Serving up a Personal Perspective with GotChefMaui.com
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After eating a gourmet, restaurant-quality meal, you don’t typically get to kick the chef out of the kitchen when you’re done eating. But private chef Allain de Leon says he loves when his workday ends that way, versus punching a time card.
“You know, ‘Chef, get out, you’re off the clock, go drink a beer,’” he laughs. “How many restaurants can you do that in?”
De Leon worked as chef in a range of restaurants and resorts on the mainland and Maui before establishing GotChefMaui.com in 2005. He says he wanted something different, and was inspired to start his own personal chef business.
“The first two or three years, I relied heavily on friends and families and people I knew from my past,” de Leon explains, “but once I got my name out there, it progressed and every year from then, it kept going and up.”
About 10 years in, de Leon says his private chef business keeps him busy full-time, and 95% of his clients come through word-of-mouth.
“I think it starts off getting to know the clients first, getting to know their palate and what they like, where they’re from, and it goes from there. Then I kind of design the menu for them,” he says.
While he’s passionate about local seafood, beef and produce, de Leon tells me his personal favorite is ratatouille, or vegetable stew, which he’s made for some of his clients.
“You want to have texture, crunchiness, you want smoothness, then you want the deep flavor of the stock, so it can take about a day to make,” he explains.
GotChefMaui.com is also known for its hand-churned ice cream, which uses condensed milk in its base. It can also be lit up with a torch upon request.
“Torching is really just to caramelize the sugar, to give it that marshmallowy taste,” de Leon says. “We do different flavors, from your basic vanilla ice cream all the way to a carrot cake ice cream, which is real carrot cake; Red Velvet cake where we make the cakes, then we make the ice cream with it.
De Leon says his clients appreciate the privacy aspect in their homes or rentals, the opportunity to relax and the option to dress up or keep it casual. Meanwhile, he appreciates building genuine relationships with his diners and meeting their needs, no matter what the menu calls for.
“You get more, absolutely more one-on-one. You get to know the real person,” he explains. “Whatever the situation is, it can be casual, it could be for a party, it could be a wedding, so everything is dictated based on what they like.”