This is a description of how we vet our chefs during the onboarding process. It's designed for diners to understand and trust the process. Building trust and confidence in the process to become and stay a chef on Zestyer is crucial to building and maintaining diners willing to order. For a description of what you need to do to become a chef, please read the Becoming a Chef Series here.


Who Is A Chef?

It's important for diners to understand what they are trusting chefs and Zestyer to do. You are not trusting your children or finances with chefs. Zestyer is a platform for food. You are trusting chefs to prepare the foods exactly as advertised, much like a restaurant. So this guide will focus on comparing Zestyer chefs with chefs and staff who work at restaurants.

Types of Restaurants

To fully understand this article, you need to know the different types of restaurants. We've split restaurants into three categories.

Chain Restaurants: Usually a franchise, with many locations across the country or globe. Known by almost everyone with a low price range. Chipotle, Red Lobster, P.F. Chang's, Outback Steakhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald's, Burger King, Red Robin, Bonefish Grill, Maggiano's Little Italy, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, The Cheesecake Factory, Subway, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Domino's Pizza, etc.

Small Restaurants: Run by an independent person (usually a chef), small family, or small group of people, with few or one locations. Usually unknown to people outside the area with generally low to medium prices. Pizzerias, quick dine in spots, diners, etc.

High End Restaurants: Established by big name chefs, with few or one locations. Critically acclaimed with high prices. The Ramsay restaurants, Masa, etc.

Comparison

If you're in a rush. Here's the simple chart we compile from the article. Read the whole article to understand why the chart is like this.

Category Subcategory
Chain Restaurants Small Restaurants High End Restaurants
Food: Diner Knowledge Before Ordering Every Food Needs At Least One Picture

An Integrated Rating System & Customized Search That Shows The Best Foods First

Compare Prices, Add Customizations, Add Special Requests
Some Foods Have Pictures

Rely on Third Parties to Evaluate Food

Can't Compare Prices, Can't Customize, Adding Special Requests is Taboo
Some Foods Have Pictures

Rely on Third Parties to Evaluate Food

Can't Compare Prices, Can't Customize, Adding Special Requests is Taboo
Some Foods Have Pictures

Rely on Third Parties to Evaluate Food

Can't Compare Prices, Can't Customize, Adding Special Requests is Taboo
Menus Menus Tailored to Chef Strengths Menus Standardized Across Chains Menus Depend on Owners Menus Tailored to Chef Strengths
Ingredients Same Ingredients the Chef Consumes Personally Ingredients Usually Frozen, Bought in Bulk Ingredients Depend on Owners Ingredients High Quality, Expensive
Staff: Chefs Criminal Background Checks

Bimonthly Personality Check Ins

No Culinary Degrees or Certifications Required
No Background Checks Required

Minimum Wage, Unhappy Chefs

No Culinary Degree or Certifications Required
No Background Checks Required

Chefs' Personalities Depend on Owners

No Culinary Degree or Certifications Required
Criminal Background Checks

Highly Trained & Passionate Chefs

Culinary Degrees & Certifications
Service Chefs are the Service Staff Could be Anyone Could be Anyone Could be Anyone
Delivery Chefs are the Delivery Staff Could be Anyone Could be Anyone Could be Anyone
Kitchens: Safety Health & Safety Standards for Living Spaces Infrequent (every 1 to 2 years) Health Inspections Infrequent (every 1 to 2 years) Health Inspections Infrequent (every 1 to 2 years) Health Inspections
Preparatory Space Chef's Can Upload Photos of Their Kitchens No Idea Where Your Food is Made No Idea Where Your Food is Made No Idea Where Your Food is Made
Price Per Meal Know the Exact Price Before Ordering Including Food & Drink, Tips, and Tax

Usually $5 to $35
Don't Know Exact Price Before Ordering

Usually $5 to $20
Don't Know Exact Price Before Ordering

Usually $10 to $50
Don't Know Exact Price Before Ordering

Usually $100 & Up

The chart speaks for itself. Zestyer clearly beats chain restaurants and small restaurants and is reasonabily comparable to high end restaurants, but you need to pay a lot more for those. If you feel comfortable ordering from chain restaurants or small restaurants, feel even more comfortable ordering from Zestyer chefs.

More On Restaurant Precautions

Restaurants usually have two points of contact for the food you order. The first is the kitchen staff - chefs and the ones who prepare the food. The second is the service staff - the ones who take your orders, take your payment, and exchange your food. In the case of delivery, there may be a third point of contact - the delivery staff. All three of these points of contact have direct access to your food at some time.

To prevent malicious behavior, safety practices are in place.

State Licenses: Many states require that you have a license to operate a restaurant. However, these licenses are issued to the business entity. It is up to the business owner(s) to actually hire staff for their establishment. Owners may look for some of the following qualifications for chefs.

Culinary Arts Associate Degree: Culinary schools are vocational institutes that teach you the different fundamentals of cooking. This degree is obtained by chefs who want to cook in high end restaurants, or be personal chefs to the wealthy. This degree is far from a thorough vetting of an individual. Many schools will give out such degrees to students who focus on business and management. Restaurants which have fixed or very inflexible menus such as chain restaurants and small restaurant do not seek such individuals as they are costly to employee and their menu does not require the attention such chefs would give.

Chef Certifications: Certain certifications like an ACF are designed to show potential restaurant owners that an individual is proficient in a certain skill. They do little in the way of vetting a certain individual. Many of these certifications can be obtained online and chain restaurants and small restaurants do not seek individuals with certifications.

Background Checks: With the exception of some jurisdictions like Washington D.C., many restaurants are not required to run any sort of background check on their employees, even if an employee is a head chef or someone directly responsible of preparing food. Chains and especially small restaurants are under no obligation to perform checks into any of their employees.

Health Inspections: All restaurants are subject to health inspections. These inspections are designed to give diners a sense of security and confidence when ordering food from an establishment. In actuality, these programs are understaffed and underfunded. Surprise or renewal inspections are required between every 1 to 2 years in most jurisdictions. These health inspections look for rodents and foodborne illnesses. As for rodents, under Health and Safety Code in all states, homes, where Zestyer chefs do their cooking, are put under the same scrutiny as restaurants. As for foodborne illnesses, the same kitchens are used to prepare the chef's food. There is far more incentive for chefs to keep their own kitchens free from foodbourne illnesses. In general, homes have higher habitability standards as the chefs actually live in them, rather than just work in them. Homes are kept at a higher cleanliness level on account of the same fact. Zestyer chefs have more motivation to keep their homes clean than someone else's restaurant.

Certifications, licenses, and background checks are optional for chefs and kitchen staff. The checks are almost never run on service staff and delivery staff. High school students and the homeless are readily hired, and not to speak ill of such parties, but, for hygienic reasons, these are not the people we would like handling our food.

More On Zestyer Precautions

Zestyer is a company that connects passionate chefs with their clients. To vet and promote quality foods we rely on four methods.

Background Check: We order an in-depth criminal background check for every chef on Zestyer. That's every chef, no exceptions. We may choose to reorder this check for specific chefs if a problem arises. This is a preventative measure that most restaurants don't take.

Bimonthly Check Ins & Interviews: We check in with every chef twice a month. We ask for feedback, problems in personal life and any sort of concerns with Zestyer. Failing to respond to one of these check ins leads to a termination of the chef. This helps us understand the chef's situation and how we can help improve their experience with Zestyer.

Weighting: Chefs who are qualified to provide extra care and attention to diners will receive a weighting on their profile. This promotes their foods first in the search, meaning the best results are first. This weight is updated after every check in.

Extensive Preorder Information: You get to know everything you'd like before you order. Every food must have at least one picture. All ratings are visible and our search promotes the best foods. Chefs have the ability to upload kitchen pictures to their profile, which you can view before ordering. You can customize your meal and add a special request, which would otherwise be considered taboo. The exact price is shown before ordering.

Ingredient Supply

A little more food for thought (get it? cause we sell food, hehe)... Chain restaurants especially, focus on minimizing costs and buy frozen ingredients in bulk. They process their foods to make sure every single menu item tastes the same at every location. Zestyer chefs don't. Zestyer chefs are your average people. They go shopping at a grocer and they use the same fresh ingredients they eat themselves for your food. What's a better testament to quality than a chef eating his/her own food?

Sources
Becoming A Chef - https://www.ecpi.edu/
ACF Certification - https://www.acfchefs.org/
Online Culinary Certification - http://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/
Health Inspections Frequency - Varies by Jurisdiction
Food Service Licenses - https://www.fda.gov/
Health and Safety Code for Homes and Livable Building in One of the Strictest State CA - http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/
Food Safety - https://www.foodsafety.gov/
Legality - https://www.fda.gov/
Legality - https://www1.nyc.gov/
Have questions, support@zestyer.com.

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About the Author

Written by Lisa Dion - Director Of Marketing
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Posted In Diners
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safety, security, chefs, ordering online, order, food, earn, money, online, marketplace, app, zestier, zestyer

Keywords safety, security, chefs, ordering online, order, food, earn, money, online, marketplace, app, zestier, zestyer

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