Today we’d like to introduce you to Vahé Mekhitarian.
Vahé, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Chicago. At the early age of four, I accompanied my European born grandfather to the old Randolph Street market where I soaked up the ritual of old world style food shopping. There, I found beauty and wonder in this simple experience selecting fresh, top quality food and ingredients (fruits and vegetables from the local sellers, bread from a baker, meat from a butcher, and fish and shellfish from a fishmonger) to bring home to the table.
When my grandfather and I returned home, I was inspired by the love of cooking and baking my mother and grandmother displayed day after day in the kitchen. I absorbed an appreciation of quality ingredients, the love of food, and the attention to detail and technique. Three generations a mix of Old World immigrants and first-generation Americans would gather nightly in my home and dine on lovingly prepared, fresh food bought at local markets. It is this same simple idea that fuels my passion now, to bring the best ingredients, tailored menus, and flavorful dishes to your table, so you and your family and friends enjoy the simple pleasures of great food.
The culinary art via the Old World sums up my approach to my work, and I strive to bring that same love of food to the tables of all whom I serve. I have spent 36 years cooking for family and friends, 20 of which were dedicated to working professionally in the hospitality and culinary fields. I was fortunate to work with many great local and international Chefs in and out of Chicago. I am a certified Personal Chef (CPC), I am also a Co-Owner of Chicago Market – A Community Co-op, a freelance Chef, recipe writer and contributor, and Hospitality Consultant. I attended culinary school at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC) now known as Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago.
One day, after my 25th high school reunion, a friend asked me to cook a beautiful gourmet dinner for some mutual friends. She hosted and supplied the wine and I cooked. I created a 4-course meal for 8 people 3 different ways as everyone had specific tastes. It was a fun-filled evening and it was fantastic! There was so much exciting energy! My friends were so happy and enthusiastic that they urged me to do this for others as a business.
I heeded their advice and formulated a business concept and plan! Creating and preparing upscale everyday meals tailored to my client’s personal tastes and preferences in their homes using organic ingredients. The rest is history.
Menu For You℠, Inc. launched in 2012.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being an entrepreneur is not easy as wearing many hats is commonplace. I am responsible for all aspects of my business, writing a business plan, marketing, creating a market, writing menus and testing recipes. The first few years were a bit challenging as is the norm for every new business.
Keeping an open mind and keeping tabs on the ever-changing food business landscape is critical. Taking and tracking the pulse of the food scene is key. Expanding my services to include in-home catering in 2015 addressed the many inquiries for this service.
Making my clients happy and keeping them happy makes me happy!
MENU FOR YOU ℠ Personal Chef Service – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As a Personal Chef, I create upscale quality home meals for my clients in their homes. One aspect of my business involves cooking for special events (dinner parties, anniversaries, birthdays, family celebrations, etc.), what is considered as “in-home catering.” When my sous chef and I come to your home you can expect delicious food, organized and clean work with a smile.
Another aspect of my business is preparing weekday meals for my clients in their home. On a given cook day, I buy all of the groceries, come to your house, bring all of my cookware and utensils, and prepare the selected entries in your kitchen. My assistant and I prepare all the meals from scratch utilizing as many seasonal, organic and sustainable ingredients as possible.
Dinner parties and special events are truly wonderful and exciting, interacting with the host and their guests and creating a custom menu.
MENU FOR YOU ℠ is committed to preparing meals with fresh, wholesome, organic ingredients, whether it is for your special event or simply a weekday meal with your family. Whatever your need might be, our customized meals will save you time, stress, and worry, as they are specially planned and prepared according to your individual preferences and wishes. Outstanding service, quality of ingredients and a delicious finished product are what you can expect from every MENU FOR YOU ℠ occasion.
Gone is the stress of finding recipes, shopping, chopping, and laboring over nutritious meals for your family or your guests. MENU FOR YOU ℠ will remove that burden, leaving you with more time to enjoy your company and your meticulously prepared meals. Your safety, health, and satisfaction are of the utmost importance to me and remain my constant focus. Dinner parties have never been easier to host, and fulfilling your family’s nutritional needs has never been more effortless. With MENU FOR YOU ℠ , your time, fuel and family are yours to enjoy.
This year I have celebrated many milestones- completed my 5th year in business with MENU FOR YOU ℠, launched a new website, surpassed some business goals and hit 400 cook dates since inception. I am doing what I love full time and I love my clients.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Provide for my family, encourage and inspire, grow and nurture others and while doing so, maintain the work/life balance. I have had a long and satisfying career that I enjoy every day and it works for our family.
- Service Fee for a one-day cook date of Home Meal Service starts at 350 + grocery cost
- Service fee for one 3-4 course dinner for 8 guests 850 + grocery cost
- Website: menuforyouinc.com
- Phone: 847-648-6368
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/menuforyou
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Menu-For-You/213972648710560
- Other: www.linkedin.com/menuforyouinc
Lili Shefa, Christine Mekhitarian