Im thinking of being a personal Chef..Any Tips?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chef bryan, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. chef bryan

    chef bryan

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    Line Cook
    Im thinking of being a personal Chef..Any Tips? And what is the average hours per day a personal chef works....Also, what is the average salary?
  2. panini


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    I would be up on nutrition. I think the scale is sliding according to needs.
  3. boblovefood


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    Professional Chef
    Hi Chef Bryan,
    I am having the same question as you are. I found this new site called:, where you can buy/sell all the food items you want to. Pretty much like ebay, but only for food.

    I wrote something about it in another post:

    I think to be a personal chef will pay off, since the overhead is very low and people want more and more from their food. Put your menu and personal store on the site will help you to get your name out. Since they feature feedbacks and reviews for buyers and sellers, all your good deed will be noticed and recorded, which will translate to good business.

    Good luck!
  4. culinary merc

    culinary merc

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    try doing some catering work. just remember that if the food and location are great you have no problem.
  5. laprise


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    Professional Chef
    Hi Bryan,

    I have been a chef for 20 years, and last year I started my own company as a private chef.

    I make Ok money, but because overhead is so low, I can make a living.

    I work lot! 50 hours a week. I cook 4 to 14 time a month, but I promote non-stop, almost everyday, I have to go out and create a connection with potential customers. I have develop my business the same way as I did when I had a restaurant. Think big!

    I work with rental property in my area, so they can talk about me to their customers when they rent a holiday home. I made great connection with butchers, fish market stores so they reffer me customers. I have done lots of press release for the newspapers, local cable TV. And most of all, I have give my time top promote myself.

    It's great, I work for ME, I have only one boss and it's my wife:):)

    I can't call sick! but I can plan to be sick :):)


  6. shroomgirl


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    Professional Caterer
    We've posted alot on Cheftalk through the years on various ways to work Personal Cheffing. I can speak about my past experience but it's pretty individualized.

    I was newly divorced mother of three school age boys, one with a severe disability so it was important to:
    1) make a livable income, I'd been married to an atty and $10ph wasn't gonna hack it.

    2) do what I love (creative cooking)

    3) have school hours and if necessary be available for my sons.

    So, after much thought and through talking to others that were PCing in other parts of the was a new concept when I started 10 years ago. I worked out SOP that worked for me.

    Basically cost + standard pay.
    I'd have an initial meeting with BOTH spouses, very important.
    Run through several pages of likes-dislikes, how much food they want, how much energy they want to spend microwave, eat cold, bake in the oven etc.....
    How selecting menus/communication would happen.
    So, I'd go to the store with their check or credit card, buy food
    Go to their home and cook, package, leave directions.
    I got paid if they were on vacation or not.
    There is a 6-8 week adjustment period.
    Make sure there is a written agreement, does not need to be's important.
    I cook fast, there are no set recipes I'm extremely organized in a kitchen, so I don't work by the hour. There is an agreed upon amount of food being cooked and when I'm done I'm gone.

    What I discovered: finding people that are not fickle, that want to eat at home, that understand this is your living, that can doctor a dish that needs help. I also discovered that they don't want to pay YOU catering prices for parties when they are used to you cooking alot of food for $150-200.

    One good wedding nets the same amount as 30- 50 visits of personal cheffing.

    It was a good gig while my sons were young, I booked Mon-Thurs some days 2 clients. Ave. $550-1000 a week, net. My exspense were my car/gas and of course and publications, restaurant visits, food necessary for research and development. Fill in the pink smilie with tongue out.....why doesn't it work for me????!!!!

    So, now I manage a farmer's market (and all that entails), cater, consult (yes it is good money if you are hooked in), teach occasionally, direct food stages, write recipes for publications, direct events and every two weeks I cook for a priest.

    It's a joy. I told him recently that he was my only pc client and that I only cook for him because it's a blast. There are NO menus. I go shopping and decide at that time what I'm making. Head over to the rectory and in a very basic 4 burner stove, 2 ovens, crappy knives and some generic pans cook usually for 2-3 hours, Eat lunch with the secretary, priest and then leave.

    This week I made: wild mushroom red wine risotto (dried black trumpets with the rice, sauteed hen, shiitakes, french horns....), Pork loin with apricot-horseradish sauce and roasted pineapple, moussaka, veg soup, 2 salads....usually load them out with asp, sugar snaps, various greens, fruit (oranges, dried cranberries), hearts of palm (I know it's a oldy but goodie), roasted nuts (usually pecans). Vanilla bean poached pears (usually fruit dessert of some type).

    The time before it was: meatloaf with mashed potatoes and broccoli, halibut with lemon-caper-dillweed with roasted carrots and the mashed potatoes...(we had that for lunch), shrimp coconut green curry with basmati rice and loads of fresh veg, butternut soup, salads, Dried apricot strudel.

    I make about $50 an hour, eat a good lunch with interesting conversation from non-industry people in a real blue collar neighborhood that are very appreciative to have me show up, and cha ching it keeps me sharp. Personal Cheffing is very different than restaurant or catering work. I have all those meals going at once....I'm not waiting for someone nor doing mass quantities nor standing on my feet for hours on end nor shlepping shtuff.
    I don't want to do it everyday, it becomes a drag and I go on autopilot....
    Finding the right clients is 90% of the takes more energy to continue switching than it takes to know and work for the same people. I've cooked for the priest for 4 years. I cooked for the CFO of A-B for 7 years.....good people. If you put thought in at the beginning on what works for you, then you won't have as much tweeking down the road.

    Now that being said.....many of my friends are cooking set meals and delivering them. Others have developed a set repitore with recipes for their PC clients to pick from and they have a set fee....$300 for 8 meals for 2