Darn the fake news I read...
Myth #1 Personal Chefs Work for the Rich and Famous
Reading headline news, you would think that all personal chefs work for celebrities and the ultra-rich. I suppose it does make for good clickbait having a celebrity name in the title of an article. In real life, however, the people that hire personal chefs are those that value time over money.
Most of my clients are average moms and dads with school aged children. They work all day on Zoom and homeschooling their kids then are delighted to have meals waiting for them in the refrigerator. They value their time and are willing to exchange money for time by having someone come into their home and prepare meals for them. The average client of a personal chef is definitely not a celebrity or ultra-rich.
Myth #2 Personal Chef Clients Don’t Know How to Cook
Most people know how to clean a house, but housekeepers are in constant demand. People that hire housekeepers value their time over money. They would rather spend more time with their family, playing sports, or doing work they enjoy rather than spending time in the kitchen. It’s all about personal values.
The clients I work for definitely know how to cook and prepare nutritious meals, but they would rather spend the time with their family than in the kitchen preparing meals. They’re choosing time over money.
Myth #3 Personal Chefs Must Be Available 24/7
There are two kinds of chefs that work in private homes.
A personal chef has several clients and comes to a house weekly or as needed to prepare everyday meals. This same personal chef may also cook for small events and dinner parties at these client homes. Some personal chefs only work dinner parties and do not perform any meal prep.
The other kind of chef is called a "private chef" in which one client has hired them to work only for them. They are often on salary and may receive benefits. There are usually contracts in place with terms stating the days and times the chef must be available.
It is possible, but rare, to see a contract that states you must be available 24/7 as a private chef. As a personal chef, this would never be the case since you would work for several clients as a business owner rather than as an employee of one client.
Myth #4 The Clients of Personal Chefs Are Always Hosting Parties
I have been a personal chef for almost ten years now. Half of my clients host annual events, sometimes several times a year in their home. The other half of my clients hire solely for meal prep. I may also take on dinner parties from those that are not my regular clients, usually one-time-only events from people visiting the area in Airbnbs.
If I said yes to every event that came my way, indeed I would probably be working every Saturday of the year. Most commonly, my regular clients have dinner parties in early fall and early spring. Airbnb events are usually late spring through mid Autumn.
Myth #5 Personal Chefs Know How to Cook Everything
If they want elaborate French cooking, I’m not the chef for them, but if they would like light dinners heavy on vegetables, I’m the chef for them. Not just personal chefs, but most chefs in general, have a specialty they enjoy cooking and have spent a lot of time perfecting.
It wouldn’t be possible for one chef to know how to cook every style of food well. That would be like a professor being proficient in every educational topic possible.
Myth #6 All Personal Chefs Have Extensive Culinary Arts Training
Personal chefs and chefs in general have diverse backgrounds. Some may have been raised in a family that owned a restaurant, may have worked in a restaurant since they were fifteen, had a grandmother who showed them how to cook everything from scratch, or just have an intense passion about cooking.
Formal education is not the only way to learn culinary skills. If someone were welding for twenty years, wouldn't you call them a welder, even if they didn't attend a formal school to learn how, but instead learned on the job?
The clients wants to know if you can help them with their problem. They often don't care where you went to school or how you learned to cook. They may be interested as a topic of conversation, but it's rarely a determining factor in the hiring process.
Myth #7 Personal Chef Judge Other Cooks
If you invited me to your home and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were on the menu for dinner, I’d be content. The fact alone that someone else is cooking would delight me. It really doesn’t matter what you’re cooking, I’m pleased to not have to be the one cooking on my day off.
I have a feeling other personal chefs would feel the same. We're not judging your cooking. We're stoked you're the one doing the cooking!
It's wonderful to see perspectives on how others run their personal chef business. If you'd like to share your personal chef journey, I'd be honored to have you as the next guest post.