There are so many different ways to craft a career out of your culinary skills.
Which one will work for you? It's even possible you may dabble in more than one in your lifetime.
Personal Chef vs. Private Chef
The personal versus private chef is the most confusing to people. In summary, a private chef works for just one client while a personal chef has many clients.
As a private chef, you are an employee of your client and may receive benefits such as paid vacation time or health insurance. Sure, it's great that you have "for sure" income each month, but the drawback is that you are still an employee and lack the freedom of being your own boss.
The contract between you and your employer will lay out the terms of the job to include days of the week you will work and how long you are guaranteed a...
You've been receiving emails from me for over a year now. At the beginning of our introduction, you probably received the 10-step action checklist of things to do before beginning your personal chef business.
Did you implement the steps at that time?
Is this you:
But how do you know if the personal chef business is right for you?
I'm going to give you a pre-launch business strategy.
But don’t take my word for it! Put it to the test and see what the checklist tells you.
If you're a cook or chef wanting to start and build a successful personal chef business so you have...
Have you ever thought about, "What are the worst case scenarios while cooking in a client's home? What could go wrong?!"
First, let's talk about stress. Stress is not welcome in the kitchen. What’s the point of stress? It’s not helping anything. Freaking out over the fact that the family used up all the olive oil at breakfast isn't going to make the olive oil appear. Being solution oriented is helpful, while stressing out about a situation is not helpful.
Missing Key Ingredients
A client responds to your grocery list and says they have flour for your macaroni and cheese recipe. When you arrive, however, the kids went on a baking spree yesterday and used all the flour up.
What do you do? It’s time to improvise or head to the store.
This is going to happen a lot. You may have taken inventory of their spices and kept great records, but upon arrival learn they just made a big pot of chili and used all the...
You've likely set up a radius around a particular neighborhood as your service area. This is the ideal area of your community that you'd like to accept jobs.
Depending on the style of community you live in, your service radius could be as small as 15 miles or as wide as 45 miles. What happens if someone asks for a job outside your service radius? Should you charge a travel fee?
This is actually a business decision and something to think now. You could have a firm "I only travel to this area" policy or you could be open to traveling for hours. Time and money are not the only factors here, however. You have to first think about the safety of your clients. Are you able to pack up a large quantity of groceries and travel for three hours?
Once you've established this criteria, you can be open to the next question. "If I do accept a job three hours away, would the client be willing to pay for my travel time?" Just because a client appears to...
It wouldn't be fair to make generalizations such as ALL personal chefs do this or ALL personal chefs have this quality. That said, there are a few qualities that would help a personal chef excel in his or her business.
First, it sure does help to be personable. You've probably met or even have friends who have said "I don't like people". Truly, that just means they don't have good communication skills and have difficulty expressing themselves or understanding the expressions of others.
#2 Enjoyment in Helping
If you don't enjoy helping others or have patience when it comes to working with people, you may not do well as a personal chef.
Our profession is all about meeting people in their homes and making them feel comfortable with the fact that the chef is going to be all alone in their house, often having access to door codes and other private information. Making others feel at ease is often something that comes naturally to...
If you work in any kitchen setting cooking for the public, you’re currently wearing a mask while you work. My guess is that we’re going to have to wear this mask for a while. A face covering plus glasses is a fog nightmare. Next, add headphones to the mix, argh.
Do I have to?
The mask takes away from the sense of smell. I can't smell when my almonds are done toasting. I can't smell when the cake is almost ready to come out of the oven. The mask takes this away from me.
Argh. Heck yeah it's inconvenient.
Well, here's what OSHA says: “Select and implement appropriate engineering controls (e.g., physical barriers/shields to separate workers, enhanced ventilation), and administrative controls (e.g., staggering work shifts, limiting breakroom capacity, practicing social distancing, replacing in-person meetings with video-conference calls, ensuring workers wear appropriate face coverings, such as cloth face masks, to...
Are you as tired of fake news as I am?
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 great 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...
It's a common question, "What kind of tips should I expect following a meal prep session or dinner party?"
A seasoned business owner knows that tips are not always part of offering a service. There are those who offer generous tips and there are those who are loyal customers, but never ever give monetary tips.
The reality is that just because your client appears to have money to spend doesn't mean you're going to receive a tip. As a business owner, you must come to this understanding quickly or you'll begin resenting your clients, which may result in the downfall of your business.
If you're going into a job expecting a tip, you're setting yourself up for potential disappointment.
You're in the service industry, therefore offering a service in exchange for money. Going into the job, your client is already aware of how much your service costs, so if you feel you deserve more, you should charge a higher service fee.
Offering to perform...
I'm often surprised at items that some client kitchens don’t have like a cheese grater, citrus press, or liquid measuring cup. For this reason, I bring along a small box of kitchen gear...but it wasn't always like this.
When I first started, I would pack specifically for the client’s kitchen I was visiting. If I knew the house didn’t have a good non-stick skillet, I would bring that, my favorite cooking spoon, and of course knives.
As my clientele built up and for ease of packing each morning, I now have a basic checklist of kitchen gear that fits into a small plastic bin brought to every appointment. Here's a link to pretty much everything in my everyday box >>
There is much discussion about knives out there. Everyone has a different style, but I’m a minimalist and use my basic chef’s knife for everything plus a small paring knife for cutting small items such as deveining shrimp.
I also always bring my...
Before becoming a personal chef, I would peruse the internet for hours, trying to find the answers to what I thought were common questions about the personal chef profession.
Extremely limited information came up when searching for the answer to my question, "what should I be asking new meal prep clients at a consultation?"
I couldn't find a single article written by a personal chef. There were plenty of non-authorities sharing their idea of questions you should ask a personal chef when hiring as well as numerous culinary associations trying to get me to attend their schools and expensive groups, but alas no advice from someone in the profession.
Interestingly, the articles about "what to ask your personal chef" appeared to be written by someone clearly never having hired or interviewed a personal chef. The questions were highly redundant.
As a seasoned personal chef, I can share with you that when someone calls to set up a consultation about...