One person’s indulgence is another’s convenience and, after all, Martha’s Vineyard is no stranger to excess in the summertime. But more visitors looking to spend more money in the name of creating a memorable vacation is excellent news for Island workers, who also have an agenda during the on-season.

“I live here year-round,” Erin Leighton said by way of explanation. “I’m not really going to a lot of catered parties or private dinners.” But as the concierge at Point B Realty, she is the go-to girl for many vacationers looking to bring a chef into their home for a meal or maybe for a week. She’s got a list of about eight chefs who she connects with guests who don’t want to worry about food shopping, meal planning, cooking or clean up.

To me, it sounds like the most luxurious service that money can buy, but Leighton insists that the gap between people spending 50K a week on a rental and a couple of families going in on a cottage together is closing when it comes to certain indulgences. “Along with securing bike rentals, booking private chefs is the number one request I get from concierge clients,” said Leighton.

Leighton calls on chef Shane Tank regularly. Tank has been cooking on the Island for five seasons, first at the Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha and then with one of the Island’s premier caterers. Last year he went out on his own, launching his private chef/catering company Premier Chef Services. “It’s been kind of a dream,” he said, “I put it all on the line and went for it.”

People seek Tank’s culinary expertise for a range of services from lavish brunches to drop-off lunches and fancy dinners. There is no job too big or small; Tank is equally happy to contract with a group for every meal of their entire stay or to organize a one-time, laid-back clambake, though he does like when a client gives him creative control.

Madeleine “Maddy” Ezanno might have the same job title - private chef - as Shane Tank but their work is very different. Maddy has worked for the same family from May through September for twelve years. She knows their preferences, wants and distastes intimately. She was hired because of her background in healthy cooking and he clients encourage her to continue honing her skills in the off-season.

Maddy is skilled in macrobiotic, vegan, raw and Ayurvedic cooking though she is hesitant to categorize herself as a strict adherent to one particular style. Though she concedes, “I’m really into raw, vegan food at the moment.” Which means that her clients are too.

Maddy makes lunch and dinner for her clients on most days and if they happen to have other plans she can busy herself refilling fruit bowls or preparing sauces, breads and her signature raw chocolate bar. If the clients are throwing a dinner party, they often call Maddy to the dining room to talk food. She loves explaining to unsuspecting guests how she made ‘cheese’ from nuts and chowder with no dairy or gluten. And she likes drawing the connection between healthy eating and support for local farmers. “Really we’re all just learning from each other,” she said.

Robin Ledoux-Forte, an Island chef with decades of experience, has no interest in wielding control of the menu. “I’m not cooking for my ego or for whatever the latest trend is,” she said. “I make what my clients want. And I like seeing their fridges stocked with the things that they like.” Before breaking into the world of private cooking, Ledoux-Forte was the chef at Theo’s at the Inn at Blueberry Hill before it closed permanently in 2008. “Dinner service was like theatre, and we had a blast,” she said of her twelve years at Theo’s. “And I really liked being the Queen Bee up there.”

But some of the less demanding, more intimate aspects of private chef life suit her just fine. Some of her clients come from realtor referrals and most are word of mouth. “I like to know who I’m cooking for,” she said, “I don’t really wait on people anymore. I don’t do cocktail parties. But I love going to the farm stand for just a few things. When there isn’t so much production you can do that.”

Like Ezanno, Ledoux-Forte especially enjoys creating menus with food sensitivities in mind. She has catered to diabetics and kids with severe food allergies and she thinks that being open to cooking for folks with limitations helps keep her cooking skills sharp. Recently she learned how to make chia pudding. “It’s really a lot of fun.”