We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina Clarke-Helm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are many factors behind my success and the success of my brand. I believe success comes in many forms and starts from a vision, goals, planning, preparation, failures and a learning for others. For me, being authentic and approachable to my clients gives them a sense of connection to my brand. There are many great chefs in our industry, but what I pride myself on is giving my clients 5 star service and attention to the smallest details. Success comes from commitment to excellence and understanding the importance of a meal beyond the food, but as an experience.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I founded Malibu Seaside Chef in 2005 as a small boutique catering and private chef company. Since then, we have grown into one of the most sought after high end private cheffing companies in Southern California. Our clients include celebrities, professional athletes, musicians, corporations, and local families. We pride ourselves on being unique, highly detailed and give our clients 5 star service. The road to becoming a chef was well traveled and started many years ago while I worked as a professional model. I was fortunate to live in several countries, dine on incredible food and experience different cultures, all of which fueled my desire for amazing food.
I have had a passion for farm-to-table food which begin as a young girl roaming the farmer’s markets of my hometown San Luis Obispo and was further fueled by my travels throughout France and Italy, during which time I discovered exciting new flavors and textures through authentic locally sourced ingredients. Observing how much food and entertaining truly unites us, how it breaks down boundaries and is ultimately healing, I was inspired to pursue a career as a professional chef. I returned to the states to attend the French Epicurean School in Los Angeles, later apprenticing with the world-renowned Giuliano Bugialli in Florence before working for Wolfgang Puck at Granita in Malibu, California.
I believe the the biggest thing we’re doing at Malibu Seaside Chef, is taking the ordinary and making it feel exceptional, look incredible and be memorable. People are entrusting us to create memories for them and when you dine out, sometimes it’s hard to get that lasting experience. So, when you book our services, we are changing the normal of what someone would expect from dining and making it a lasting memory.
This year has been nothing less than incredible and we are grateful for our clients and the support we have had thus far. Right now, I am excited about a future partnership with a company out of Australia called, “Gathar” They are launching in the U.S. in June and I have team up with them as a U.S. ambassador. This is gonna be an exciting plateform for chefs and caterers to connect with clients. It will give the clients a one stop shop for booking chefs. Be on the lookout for more come with respect to Gathar.
Some lessons I’ve learned along the way are that you can learn something new from anyone regardless if they are a home cook or a professional. Preparation is half the battle, and it pays to make sure you are 100% prepared and have checked off all the boxes so the event runs smooth, and lastly have fun doing the little things even if they are hard. A good attitude is contagious and fuels success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I currently live between Malibu and San Luis Obispo and thus spend time in both these incredible cities. Uniquely different, yet special in their own way. A weekend in Malibu would start with a beautiful hike on one of our many trails or a stroll on the beach, then an incredible dinner at Nobu, making sure to order a world famous Ginarita. I would invite some guest over to enjoy a sunset cocktail with appetizers. Then on Sunday, I’d take them to the Malibu Farmers Market and pick out the freshest ingredients to cook a beautiful meal. At my other part time residence, San Luis Obispo, I would show them the incredible beaches, hiking trails, farmers markets, amazing restaurants, and do some wine tasting in Edna Valley. If time permitted, a horseback ride in hills surrounding the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The journey to becoming a successful chef and business owner was long, yet well traveled. I owe my success to all those who paved the way before me and those who invested their time and energy to help me become who I am today. The road was bumpy at times, tons of trial and error, yet the experiences I learned along the way from other chefs helped guild my path to success. Special thanks to my husband “Keith”, my family and my friends that have all stepped up when I needed them. Businesses rarely find success without good people supporting them. I would like to shout out a big thank you to Chef Brian Algee, who helps me plan, prep and produce incredible events over the past several years. He’s a topnotch chef who does all the little things to help ensure Malibu Seaside Chef is successful. Additionally, I can’t forget all the vendors, suppliers, and staffing whom make it all come together in a professional manner. Success is total team effort from the beginning to the end of an event.
Photos of Gina, Steak, lamb Chop laying on plate, short ribs, salmon, and clams clams Jennifer Olson Images Photo of Uni Pasta and Lamb Chop upright on plate Shannon McMillen Photography Photos of Salad John Troxell Photo of Table Scape Event self