Dozens of male chefs across Frederick County—the professionals behind the perfectly plated dishes—are fathers working to support their families. Frederick’s Child profiles Chris Spear of Perfect Little Bites to discuss his work and the secret ingredients he brings to fatherhood.
Being a chef was the only occupation Chris Spear ever wanted to be. His mother stayed at home until he was in the sixth grade, and he learned to cook from her. “I got to hang out with my mom every afternoon, and quite often, I ended up helping put dinner on the table,” he says. He began working in kitchens at age 16 and served in several executive positions before deciding to start his personal chef business Perfect Little Bites in 2010.
Spear always wanted to have a restaurant but knew the venture would be expensive and take up most of his day. While working for a catering company, customers would often reach out asking if someone could cater a small dinner for two or four, and he knew based on this feedback that there would be a market for a personal chef.
“I started doing it, and I really loved it. I thought this is how I could have my own restaurant without having a restaurant,” he says. “I can still make really interesting food. I can plate it the way you would have in a restaurant, set a table for people, use fine china and linens and give a restaurant experience without having to have the crazy overhead of having a restaurant, plus it gave me a lot of flexibility.”
In 2018, Spear started the popular Facebook group Chefs Without Restaurants as a way to help other food entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses. Starting as a small referral network, the group has grown to an international audience of thousands and offers a podcast featuring educational topics and food success stories.
A dad to twin 9-year-olds, Spear is enjoying seeing them discover similar interests with him. This summer, he will be taking both to their first concerts: New Order and AJR. He and his son Ben take karate classes together at the YMCA while he and his daughter Abby cook together, including making churros, tortillas, French macarons and eclairs.
“I realize how limited that (time with my kids) is going to be,” he says. “They are 9. They are halfway to potentially being out of the house, and I am trying to take all of that time in now while I can, which is why it was important to look at my career and find a way that I could have more balance and spend time with the family.”