The world of food service is constantly evolving. With recent announcements from major restaurant chains of restructuring and reorganization, it seems as though people are looking for a more individualized dining experience. What’s more personal, you might ask, than having a professional chef come to your home and prepare a meal for you and your family?
Enter Chef Steve Jones, owner, founder, and chef at A Perfect Package.
Recently, he sat down with Palm Beach Happening to talk a bit about his culinary philosophy, his insight on cooking, and what exactly his service entails.
How did you get started in the food industry? I began my career in central Michigan at an early age of 16 years, knowing that being a successful chef was a lifetime aspiration. I graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in 1984 and went on to work for and study under European Chefs from French, Swiss and German descents. Working for a major hotel chain as Executive Chef at the age of 26, I went on as Chef for prestigious hotels, clubs and restaurants throughout the country as well as owner food and beverage operations. In 2004, A Perfect Package was born in West Palm Beach.
Can you tell us a little more about your Restaurant? A Perfect Package Personal Chef Service offers clients customized menus to fit dietary goals such as vegetarian, low carb, heart smart and the list goes on. We will prepare your meals tailored to your desires. Your meals are cooked off site in a commercial kitchen, which is inspected by the Palm Beach County Health Department, then delivered right to your door at no extra charge. All menu components are vacuum packaged to extend freshness and shelf life guaranteed for one week that all food will stay fresh and pristine without having to freeze anything. This allows you to have your own Bistro in your home, with a customized menu written exclusively for you, within 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.
What is your philosophy on cooking? My philosophy on cooking is very simple. Cooking is common sense. Once you have learned the basic skills necessary to produce quality food, the rest is quality of ingredients and listening to your customers desires. All foods cooked by A Perfect Package are 100 percent scratch cooking.
Of all the dishes on the current menu, which is your favorite? Since my menus change weekly there are 13 years of menus in the vault to choose from. My love is French cuisine so I would have to say Veal Calvados with an apple brandy sauce, chanterelle mushrooms and avocado garnish..
Are you enjoying your time in Florida? Coming from Michigan in 2004 things were much cooler there. Summers lasted 3 months in a good year. Everyday I can wake up in Florida and see the sunshine as well as my beautiful wife. Life does not get much better than this.
Can you tell us a little bit about your previous experience in fine dining? I am a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) with The American Culinary Federation (ACF) since 2001. In layman’s terms this means that I can cook any cuisine in the world and make it taste amazing.
I have worked as an Executive Chef in fine dining most of my adult life since 1986. Marriott Hotel, 5 years. Sias Restaurant and Premier Catering, 9 years as Chef and Owner. I have worked as a Food and Beverage Director for the Radisson hotel in Grand Rapids. One of the most spotlighted restaurants in the Detroit Metro area, Mac and Rays, as General Manager. During my 8 year tenure as Executive Chef at The Crews Inn in Harrison Township Michigan I cooked for celebrities such as Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker and Pamela Anderson.
Since moving to Florida in 2004, I have worked at prestigious country clubs such as the Lost tree Club and the Everglades Club, while building A Perfect Package Personal Chef Service to what it is today. The celebrities I have cooked for in Florida include Hector Lombard, Kenny Stills, Dion Sims, Jordan Tripp, Nate Orchard, Jamar Taylor, Jelani Jenkins, Zach Bowman and many more.
What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your cooking career? During a very busy breakfast rush on Memorial Day, all of the grills were full with breakfast meats and hash browns. I abruptly called for Johnny, one of the stewards recently hired. “Quick Johnny we need you to find the grill stretcher out of the equipment shed and we forgot to put the flag at half mast. Please take care of that as well !!!” 10 minutes later Johnny returned and said he couldn’t find either item. I told Johnny it was almost noon so we will make it without the grill stretcher and not to worry about the flag. The end result is there is no such thing as a grill stretcher and we did not have a flagpole on property.
I know that many restaurants in South Florida now focus on using more local cuisine. What foods are you planning on highlighting this season? My main focus will be using locally organic and grass fed farms to adjust local flavors to client’s dietary needs.
More and more chefs in the Palm Beaches have become involved in cooking contests featured on the Food Network. Do you have any interest in that? Yes actually I auditioned for Hell’s Kitchen and got a call back to audition a second time. Unfortunately the third time’s the charm in that case.
What new and exciting plans do you have for your restaurant? I am looking forward to moving into a larger kitchen facility to be able to increase production and expand my clientele base.
We’d like to thank Chef Camilo Cuartas for helping to arrange this interview, and Chef Jones for taking the time to share some of his culinary experience with us.
If you’re a local chef whose cuisine matches up to the best out there, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us and perhaps you can be the next celebrity chef!