restaurant industry back to work with the expansion of its Private Chef division.

Christie Meier-Livingston/Courtesy BMRS

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There was a time when private chefs provided multi-course meals for only the affluent leisure class—celebrities, athletes. Now, as we bounce between nationwide restaurant closures-openings-closures, the world of the private chef, its clientele, and the cuisine are changing. The BMRS team connects clients and chefs and facilitates a tasting at their Test Kitchen facility so that the client can sample the dishes of various private chef candidates. From there, they can arrange a part-time or full-time position.

Courtesy BMRS

Of course, the chefs available are some of the best in the world. 

“Our company has been the go-to for top chefs looking to staff their restaurants and kitchens—think Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Curtis Stone, and Suzanne Goin,” President and Founder Brad Metzger told Departures. “Because of the pandemic, many restaurants are in a precarious situation. They’ve had to cut staff and reduce their kitchen teams to a fraction of their normal operations because of indoor dining closures, which means we’re seeing a number of amazing chefs and cooks that are out of work, immediately available and actively looking for reliable opportunities.”

He added, “The silver lining in all of this is we’re representing incredibly talented chefs at all levels who have worked in some of the top kitchens in the country. They’d otherwise be unavailable, but now we are able to help more clients hire them directly to cook in their homes.”

Courtesy BMRS

The same applies to special events. With indoor dining restricted, the concept of booking out a private dining room is near impossible. Clients will call the company to find culinary stars to devise a completely customized menu for them at home. They often up the ante and refer a sommelier or mixologist to complement the meal with a strong beverage aspect. Or, BMRS will tap a pastry chef who goes over the top with dramatic bread or pastry elements. 

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“Chefs love to use this as a forum to showcase rarefied ingredients and elusive purveyors that only they have access to because of their relationships,” said Metzger. “It’s becoming more of a lifestyle than just hiring someone to recreate a restaurant in their home for the night. They’re really bringing a Michelin star into their home and helping keep great chef talent employed.”