Benjamin Kalifa: 10 years ago

Noticed in particular in the program "Top Chef" broadcast on M6, Benjamin Kalifa is working as a personal chef for many years. Based in Miami, he currently offers personal chef services, catering and cooking lessons ...
Interview 2010 -
Benjamin Kalifa has been the head of Fashion Cook for the past two years, a company through which he passionately pursues his work as a home chef. He has been featured in the "Top Chef" programme broadcasted on M6, and has been at the head of Fashion Cook* for the past two years. Today, the young restaurateur is completely comfortable in this role, and has not hesitated to offer his best advice to anyone who would like to take up the profession.

Can you tell us about your career in a few words?

Benjamin Kalifa. I'm the son of a restaurant owner, so I've been immersed in culinary arts since I was very young. My career path was a very natural choice. I obtained my various diplomas (BEP, BAC, BTS), and I pursued my study in a hotel school in Nice. After that, I worked in great restaurants on the Côte d'Azur, and two years ago, I decided to "drop everything" to come and have a go as a private chef in Paris.

What's a typical week like for a private chef?

My work pace is actually very random. What I can tell you is that I cook for all kinds of events (baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, receptions, meals with friends, etc...) and all types of clients. Clients usually make an appointment a week ahead and tell me what they enjoy. I then adapt my cuisine to their tastes and also, of course, according to their budget. I do my shopping at the market, and I travel everywhere around Paris and even sometimes in France.

What's the best way to make yourself well known in a field where competition is fierce?

The most important thing, I think, is to create your own space. Given the passion for fashion, it is this world that I wanted to portray through Fashion Cook: for example, I make a dish that already exists and adds my personal touch, with my ingredients, according to my style, while always being in tune with the seasonal foods. In my opinion, no matter what kind of cooking you do, you have to be able to distinguish yourself through your personality. Ultimately, I took a risk, but word of mouth quickly got around, and my world immediately caught on. So far, I have not experienced any real difficulties (I am touching wood).

In your opinion, are there more advantages or disadvantages to practicing at home?

Even though the amount of work is substantial, I don't really see any drawbacks to my business. What I appreciate most in-home cooking is the contact with people but also having direct feedback on my work, without any intermediaries. Customers are also more comfortable and less stressed since they are at home. As a cook, you also have more freedom. The advantage is also to be able to meet different people every day (all types of customers) and to be able to move around a little bit everywhere. 

You recently participated in the show "Top Chef" on M6, which puts several cooks in competition. What advice would you give to those who wish to become true "top chefs" and start cooking at home?

It is essential to know that being a chef at home means being able to manage several things at once: the preparation of the dishes, the service, the organisation of the meal, but also the tidying up and cleaning of the kitchen... In short, one must be able to create a real "home restaurant." Being a "Top Chef" also means knowing how to take on several roles: that of a cook, of course, but also that of an accountant, a's a tremendous job. To those who have passion, determination, enthusiasm, and above all who love being in contact with the customer, go for it! What is certain today is that I don't regret my choice in the least.

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Benjamin Kalifa
+1 786 302 3029

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