Jorge Baumhauer da Silva is a private chef that SILKS placed with a UHNW family in 2020. We caught up with Jorge to discuss his background and inspiration throughout his career.
When did you realise that you wanted to be a chef?
The realisation of wanting to be part of the hospitality industry came when I was a teenager. I loved to help my sisters place the table and decorate the dishes after attending church on a Sunday. It was also during this time that I realised I needed to understand cooking as the menus were very repetitive and at times boring.
Did you have formal training?
I did indeed, I attended catering school back in the 80’s in my home country, Brazil, and in the 2000’s when I moved the UK. It was a way to have a European certification, but to also learn new trends.
How did your professional career as a chef begin?
I spent three years in the army back home, and during my second year I was sent to the kitchen to help the chefs with basic tasks around a very busy kitchen. I guess I wasn’t very good in the infantry, but little they did I know that my passion for food had just begun.
Once I left the army, I went to catering college to get a qualification whilst working as a commis chef in the only five-star hotel in town. From there I continued to learn my craft.
What’s the difference between a private chef and a restaurant chef?
That’s a very interesting question! I have been working for years as a restaurant chef, as part of a team, head chef, offering restaurant consultant, and now as a private chef for a young and dynamic family, so I can also share some insights.
At a restaurant, a chef will normally execute someone’s menu (the menus are usually created by the sous chefs or head chefs) with little or none impute, it is a routine of food production for the amount of people booked for each service or for the hours that the restaurant remains open.
So, once the “mis-en-place” for the menu is ready the work is repetitive and the only variants to the food will be in order to accommodate client’s dietaries needs.
A private chef on the other hand cooks for the same “clients” three times a day, the chef needs to cover any corner of the “kitchen” from pastry, baking, bread and pasta making etc. The menus have to cover an array of cuisines, ranging from simple soups to a four course fine dinner, canape parties or tea party with all the trimmings.
A private chef has to be flexible and adaptable with drastically last minutes “changes of plans”, being able to take decision and prioritise tasks. This can often mean shift patterns of fourteen hours or more.
How would you describe your culinary style?
That is a difficult question to put a label on! At present I can only say that my style is that I am “tune” with the now, real food, with a good hint of traditional base but with an eye wide open to the new! I offer a cuisine without boarders or nationality.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Cooking for members of the English Royal family. It has also been a highlight to visit and live in many countries I whist working within the profession I love.
What is your favourite dish to cook? And to eat?
As a chef, I can never possibly narrow my favourite to one dish! I have several favourites ranging from many cuisines, but it all depended on who you are with and the setting!
Do you eat out often, and what are your favourite restaurants that you would recommend?
I love eating as much as I love cooking, so the answers is YES. Here are some of my favourites to name a few:
London: Palomar, Chotto Matte, St Clair, The Ledbury, Cornerstone, Dozo
South Africa: Chefs warehouse Beau Constantia, Babel Restaurant
Is the trend to engage a private chef rising because of Covid-19?
Mostly definitely it did, since lots of chef lost their jobs as restaurants have to close their doors.
Who is your favourite chef? And which countries influence your style of cooking the most?
I have few favourite chefs that I admire their work and the food they create, among many are:
My father, for been the most admirable amateur cook I ever knew, for his fantastic curiosity to try new dishes, respect for natural grown produces.
Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Julia Child, Jeremy Lee, Asma Khan, Yotam Ottolengui, Gary Rhodes, Rick Stein, Thomasina Miers and Raymond Blanc.
As for which countries influence my cooking, I would say would the whole world is an influence to me…I am a private chef, I have to be able to be cook any cuisine!
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