About West PA Chefs

West PA Chefs is a group of Independently owned and operated Personal Chef Services providing Customized Meal Solutions to a variety of clients in Western PA and bordering counties in Eastern OH and the Northern Panhandle of WV.

The group meets at least 6 times per year to provide support, networking and continuing education opportunities to its member chefs and is open to all personal chefs in the region regardless of national association affiliation.

If you are interested in becoming a personal chef and would like more information on Personal Chef Training options, please visit the Culinary Business Academy website at CulinaryBusiness.com.

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Chef Tim

Chef Tim Hering CPC is the Executive Chef of Dinner Magician Personal Chef Service and the President and a founding member of the Western PA Chapter of the US Personal Chef Association. Chef Tim is a Certified Personal Chef®, a Premier Member of the United States Personal Chef Association, a Certified Food Safety Manger with the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals and an instructor for the Culinary Business Academy. In addition, he is the Marketing Director of Soap Alchemy Natural, Hand Crafted Soap Co and a certified soap maker. He regularly volunteers with the New Castle Community YMCA, providing a weekly cooking class for kids and families called Little Chefs. He also instructs a Summer Cooking camp there, an after school cooking program for kids at the Bairel YMCA and occasional cooking programs at area libraries. He enjoys yoga, rock climbing, reading, camping, a variety of music and spending time with his partner and their multitude of cats on their farm just South of New Castle, PA.

West PA Chefs Members Volunteer at WQED for QED Cooks Marathon

Chefs work the phones for the QED Cooks: Soups and Stews Marathon on November 20, 2010 from 10am to 2pm on WQED.

The members of West PA Chefs understand the importance of spending time at home with your family and friends and a big part of that time is spent on eating. With the ever decreasing amount of time families find in their day to spend with each other, family meal time should still take center stage at home. Local cooking programming on WQED like QED Cooks is an important part of our community, offering useful information and recipes to busy families on how to keep meal time a family occasion and  the chapter members are excited to volunteer their time to helping WQED continue to offer this unique and informative programming.

Several members have also contributed recipes to the QED Cooks: Soups and Stews cookbook which will include a variety of recipes from viewers and chefs throughout the region. Be sure to support this type of programming being offered on our region’s PBS station by tuning in and pledging your support!

The West PA Chefs is comprised of several independently owned and operated Personal Chef Services located throughout the Western PA Region, including portions of the Northern Panhandle of WV and bordering counties in Eastern OH.

Each chef offers a variety of Customized Meal Solutions including freshly prepared meals which are packaged and ready to heat and eat as well as offering chef services for small dinner parties, interactive cooking parties and demonstrations! Several member chefs also provide larger catering services, cooking instruction, meal pick up and preparation from commercial kitchen space. Others also provide cooking instruction and demonstrations to area organizations and libraries geared to teach children and adults the importance of proper nutrition and eating habits and doing so while still remaining within the family food budget.

Each of the member chefs specializes in a variety of areas which can include, depending on the chef, organic foods, special diets such as gluten free, weight loss, heart healthy, family meals, locally grown and/or foods for patients of illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. All meals are fully customized to the needs and taste preferences of the client and each chef will work with each client to ensure that any and all dietary, nutritional and taste preferences are followed. Something that you won’t likely find when going out to eat.

The direct tangible benefit to hiring your own chef will be the time saved in the actual meal preparation and the associated shopping while still enjoying palate specific meals at a surprisingly reasonable cost! Those who choose a chef to cook for a dinner party will no longer need to spend countless hours in the kitchen and will have more time to actually enjoy their party and the company of their guests while those choosing a chef to conduct a demo or interactive cooking party will have the fun of watching a cooking show on TV while being able to actually eat the results, all while spending time with friends and family!

The time and money saved as well as the health benefits of having preservative and additive free meals at your fingertips is incalculable!

Our members are also dedicated to providing services using as much locally grown products as are in season and available and several of the chefs volunteer their time and talent to area organizations, including the First Lady’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative (part of the Let’s Move! campaign) which pairs chefs with area schools to help improve the quality of school lunches as well as teach kids and adults the importance of cooking and eating healthier foods. Many of the member chefs were on hand at the launch of the Chefs Move to Schools campaign in June on the South Lawn of the White House along with chefs from around the country from organizations such as the ACF, IACP, USPCA and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.

Earlier this year, the active members of the chapter, each all ready having passed a series of examinations with the US Personal Chef Association and having achieved the status of Professional Personal Chefs, who were not all ready certified took the first step in the process of becoming Certified Personal Chefs®. Each member took an extensive exam which included, among other things, knowledge of cooking methods, nutrition and food safety. Each of the chefs passed the exam and several have since completed the process by accumulating continuing education, experience and volunteer points and becoming Certified Personal Chefs®. Those attaining CPC status must re-certify every 5 years by submitting further continuing education, teaching, volunteer and experience points.

USPCA Members who attain the CPC designation are also eligible to become instructors with the Culinary Business Academy (CBA), teaching others how to successfully operate a personal chef business. We are happy to announce the Chef Tim Hering CPC, president of West PA Chefs, has been selected to instruct 3 Personal Chef Quick Start and 1 Personal Chef Dynamics courses being offered by the CBA in the Pittsburgh Area beginning in March of 2011.

West PA Chefs: USPCA Chapter of the Year 2010At the annual USPCA National Conference, held in Denver, CO this past July, the West PA Chefs took home the 2010 Excellence in Business award for USPCA Chapter of the Year. This achievement shows the commitment to providing the best services to their clients, their communities, each other and the personal chef industry.

Throughout the US and Canada USPCA personal chefs in a given area assemble and create a local chapter to help other chefs with community service, awareness campaigns and overall business development.  Each of the 35+ chapters runs as a stand alone organization with guidance from the USPCA.  Web sites, trade shows, community education programs and volunteer duties are all examined and evaluated to determine which chapter truly went above and beyond during the year.  “The Western PA Chapter had outstanding efforts in every category” stated USPCA President Chef Gail Kenagy.

“Our chapter is like a well oiled machine with each member dedicated to industry excellence with a sincere desire to insure each chef is operating at peak proficiency” stated Chef Tim Hering CPC, President of the Western PA Chapter. “From educational meetings designed to help each member give the best possible service to their individual clients, to combining resources to market our individual businesses, the USPCA, our chapter and our industry to reaching out within our community to help others, the members of our chapter have gone above and beyond what is expected of them and each member and their clients have been enriched because of these efforts.”

Judges for this annual competition consisted of professional members within the USPCA.

For more information on the West PA Chefs and to find a chef in your area, please visit westpachefs.com. For information on Personal Chef Training options at the Culinary Business Academy, visit CulinaryBusiness.com. To find a Personal Chef in the Western PA region or across the United States and Canada, visit Hire-A-Chef.

President’s note: Since the time this post was written, West PA Chefs members have decided to open the group to all personal chefs in the region and is no longer affiliated as a group with the USPCA. Individual member chefs may still belong to the USPCA but it is no longer a requirement for group membership and national association membership is the choice of the individual chef.

Western PA Personal Chefs Win Chapter of the Year at USPCA National Convention

West PA Chefs: USPCA Chapter of the Year 2010Top honors shows commitment to excellence from each member chef to their clients, each other and the personal chef industry!

Members of the Western PA Chapter of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA); President – Chef Tim Hering CPC, Vice President – Chef Catherine Amatangelo-Alfaro, Treasurer – Chef Carole Ortenzo CPC, Secretary – Chef Marcia Schuller, Chef JoAnn Bohonik, Chef Melody Domaratz and Chef Sarah Lujetic have taken top honors for Personal Chef Chapter Of The Year during the 2010 USPCA national convention in Denver, CO.

Throughout the US and Canada USPCA personal chefs in a given area assemble and create a local chapter to help other chefs with community service, awareness campaigns and overall business development.  Each of the 35+ chapters runs as a stand alone organization with guidance from the USPCA.  Web sites, trade shows, community education programs and volunteer duties are all examined and evaluated to determine which chapter truly went above and beyond during the year.  “The Western PA Chapter had outstanding efforts in every category” stated USPCA President Chef Gail Kenagy.

“Our chapter is like a well oiled machine with each member dedicated to industry excellence with a sincere desire to insure each chef is operating at peak proficiency” stated Chef Hering, President of the Western PA Chapter. “From educational meetings designed to help each member give the best possible service to their individual clients, to combining resources to market our individual businesses, the USPCA, our chapter and our industry to reaching out within our community to help others, the members of our chapter have gone above and beyond what is expected of them and each member and their clients have been enriched because of these efforts.”

Judges for this annual competition consisted of professional members within the USPCA.

(Front to back) Chapter VP Chef Catherine Amatangelo-Alfaro, Treasurer Chef Carole Ortenzo CPC and President Chef Tim Hering CPC at the Brown Palace in Denver, CO at the USPCA national convention

Several hundred personal chefs from throughout the United States and Canada converged on Denver this July to participate in educational workshops, business seminars and to hear from industry experts on a wide variety of subjects of importance to independent culinary business operators. “The annual convention is primarily a business building and educational event designed to help independent personal chefs strengthen their business and expand their service” stated USPCA President Chef Gail Kenagy. She continued, “Each of our chapters represent dedicated working professional personal chefs.  Judges spend countless hours examining each chapter’s accomplishments and growth, which is a daunting task at times seeing as how each chapter is unique and really becomes one within their community.”

“Two chapter members were asked to instruct seminars at this year’s conference,” stated Chef Hering. “I instructed two seminars, “Selling Yourself on a Budget,” and “Fusion Marketing: Promoting Your PC Business with Demonstrations,” and Chapter Treasurer, Chef Carole Ortenzo CPC taught the “Health Supportive Cooking” seminar. Chef Catherine, our VP, also assisted me in doing a short skit on How to Boil Water at the beginning of my Fusion Marketing seminar!”

“Even though we each own separate businesses, we each work well together and it’s been a very rewarding year for us!” Chef Hering continued. “We are technically competitors, but our activities have been designed to help support each other creating a supportive environment which often leads us to refer clients to each other since each of us does have a different style and serves a different part of the Western PA and Eastern OH region.”

Over the past year, members of West PA Chefs (http://www.westpachefs.com) have held educational meetings, including a Seafood Demonstration, a lotion making demonstration and sessions designed to prepare each member for the Certified Personal Chef® examination. Each member who had not yet been certified each took the exam and passed! Various members also have participated as a group in several area food shows including Good Taste! Pittsburgh, Farm to Table and Our Valley Cooks, educating the public on the personal chef industry and their individual businesses. The chefs each also find time to offer various cooking demonstrations throughout the region.

In June, four of the members traveled to Washington DC to participate in the Chefs Move to Schools launch ceremony, which was held on the South Lawn of the White House. Nearly 1000 chefs from all over the country joined this initiative along with First Lady Michelle Obama, many of whom are USPCA chefs. “It may sound cliche, but children are our future and we must do whatever we can to ensure they are getting the proper foods and nutrition education,” said Chef Hering. Several of the chapter members have all ready been paired with a school in their area.

There are 5,000+ working personal chefs with the overwhelming majority associated with the USPCA. Personal chefs prepare custom delicious, nutritious meals daily for a wide range of clients in all 50 states and throughout Canada.  Clients using this special service represent active households, affluent seniors and individuals with restrictive dietary needs.  Unlike a private chef who works for one household in an employer-employee relationship, personal chefs own and operate their own independent business and will service 12-20 unique clients each month.  The direct tangible benefits to each client will be the time saved in the actual meal preparation and the associated shopping, while still enjoying exactly what they’ve requested at a cost no greater than a comparable restaurant.  “The coveted dinner hour which has eroded over the years as career and outside influences demand more and more time of individuals is being reinstated thanks to personal chefs who allow families to unite with minimal effort to enjoy healthful custom prepared meals” Kenagy stated.

Locating a personal chef in the Western PA region (including the Youngstown, OH area) can be accomplished by visiting the West PA Chefs website at http://www.westpachefs.com. To locate a personal chef in other regions, you can visit http://www.hireachef.com, the largest and most widely used search site for personal chefs.

The Culinary Business Academy is the educational division of the USPCA, providing world class culinary business education to individuals having the expertise and desire to create excellent meals.  “The Culinary Business Academy is the only provider of personal chef business education to be licensed by a Private Post-Secondary Commission on Higher Education” stated Phil Ellison, USPCA Executive Director.  “Routinely we help individuals reach their goal of independence through professional education and guidance, so that they may be successful and productive in a career field that is enjoyable and rewarding with a very high level of satisfaction” Ellison continued.

The USPCA also monitors and administers the only federally recognized certification program for personal chefs.  Through demonstrated abilities and the acquisition of industry related education and business development courses, the designation of Certified Personal Chef (CPC) is bestowed.  Continued efforts and ongoing educational advancement are requirements to maintain this highly sought after designation.  All USPCA personal chefs are required to demonstrate a standard level of proficiency, evaluated through a testing series.  Only the USPCA requires testing of each member, and each USPCA personal chef is provided with general liability insurance.

“For a service concept that is 20 years old, the industry has just begun to emerge.  Busy active households and the demand for quality nutritional meals will certainly help shape the landscape of this industry for years to come” Ellison stated.  The USPCA remains ever vigilant to stay ahead of demand by developing new educational opportunities, providing business leadership and recognizing trends in consumer needs.

Local USPCA Chefs from West PA Chefs Volunteer for White House Project

Chefs Move to SchoolsLet's MovePittsburgh, PA: First Lady Michelle Obama recently commissioned an all volunteer project titled “Chefs Move To Schools” affording an opportunity for chefs around the country to adopt a local school to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. “Chefs Move to Schools” will pair chefs with schools in their communities to bring fun to fruits and vegetables, and teach kids about food, nutrition and cooking in an engaging way.

Chef’s Carole, Catherine, JoAnn and Tim from West PA Chefs : The Western PA Chapter of the US Personal Chef Association, have  joined the nationwide volunteer team spearheaded by Michelle Obama and hope to be working with local students soon, once they are paired with a school. By working with school food service employees, administrators and teachers, they will help deliver these messages from the cafeteria to the classroom. “We are going to need everyone’s time and talent to solve the childhood obesity epidemic and our Nation’s chefs have tremendous power as leaders on this issue because of their deep knowledge of food and nutrition and their standing in the community. I want to thank them for joining the Let’s Move! Campaign” stated Michelle Obama.

“The opportunity to share our knowledge about healthy food choices which directly benefits the children in our community is quite rewarding” stated Chef Tim, president of the chapter. “This nationwide campaign is well organized and focused, and the results should be outstanding. The messages we help deliver are actually quite simple and common sense, but our society has drifted away from core principals and opted for food alternatives which aren’t always the best or most healthy choices” he continued.

The chefs will be attending the “Chefs Move to Schools” Launch Event on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, June 4 along with a number of USPCA chefs and chefs from all over the county.

The Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the United States Personal Chef Association is a group of Independently owned and operated Personal Chef Services providing Customized Meal Solutions to a variety of clients in Western PA and bordering counties in Eastern OH and the Northern Panhandle of WV. Each chef provides healthy, nutritious solutions to the “What’s For Dinner” question asked nightly by busy households. Customized quality meals created and made available for busy households provide an excellent platform to re-establish the family dinner hour which has disappeared from many homes due to hectic schedules. Families can now save time and money while enjoying healthy selections and putting solid nutrition back into their daily routine. They are all members of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA), which is one of several professional culinary organizations enlisted to aid in this national campaign. For further information about West PA Chefs, please visit http://www.westpachefs.com. For additional information about the “Chefs Move To Schools” campaign, please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/05/13/chefs-move-schools.

West PA Chefs – Independently Owned and Operated Personal Chef Businesses in the Tri-State Region

West PA Chefs

If you are looking for a personal chef in the Western PA area, you’ve come to the right place! Our members offer a wide variety of services and are spread out over the region so there is sure to be a personal chef near you!

Comprised of several independently owned and operated Personal Chef Services, West PA Chefs has member chefs located throughout the Western PA Region, including portions of the Northern Panhandle of WV and bordering counties in Eastern OH.

Each chef offers a variety of Customized Meal Solutions including freshly prepared meals which are packaged and ready to heat and eat as well as offering chef services for small dinner parties, interactive cooking parties and demonstrations! Several member chefs also provide larger catering services, cooking instruction, meal pick up and preparation from commercial kitchen space.

Our members are also dedicated to providing services using as much locally grown products as are in season and available. With many local farms, farmer’s markets and CSA programs in the region, we look forward  to cooking what’s currently in season in the area!

The direct tangible benefit to hiring your own chef will be the time saved in the actual meal preparation and the associated shopping while still enjoying palate specific meals at a surprisingly reasonable cost! Those who choose a chef to cook for a dinner party will no longer need to spend countless hours in the kitchen and will have more time to actually enjoy their party and the company of their guests!

The time and money saved as well as the health benefits of having preservative and additive free meals at your fingertips is incalculable!

If you are a member of any of the CSA programs in the Western PA area and are interested in having your CSA boxes turned into delicious meals, or to be taught what to do with all that great, locally grown produce, please click here to email us to be referred to the personal chef nearest you!

If you would like to find out more about membership in West PA Chefs, are interested in becoming a personal chef by utilizing a course through the Culinary Business Academy or would like information about finding a personal chef in your area, please click here to email us!

Happy Cooking!

West PA Chefs Carole, Catherine and Tim at Farm to Table – Pittsburgh

West PA Chefs Carole, Tim and Catherine at Farm to Table - Pittsburgh 2010

West PA Chefs Carole, Tim and Catherine at Farm to Table - Pittsburgh 2010

On March 26 and 27, 2010, West PA Chefs members Chef Carole from Organic Personal Chef Service, Chef Catherine from Catherine’s Personal Chef Service and Chef Tim from Dinner Magician Personal Chef Service set up a booth at the annual Farm to Table conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention center in Downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

The event showcased businesses, speakers and demonstrations throughout the two day event focusing on Local and Sustainable businesses.

During the two day event, Chef Carole sold a variety of her Organic soup, Chef Tim passed out samples of his Banana Nut Granola and Chef Catherine passed out samples of her Quinoa Salad.

On the first evening of the show, Chef’s Carole and Catherine delighted conference attendees with samples of their cooking at the Local Food Tasting event and Chef’s Carole and Tim ended the two day event with a demonstration of Organic Miso Soup on the demonstration stage.