The Rise of the Private Chef

In recent years, a new career path has opened for those who know how to cook quality food. A personal chef can be hired on an ongoing basis, making life easier for those with lots of cash to spare, and not enough time or energy to cook healthy, tasty meals. Or they can be hired out for short-term jobs.

Let’s take a closer look at this form of catering and see how it might match with your ambitions.

What is a private chef?

A private chef works directly for a family or individuals. They can be hired by the day or by the event or on longer-term contracts to provide the full range of catering for the household.

For a day booking, you’ll typically be provided with a headcount and you should ensure that you have a full account of any particular dietary needs, allergies, and intolerances. The customer may have a menu prepared, but more likely they will want to discuss this with you and consider your recommendations. They may want you to buy in the ingredients and you should receive payment in advance for that and for your travel costs. 

Private chefs may also ‘live in’ and provide a full-service menu for the household. They also frequently accompany their boss on international travel and holidays.

In many cases, private chefs are working on behalf of individuals with an ultra-high net worth, who want to be catered to over a specific period. If you’re jetting around the globe, then arranging cuisine that can be relied upon requires specialist help. You might have a single private chef, or you might have several – so that one can be sent to wherever your next destination might be, to source quality ingredients and to prepare them for your arrival.

A private chef might serve food in a host of exotic locations, including aeroplanes and yachts. If you’re living a certain kind of lifestyle, then you might find that this is the only practical way to take care of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How popular has the service become in recent years?

With the Covid-19 pandemic having had a disastrous impact on the restaurant trade, many chefs have looked for work privately. Many of them have decided that this kind of work suits their needs much better. 

In the United States, there are around 5,000 chefs working in this way – meaning that it’s a minority, but a sizeable one. In the UK, we see similar numbers.

What are some of the benefits of hiring a private chef?

Clients pay a considerable amount to hire a private chef. So, what are the advantages?

First, a private chef will provide a quality of food that you can’t reasonably expect from any other form of catering. Second, clients will be able to set out a menu according to their precise tastes. They won’t need to worry about what goes on in the kitchen – the chef will source all of their own knives and pan sets. The client will get food according to their schedule, and dietary requirements, wherever they happen to be. Plus, it’s a chance to impress upon their fellow diners that they have the resources necessary to hire a private chef. 

How to become a private chef?

You will need both qualifications and experience to be considered for a private chef position. Your training should cover all areas of cooking and associated health and safety. If you can cater well for particular diets, such as vegan and gluten-free, then this can help you to stand out against the competition.

The higher level of experience you have, particularly if you have worked in a prestigious kitchen, the higher-level salary or fee you will be able to command.

Conclusion

Demand is growing for private chefs. If you have toiled for years in high-pressure commercial kitchens, catering for a family, with the added bonus of potential travel to glamourous locations could be an attractive alternative. The opportunities are out there, all you need is a good CV, a friendly personality, and the skills and experience already under your belt.