Certified Personal Chef and Owner Monica Thomas is a graduate of the Culinary Business Academy, a premier member of the United States Personal Chef Association, and was inducted into the esteemed Les Dames d’Escoffier, a membership-by-invitation philanthropic all-professional association in 2017.
Monica has taught public cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma and private classes in clients’ homes. She has been a chef instructor at the Art Institute of Washington and Stratford University teaching culinary students the fine art of becoming a personal chef and the practicalities of catering management. Meet Chef Monica below.
How did you meet Tori [Founder of The Still Point]
I met Tori 15 years ago right before she opened her first location. Tori had been a personal chef to pay for her acupuncture training and we connected that way.
Tell me about the work you’re doing.
My business has been a traditional in-home personal chef service … the last year has been horrible with COVID-19—for everyone—and I shifted a bit and started coaching new personal chefs who want to get their business off the ground.
It [personal chef coaching] was something I was doing very part-time and with the time handed to me last April and May, I went all in and now I divide my time as part-time personal chef and part-time personal chef coach.
If someone wanted to utilize your coaching services, what should they know?
I have a few offerings … if someone has been a restaurant chef for years and they want to transition to a personal chef or a private chef and only need say 3 hours of one-on-one coaching, they can do that. I also offer a mastermind program for newer chefs which is 1 hour a month one-on-one and 2 additional hours a month in a group setting where they hear from me and other contemporaries, they also have a private Facebook group where they can share personal victories, and they have access to me throughout the month via text for ‘emergency’ help. That offering tends to be the most popular. It’s $199 a month with a 6-month commitment, since 6 months is usually a good amount of time to get their business foundation in place.
I also created training videos and I have those on my coaching website, as well as a bundle of documents including food questionnaires, contracts, that sort of thing. And, finally, do you have any advice for emerging women entrepreneurs?
It’s frightening to step out but if there is something in you saying to bring people together, start a business, feed a soul with wellness, you have to do that, and find that network around you to prop you up. There are so many entrepreneurs who feel alone and that’s why I started the Mastermind course, because personal chefs work in isolation and don’t have that natural community. This gives them a group of like-minded people who speak the same language and understand what you’re going through, I think that’s the biggest value—remembering that you’re not alone and you have a safe space to come cry and come cheer and come learn. Make sure to find your network.