Do you have a love for culinary and creative ideas on making delicious dishes? Have you watched Hell's kitchen and always been thinking that you can cook better than the participants? Why not turn your passion into income by becoming a home chef?
Home chefs prepare meals for busy families, small parties, bento breakfast set for kids going to school, desserts and supper to fill the stomachs of night shifter who just got back from work or just starting day.
Being a home chef in your neighborhood can be very lucrative and rewarding.
Love what you do and you will never have to work another day in your life.
Let’s jump right into the easy steps and considerations in selling your food as a home chef in Singapore.
1. Basic Food Hygiene Certification
Food hygiene and customer’s safety is the number one priority. For all home chefs in Singapore, you will need to follow (Singapore Food Authority) SFA guidelines and recommendations for preparing and selling food in HDB.
It is important for a Home chef to possess basic food hygiene knowledge before handling food. Thus, SFA encourages you to take up the one-day Basic Food Hygiene Course provided by various institutions.
Below is the course fees after funding. You can also utilize your Skillsfuture credit to pay for the balance after the subsidy.
The subsidized price is highly affordable. Fortunately for me, I have skills future credits and did not have to pay anything for this course.
For those who are unsure if being a home chef is the career path you want to take and would like to explore the options of being a part-time home chef first before going for the 1-day course, you may want to consider joining Hommyliciouz.
Hommyliciouz has combined the gist of this training into a 1 hour Online Basic Food Hygiene training you can take for free.
The good news is you can start by attaining this 1-hour certification and begin selling food.
As your customers grow and you start to rise up the tiers from Hobbyist to Part-time Home Chef and to Full-time home chef, taking the 1-day basic food hygiene training is mandatory.
2. Decide what food you want to sell.
As I talked to home chefs, they came out with so many creative ideas on what food to share with their neighbours. As a parent, I struggle to prepare a healthy and nice breakfast for my kids.
Human has the tendency to go into comfort zone repeatedly going through routines and preparing breakfast for kids is no exception.
My kid had cereals and milk for 2 years daily and only until he complained I switched to frying frozen prata now at weekends and while I am typing this, I realized I have been doing that for more than a year now already.
In the Hommyliciouz Food sharing platform, there are 3 categories of food:
Tingkat is a set meal usually sold on a subscription basis for 1 week or a month. Hommyliciouz allows flexibility for the home chef to decide when the food is available.
A-la-carte is a single dish or food items like fish and chips, pizza, Singapore fried noodles and etc.
Bakerz is for baked food like cakes, cookies, macaroons and many more
There are few considerations when deciding what to cook and sell.
Sell Food that has a high or sufficient Margin.
While you may be doing this for a hobby and passion, you should also be creating an income from your passion.
You should be making a minimum 25% profit margin to be sustainable. Buy ingredients in bulk to reduce cost. Stock up ingredients that you need for your dish that has long expiry dates during sales like can food or sauces.
In order to command a higher price, you can also sell premium dishes by including more luxurious ingredients like seafood, abalone, scallops or lobster. Some examples are Scallop pasta and lobster nasi lemak.
I’ll be writing on how to price your food and calculate the cost in my subsequent blog, Follow us on facebook and blog here.
Ride on with the fad.
Create food following the current fad.
For example, there was tremendous interest in pearl bubbles previously and our traditional bean curd has evolved to having pearl bubbles as a topping.
Likewise with our salted egg yolk craze a few years ago. I see a lot of food offered with salted egg yolk. There were salted egg yolk sauce on crab, pork ribs, fish and chips and even for dessert cakes.
3. Take a Photo of the food you want to sell.
Customer's buy decision is heavily influenced by the picture that you put up. Therefore the quality of the photo, resolution, clarity and whether it is appetizing helps in selling your food.
Having been a professional photographer myself taking weddings and newborns for more than 10 years, DSLR or mirrorless cameras with large sensors definitely has the advantage over phone cameras.
However, phone cameras have been evolving at a tremendously rapid pace, the photo quality you obtained from a phone camera today has surpass a lot of older DSLR cameras. With good lighting, photos from phone cameras can shine.
As a home chef, there is a lot of cooking, orders and washing to handle therefore to save time, I recommend using your phone camera to take photos of your food.
Following are some basic tips to get the best photos from a phone camera.
Use large window lights instead of indoor lights. An undiffused Fluorescent light is by far the worst lighting to use.
They are harsh and have a slight green cast. Large window panes provide soft and natural light.
Add colours to your food. Not only does bright colours like red, yellow and green looks good to the eyes, they are also highly appetizing.
If the food you cook does not have much colour, consider adding more garnish like parsley or tomato to brighten up the dish. Consider adding puree with matching colours to your dish.
Here are the 3 tips to compose your picture to make your food look appetizing :
Choose a clean uncluttered background. White, brick walls or wooden tables are some good choices.
Use Rule of Third ie positions your food 1/3 or 2/3 in the frame. Do not always place your subject smack right in the middle.
Show high resolution and zoom in on your food up close. Blur away cluttered background if necessary.
I tend to be attracted to food that is visually appealing. My purchasing decision is made based on the photos.
As such, it is important to create the "love at first sight" concept to attract more customer to purchase your food.
I will be writing more in-depth about food photography tips for beginners. In the next article, I will also be providing more useful tips in taking photos of food and making your food looks good. Follow us on facebook and blog here to get updated.
Thank you for reading these easy steps to be a home chef.
In summary, I have shared how you can sign up for Basic Food Hygiene Training and how you can churn out ideas on what to cook and how to make your food photos look better.
While these basic tips should be sufficient for you to start. I will be covering 4 more steps in subsequent blogs as follow.
1. Set a Price for the food you intend to sell.
2. Delivery methods and considerations.
3. Preparation time and quantity.
4. Selection of cooking time/day.
Stay tuned by subscribing to our blog and facebook page. Have a great week ahead and happy planning to be a home chef.