A Day In The Life of a Plant-Based Private Chef
Plant-Based Private Chef, Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts
Ester Ovcharenko is a Plant-Based Chef & Holistic Health Coach who assists clients in their wellness goals by preparing nutrient-dense meals. Her passion for disease prevention and achieving optimal nutrition inspires her personalized meals for her clients using anti-inflammatory super-foods to support detoxification and cleansing.
Her morning routine started with a 5-10 minute guided meditation that sets her up for a clear day. For breakfast, she usually has chia puddings, coconut yogurt with bananas and berries or something creative that she can use for her food styling and photography. Basically, she’s killed two birds with one stone this way, eating breakfast and creating content for her website or Instagram.
After breakfast, she looked over emails and responded to clients and requests for meal preps, adjusting her schedule as needed and setting up menus for different families and individuals. After that, she squeezed in a 40-minute muscle toning routine with some light weights.
She took the train from Brooklyn into Manhattan to do some grocery shopping for a client and selected seasonal produce for the meals that she’s preparing for that client later on this day.
The amount of time she spends in the grocery store depends on the number of people she’s cooking for and the number of dishes. She often tries to visit the farmers market to select the best quality and freshest produce available as well.
She arrived at her client’s home and laid out all the fresh ingredients she just bought to execute the menu. She prioritized which meal is cooked when by how long it takes to complete, so she’s done at a reasonable hour.
Today on the menu:
- Chia Seed Pudding with Berry Reductio
- She started with this first because the chia seeds need to soak for enough time to bloom properly.
- Zucchini Noodles with Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado Pesto
- The Zucchini noodles need to dry properly or else it will be soggy.
- Zucchini Lasagna
- This is next for the same reasoning as above, but this is a layered dish, which she told us she likes to knock out sooner rather than later.
- Chicken Meatballs and Garlic Roasted Broccoli
- Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Sautéed Boy Choy
- Quinoa & Oyster Mushroom Risotto
- Gluten-Free Vegan Brownie
Menus are planned based on an initial conversation with her client on the dietary goals and allergy restrictions in the household and Ester plans the meals based off that.
After the meals were cooked, packed, labeled and organized, Ester cleaned the kitchen so it looked like she wasn’t even there. She cooks weekly for her clients so in their fridge or on their counter will be breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks all labeled and organized. So it’s nice and easy for the client to stay on track with their goals.
She’s home and she was catching up on emails and online workshops. These workshops could be anything from food styling to social media marketing to continuously improve her work and offerings. On this particular day, she attending Jasmine Star’s Instagram course.
She’s always looking for ways to improve her craft in order to provide the best service.
“My passion for health and wellness is very visible through my lifestyle, my work and every interaction I have.”
How did you get your current job?
Ester always had a talent for cooking and putting together dinners & special events focused on health-supportive meals. So, after graduation, she went to culinary school and as soon as she achieved that goal, she continued challenging myself and adding more skills & culinary techniques to her repertoire.
Ester was offered a private chef gig cooking for a friend/client that had prostate cancer and implemented a vegan diet as a way to stay healthy during a strenuous time. She said it was a humbling experience since she was in charge of putting together all his meals and there was a lot of care that went into this process. She told us,
“You realize in moments like this how fragile life is and how impactful diet & nutrition is to one’s well-being.”
It was a beautiful experience that opened many doors for her in the private chef & health coach industries.
She continues her work as a private chef building up her business through referrals. She keeps her Instagram page and website up to date with the latest dishes she’s made and ingredients she knows have healing properties in them. Her Instagram is basically a portfolio for clients to vet her skills and for anyone to be inspired by.
She continues to work on her craft by attending the Natural Gourmet Institute twice a week which focuses on a different food source per class and learning multiple recipes for that one food source. The knowledge she’s gaining is helping her expand her knowledge and land more clients.
What were your first career goals and how have those goals evolved?
Ester’s first career goals were to use her passion for health and wellness to offer a quality service as a chef. Even though she had graduated from Baruch College with an International Marketing degree, she always knew deep down this was what she was meant to do. Going through the motions as an International Marketing major, she realized she was more of a creative person.
“I need to create. I need to make things with my hands.”
Her goals have since evolved from taking on clients as a private chef to diversifying how she shares her expertise with the world, including a focus on cooking for retreats worldwide, cater for large events, teaching cooking classes and last, but not least, continuing to inspire people through wholesome & vibrant cuisine. She accomplished some of these feats already this year, but the sky’s the limit.
What is your advice those who aspire to be like you?
Ester encouraged everyone to keep working to prove yourself as an expert in your field because all you need is one person to believe in you, to invest in you, and the rest will snowball from there.
How do you define your best work?
Her best work, she told us, is executing exactly what the clients want at the time they want it and providing them with a lot of benefits in terms of their health, their longevity and their quality of life.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self today?
She would say go with your gut feeling. Trust your instincts more and make mistakes. Make mistakes if you have to because you don’t have anything to lose at that time. For you to discover what drives you, you need to put yourself in situations you aren’t comfortable in to see if you sink or swim.
“You have to do uncomfortable things to discover what drives you.”
Which job do you want to experience next?
Jobs like Ester‘s
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