On the Job with Personal Chef Terence Rogers

Chef Terence Rogers creates magical moments in the comfort of your own home.

Personal Chef Terence Rogers.
Photo by Ryan Dearth.

From slingin’ pizzas in Vermont to working food trucks in Boston and cooking farm-to-table fine dining in Boston, New York and now Denver—Terence Rogers has learned creative ways to serve unique dishes. Today, as owner of Denver-based TBD Foods, he says the best way to create in the kitchen is by utilizing local, sustainable food. From Front Range’s local farmers, mushroom and microgreen growers to ranchers, Chef Terence and his team believe a recipe is only as good as the quality of ingredients. Here’s how Chef Terence can help you enjoy local, sustainable fine dining in the comfort of your own home without any hassle or clean up.

What made you become a Chef?
“During college, I started cooking for myself more and more. I initially wanted to move to Colorado after graduating college to work as a snowboard instructor but I didn’t have the cash. So, I did the next best thing, moved to Vermont and got a job taking photos for folks at the top of the lift. Still lacking money for bills, I got a job at a wood fired pizza restaurant. After being awful for the first two months, I got the hang of the pace and rhythm of the kitchen and was hooked. From there, I looked into becoming a chef as a career, moved back to Boston and continued to cook and expand my culinary knowledge.”

Why is working at people’s homes in their personal kitchens so special?
“Working in one’s home can be very different than at the restaurant. When you work the line, it’s rare you get to interact with guests, whereas when we’re cooking offsite, we are in constant communication with the guests and host to make sure everything is taken care of—not only the food but clean up and anything else that they may need. It definitely feels more personal as a lot of folks don’t host parties often and it’s our job to not only create great food but also to create a memorable evening that involves handling other issues a client might have.”

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Do your clients request specific menus?
“Typically, our clients will fill out an inquiry form from our website, call or email us to give us the details about the event (date, guest, etc.). From there, we send over our current seasonal menu to start the conversation. After the client reviews the information then we can help them put together their ideal menu that fits what they are looking for and their budget. Of course, we can always do custom menus for our clients but most of the time we work off of our seasonal menu.”

What is your creative process?
“I have an in-depth process for our seasonal menus where I will spend about two weeks brainstorming, reviewing and refining our seasonal menu. Looking back at what we did the year before, reading cook books and just being around food to look for inspiration. Occasionally to kick start my brain, I’ll listen to some music real loud in my headphones and walk around yelling silly things to get my brain loose and in a more open-mind state.”

How do you prepare your food?
“We do a little of both, we do a lot of the heavy lifting at our restaurant, Sullivan Scrap Kitchen. From making the pasta or seasoning meats, making sauces, anything that is really lengthy. Then, on site we put together the final touches, searing a piece of meat, cooking the pasta, cutting vegetables, really to ensure things are as fresh as possible.”

What is a scratch kitchen?
“Our restaurant, Sullivan Scrap Kitchen focuses on reducing food waste and sustainability in the kitchen. We want to ensure we are cooking nose-to-tail and root-to-tip with all of our products. With our catering arm TBD Foods, we can have off cuts of meats, vegetable ends, peels or even something like extra risotto. With our menu changing weekly at the restaurant, this really allows us the flexibility to ensure anything extra from catering doesn’t get wasted and left behind. Prepping items for both businesses under the same roof allows us to safely see in real time what we will have extra of as we are prepping.”