Personal Chef industry is very tricky and requires above all else, sales ability. It is a given that you have to be a great cook/chef, but your networking and closing skills are what will let you succeed. With the advent of all the fresh healthy meals by mail now (i.e. blue apron) it is even harder to make a go of it. I understand the draw, but even when done well, it is still a lot of work for little reward. It is very limiting. Even if you are fully booked, unless you are getting top dollar, it doesn't really pay that well.
The dinner party/small event side can work, but at that point you should consider a catering business. Also, you can keep part of the concept of personal chef by renting time and space in a licensed commercial kitchen. You can make large batches of entrees and sides and sell them to families. My friend had a great "meals to go" place in a shared kitchen that ended up doing so well he has two sit downs and an "express" location in a business complex. It is a bit more investment to get it going, but if done well has unlimited upside. As far as starting with minimal effort in all I can say is "You get what you give"
I currently run a successful personal chef business, and have been doing it for 6 years. I get paid very well, and I can tell you there is DEFINITELY a market for personal chefs. There's no one single attribute that defines a successful personal chef, but if you're willing to put in the work, be professional, and organized, you can build a steady clientele over time.
If you want to learn more about what it takes to be a Personal Chef, check out Personal Chef Now's FREE Crash Course. I am a co-founder and instructor of the FREE Crash Course.
Chefross brings up some good points. These days, however, Personal Chefs can find potential clients in most US cities. Year after year, this industry continues to grow and it’s only gaining in acceptance and popularity.
Everyone learns differently. Our course was created specifically for people who are looking for a more structured approach to launching their Personal Chef business.
I completely agree that professionalism is of the utmost importance in my line of work.
Again Chris, if you have some time, check out the FREE Crash Course. It’s a great way (without any obligation) to learn about the industry.