Chandler Chef Robbie Held is a lifelong cook SanTan Sun News

Chandler Chef Robbie Held is a lifelong cook

November 5th, 2020 Editorial Staff
Chandler Chef Robbie Held is a lifelong cook
Business
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By Coty Dolores Miranda
Contributor

When Robert ‘Robbie’ Held was 5, growing up in an Italian family in suburban Chicago, he learned to whip up some spaghetti and meatballs.

At age 7, he was consumed by his grandmother’s and mother’s cookbooks.

“I read cookbooks like they were comic books,” Held quipped.

His love of cooking continued through a hospitality career that included bartending, and heading his own marketing firm after moving to Arizona in 2007.

Yet, it was cooking and launching his business as a personal chef that won out.

He’s thankful he chose that path.

“I’ve always done private parties for friends, and then people started reaching out to me. After the calls started coming in regularly, I decided to start my own business,” Held said. “I have complete insurance, I follow CDC guidelines and I’m finding in-home personal chef services are more in demand since COVID.”

His business, Health Held in Hand, began in the fall 2019 and immediately took root. He now has five employees and has landed a number of high-profile clients, including local athletes in the NBA and NFL.

Chef Robbie, as his clients and friends call him, said unlike many businesses, the pandemic has actually been a boon for him.

“Business was going decently before COVID, but since the shutdown and even now, my business has more than doubled,” he said. “People were and some still are afraid to go out, and I bring the restaurant experience to them.”

Whether Chef Robbie books a romantic dinner for two or a dinner party of 10, he says he makes the process painless for those hiring him.

“I do all the shopping, the prepping, the cooking and the clean-up; I do everything,” he said, adding he’s not always hidden away in the kitchen.

“Sometimes I’ll give the people a taste of what I’m cooking and that whets their appetites for what’s coming”

Though Chef Robbie has clients throughout the valley, he proudly states more than  half come from the Chandler area.

“I’m a local business, I like keeping the business in the community,” said the Chandler resident, who met his wife Angela in the frozen food aisle of a local Fry’s supermarket.

“You know that meet-up scene with Steve Martin in ‘My Blue Heaven’? Well,  that’s how I met my wife except I tripped and fell flat on  my face. Then I introduced myself.”

Chef Robbie’s in-home chef services can be a one-time special event or on a regularly-contracted basis.

Dan Oswald, principal at Scottsdale-based Oswald Consulting, had Chef Robbie and Health Held in Hand on a contractual basis, sometimes an average of 17 hours weekly, and said he was pleased with the service.

“Chef Robbie was our personal chef for various months this year and the overall experience was great,” Oswald said. “He experimented a bit in our kitchen, resulting in meals that were both unique and delicious. He was always prepared with the freshest ingredients and emphasized clean eating.”

Alexandra Loye, senior vice president of Healthcare & Life Sciences Services/Arizona hired Health Held in Hand for a dinner party.

“Chef Robbie was so personable. He tailored our private dining experience at my home to the theme I chose, which was a Latin theme, with drink and food options,” said Loye.

“He was prompt and had a lot of positive energy which made me have confidence immediately that the night was going to be fabulous. I was able to relax with my guests versus serve them and he cleaned everything up before leaving which is the perfect end to any hostess’s dinner party.”

The chef admits much goes into each home visit whether it is for family or a group. Not only does he work with the client on the menu, serve multiiple courses, navigate dietary limitations, purchase the ingredients and travel to your home but with his usual flourish and handlebar mustache, he presents the dinner as theater.

And he says even with the loosening of pandemic parameters, people appreciate being able to have the restaurant feel without the worry.

“You know with everything that’s going on these days, it’s kind of scary to go out to restaurants.,” he said. “You don’t know where your server, or their co-workers, or their other past clients have been.

“With me you get a healthy chef, that goes shopping the day of your events so you get the freshest, handpicked products available. No additives or preservatives. All fresh, made with love, in your own home.”

“We do everything with safety and health in mind,” he said.

Chef Robbie is also working on a line of organic baby food.

Information: ChefRobbieH.com or find him on Facebook

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