The Freelance Chef
From his base in Brighton Michigan Michael Jay, ‘The Freelance Chef’, travels all over North America and Europe, catering for anything from an intimate dinner for two at home to catering on boats for corporate clients. Having relocated from the United Kingdom, his work has included catering at Twickenham Rugby Ground for an inter-services rugby match, Cocktail parties at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, Television Studios, and stately homes. Celebrities who have enjoyed his food range from the Spice Girls to Queen Noor of Jordan. And his clients come back time and time again. After training with the Savoy Hotel’s own training scheme, and working in such restaurants as The Director’s Club, Lloyd's of London, and Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, in the early eighties Michael Jay started one of Britain’s first home delivery services in Islington, London – offering everything from steak & kidney pie to whole grilled plaice, and possibly the best cheesecake this side of Austria. Seeking a change in direction from working 7 days a week in one kitchen, in 1982 he started his outside catering company which now covers most aspects of catering in homes, businesses and on location, from intimate dinners for two and weddings to multi-day events.
One of the locations Michael Jay has worked was the Television studio’s in Nottingham. He was asked to cater a 3- day seminar where the guest of honor would be Buzz Aldrin. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were required, and there were no facilities whatsoever. He had to source and set up a mobile kitchen, hire the staff, wines, flowers, and all equipment necessary to make that event a success.
Another event was at Dean’s Yard, Westminster Abbey where Prince Charles was guest of honor. Michael Jay had to prepare a cocktail party to suit the occasion. He had to prepare and serve food on stage at The Savoy Theater for a gala charity concert which included the Thames TV crew taping a surprise “this is your life” for the founder of the charity. Evelynn Glennie was among the guests. Other settings have included Sky TV studios for the satellite link of a world boxing title fight; cooking on the radio for Boy George, and a barbecue for 200 on a pig farm in Bury St Edmonds.
Among the most interesting domestic venues were ‘Sans Sourci’ in Pinner, Middlesex, a beautiful house that had in its time been the temporary residence of Von Ribbentrop; the historic Chenies Manor in Buckinghamshire, and Clifford Manor, a superb Lutyens house near Stratford upon Avon. Moving venues attract Michael as well; Motor launches and paddle steamers on the River Thames, a canal boat on the Grand Union Canal, and a coach (breakfast, lunch, and tea) for the Bus and Coach Council, taking in the sights of London, Oxford and Birmingham.
Whatever the occasion, Michael Jay the Freelance Chef and his team take the stress and strain out of entertaining. His clients return time and time again, and have grown up with him – from their family engagement parties, weddings, and christenings to significant birthdays. “People seem to use my services because of my ability to overcome logistical problems and foresee any that may occur. An eye for detail always ensures the clients are happy. From the largest to the smallest, there’s always some logic in people’s kitchens and I have the ability to adapt what’s there, and what’s needed.” Other celebrities Michael Jay has catered for include Imran Khan, Nigel Planer, Jane Birkin, Judy Campbell (‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’), Sir Ian McKellen, Robert Lindsey, Sir Ralph Halpern, Kenny Lynch, Kylie Minogue, and The Spice Girls before they were famous. He has broadcast on Radio and TV and has been a prize “Win a Chef for the night/Dinner Party Chef” for many glossy magazines and supermarket promotions. Michael’s team of professional butlers and waiting staff have taken on board the attention to detail, and with the best support services including equipment hire, florists, music etc a first-class service is assured. Whatever the occasion Michael Jay the Freelance Chef offers a first-class product. The food is varied and of the highest quality.
Having travelled extensively in France and attended many wine tastings in Dijon, Bordeaux, and London, Michael is able to advise on wines – whether on a budget, or vintage Champagnes and clarets. There is a clear and precise menu package, letting clients create their own menu at prices they wish to pay. Michael Jay, always one for being innovative, is constantly on the look for new business opportunities. Being approached by a major pizza manufacturer to help them develop a new concept in the home pizza market. Michael Jay strived for perfection. It wasn’t good enough to have a great tasting topping when the base lacked in quality too. The new base had to taste fresh, new, and ultimately please the consumer. It had to hold up to the generous amount of topping, without ending up in the consumer’s lap. Before he could present his creation to his client, Michael taste tested every single pizza. He had it tasted by everyone who walked through his door, and only after taking the constructive comments on board, and fine-tuning the recipe would he feel confident in presenting the finished product to his client. It’s with this eye for detail, and the vast range of variation in the consumer’s palate that makes Michael’s new venture, ‘developmentchef.com’ the right choice to make.