We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Howerton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After culinary school, I accepted a chef position with Miele in New York City. My role was to work in the kitchen of their showroom to conduct recipe testing and client cooking classes and events. I enjoyed the client interaction and began establishing relationships. I had a few clients ask whether I would consider cooking in their homes, which planted the seed that I could turn this into a business. When my husband and I relocated to Los Angeles later that year, I started connecting with local private chefs to learn more about their businesses and the market itself. My first clients came about by word of mouth, and that is how I continue to gain business to this day. Because I am the sole chef in my company, I do not advertise and instead rely on the reviews of my existing clients to attract new ones.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am a private chef, the sole chef in my company, Chef Courtney Howerton. I prepare meals for weekly clients and, since Covid, have begun offering drop-off services as well. I have paused in-home events in light of the pandemic and have focused instead on drop-off meals to limit person-to-person interaction while still providing my clients with their delicious meals. All of my menus are tailored to each client’s preferences. I am different than other chefs and catering companies in that I specialize in small, intimate events. The majority of my private events are capped at 12 guests. For me, this creates a more personal experience and allows me to be more creative with my menu offerings since I have more time to focus on each client individually and create a beautiful meal. Though I am classically-French trained, I am able to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions and culinary preferences. I ensure that all of my menus are cohesive and reflect my cooking style.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I like to take any of my willing friends on culinary field trips. It’s a lot of fun to explore specialty food markets, like the markets in Thai Town, or Surfas on Washington. I also like doing a happy hour rooftop drink at either EP & LP, the Waldorf Astoria, NoMad Hotel or Eataly, then dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (Jon & Vinny’s, DAMA Fashion District, Chi Spacca, Asuka on Westwood).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have a lot of people to thank for helping me get to where I am today. First, my husband, who endured years of kitchen experiments and countless Food Network episodes before I finally listened to him and enrolled in culinary school. My friend Ronnie Woo, who taught me everything about running a private chef business (and took my headshots)! And, my client Margaret, whom I admire greatly and allows me to cook in her dream kitchen each week.