Andrew Heffernan

Andrew Heffernan

Private Chef


You can learn the theory, but you have to be able to put it into practice.

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
Since the age of 3, I was a very tactile person and loved getting my hands on food. The best Christmas present I ever received was a nonstick frying pan when I was 8.
At 17 years old, I worked at a bistro. I had this outlook that [working in a kitchen] was cool and trendy. I lasted nine months and didn’t enter another kitchen for 2 years.
I was in college to study business, dropped out, and then dropped out of culinary school with 6 and a half months left to finish.
To be 20 years old, unemployed, and low on cash was horrendous. Two weeks later, I got a job as a commis chef, doing everything from cutting wood to washing pots.
I knew nothing about food but was able to tell cooks how to cut meat. Cutting meat in our trade is something you build up to. It was sink or swim and I sank more than a swam for quite a long time.
After eight years of being in the kitchen, I wanted a change.
March 31, 2019 was my last day in a professional kitchen. I was trying to decide what I wanted to do but the opportunity was put right in front of me. Now, I am a full-time private chef.

Career

Private Chef

As a private chef, I handle all things that deal with food for a particular client.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Food
Entrepreneurship
Working Independently

Day to Day

The days vary. Most days you’ll hit the shop in the morning to get your fresh ingredients and then get to cooking for your employer. You clean the kitchen, you set the table, you wait on the guests dining. It could be in the middle of the day and you could be told, “We’re having eight people over for dinner and want three or four courses.” As a private chef, you may be consecutively working for three weeks straight. It all depends on the client.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

If you’re going to get into the chef trade, you need to be a sponge. You’re starting from scratch. The kitchen is a practical place. It’s hands-on. It’s different from the real world. You’re not a student, you’re a chef. Be open minded and willing to take constructive criticism. And be willing to work, work, work. You get what you give. And it happens fast.

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"You’re awful, you’re useless, you’re not good at your job, you shouldn’t be here, you have no right to be here."

Challenges I Overcame

Work-Life Balance

Interviewed By

Anonymous Student