Up until recently, I did very little cooking. And the “cooking” I did mainly revolved around microwaving something. The only thing I could make with an actual pot or pan was queso for potlucks and macaroni and cheese when I had no other options.
That wasn’t that big a deal when it was easy to go to restaurant and get take out. But I needed to figure out a new plan.
That’s when I found Rene Helit, a new private chef here in Austin. Not only is he a heck of a chef, but he has a heck of a story (It includes love and romance on the high seas. Seriously.) It only made sense to have him be the next story in our Spotlight Series.
Check out how he got started, his new party ideas and the discounts for Everything Austin Apartment readers.
EAA: How did you get into cooking?
Rene: I got into the culinary field because in high school, I hated eating at the cafeteria.
EAA: I wonder what the cafeteria works would say if they knew what an inspiration they were.
Rene: From there I want to a culinary program called Prostart. I started there and gained a passion for pastries and desserts. I worked at several hotels while I was in the Culinary Arts program for college and graduated with a Associate of Arts degree in 2016. An opportunity popped up for working with a cruise ship in Hawaii, so I decided to take that opportunity to grow on the hot and savory side. I took the chance and cooked there for 2 years until I moved to Austin, TX. The cruise line shaped me to be who I am as a chef today.
EAA: What exactly do you do as a private chef?
Rene: My services includes meal preps, private dinners, and small in-home parties. I create the menu and recipes specifically for each client based on their wants, needs, diets, or fitness goals. Whatever my clients’ want, I will cook. This includes the menu development, the ingredients, the cooking, and the clean up kitchen uses.
EAA: Who are your ideal clients?
Rene: My ideal clients would be those who are in need of a private chef for their homes. Especially people who are interested eating more international cuisine. New moms and families can have me cook for them as well so they can focus on their life, their job, and their family. Whether it be for their meal prep, their special occasions, or their home parties. I take care of the cooking for anyone, and happy to do so! People who are into fitness can get in contact me as well because I can help them reach their fitness goals.
EAA: How do you help with that?
Rene: I provide nutritional macros for my specific recipes for each clients. Most chefs don’t do this due to the extra work, but I definitely do it for my fitness clients. I like helping them keep track of their calories, fat, carbs, and protein counts on a daily.
EAA: I definitely want you to talk about your house parties.
Rene: It’s whats called a Kamayan Feast. A Kamayan Feast is composed of different Filipino foods that are served on a spread of banana leaves and eaten with hands and no utensils. It’s an amazing way to doing a small party gathering because the food is laid in front of everyone around the table and we can all enjoy and socialize together. No one is eating at a separate table. It is unique to my Filipino culture and it is something I love introducing to people.
EAA: When did you get to Austin?
Rene: I got to Austin at the end of January 2019. I moved here from Guam after meeting my girlfriend on the cruise ship.
EAA: What would you recommend to people moving here?
Rene: Austin, TX is a big college and party city. It is full of music, art, parties, and festivals. Anyone who moves here should be aware of how busy the and traffic the city is but also see how fun it will be with the cool events. I would recommend people experience ACL and SXSW at least once when they live here. Check out local bands! My brother-in-law’s band is called Law By the Gun so check them out as well! Oh, do check out some kayaking and paddle boarding!
EAA: What is your favorite Austin thing that most people don’t know about?
Rene: I’m still fairly new to Austin. I haven’t been out so much since I moved here because I went straight to work and love being a workaholic. It is hard to say what is something that most people don’t know about because everyone who’s here knows pretty much everything that goes on. There’s barely secret swimming spots too. I guess the one favorite thing that I enjoy about living in Austin that not a lot of people knows about is that there are some pretty cool Facebook groups to be part of to do meet ups and enjoy life here! New to Austin 20/30s is a great Facebook group to be part of and meet new people. They do a bunch of activities together almost every week so people should check it out!
EAA: Any charities or non-profits you work with?
Rene: I have worked with Austin Pets Alive recently this year and is pretty much the only organization I got to know since being here in Austin. I love animals so shout out to them!
Of course, if you want to learn more about Rene you can check out his website. He is also offering Everything Austin Apartment readers several discounts to try out. 10% off for Meal Prep clients when they book for every week for at least a month. 10% off a 3-Course Private Dinners when the total is $250 or more. And finally 10% off any Kamayan Feast.