Private Cooking Lessons -- What to charge?

Joined Aug 20, 2001
Hi Everyone,

I am a former NYC chef-instructor. I taught at Peter Kump's and Kings Cooking Studio for about 4 years.

I have since moved from that area to the Catskills and I need help with pricing.

I want to offer Home Cooking Parties to clients -- where I help the client develop a menu and I shop for it . I'd divide the guests into groups - depending on how many there are and put them to work. Hands-on or Demo would be up to the client -- cheaper for a demo. I guess you would charge per person, plus the cost of the food and labor involved. I just don't how much.

In NYC, private chefs I think get around $25/hour and up --
I don't think I'd get anywhere near that up here in New York State. Well, actually, I'm in Woodstock which has some pretty high-profile residents anyway.

I'm not looking to rip anyone off -- I want to charge a fair price that is also worth my while.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can determine what to charge for something like this?

Also, if a client wanted a private cooking lesson in their home, what rate do you think would be in the ball park?

I would really appreciate any help. Thank you sooo much!


Joined Nov 29, 2001
I went to Kump! It's so nice to see someone else talk about the school here.

For your classes, where you will teach them is nearly as important as what you will teach. If you teach in NYC, the sky's pretty much the limit given your credentials. However, you're teaching in Upstate NY and unless your clientele are very affluent (which is possible), you'd have to scale down the price.

* Is it a very small town you live in? Beware of this. Small town people are less likely to want to try something new. Believe me - I live in one now and it's Hooterville to the "nth" degree.

* Have you determined there is a market for this? If so, you can charge more than the I'm-begging-you-to-take-my-class price. Do this research, it can save you a lot of money-loss and heartache later. There's nothing worse than investing your time and passion into something and have it not work. (And yes, I speak from experience.)

* What do you feel, per hour, your time, expertise and experience are worth? BE HONEST. If you think your time is worth $10 an hour, great. But in your heart of hearts, if you think it's worth $75 an hour, then don't skimp or you will resent teaching the classes instead of loving it.

* After charging the "per hour" price, figure in ingredients.

It's easier with a restaurant because 4x ingredient cost usually does it. Will you do it in your own kitchen or set up a commercial kitchen space or do it at the clients' homes? All factors. Whatever you do, CHARGE ENOUGH. Sell yourself like you're a cross between Jacques Torres and Julia Child. You have to make it appear to these people as though they NEED these classes - like any other service.

For starters, you might consider running some kind of special "Two Classes for the Price of One" to each new student until you get a following. Get people in the door but don't let it cost you your shirt. Losing a truckload of money really sucks the joy out of it.

When I was at Kump, I had Ruth Van Waerebeek and Nancy Newman as teachers. I did all 8 Techs, plus Spa, Canning and some other courses. I loved that school and didn't like it one bit when they changed the name. I still refuse to use the new name - it will ALWAYS be Peter Kump's.
Joined May 29, 1999
Here, Here, I was just writing an article and had to refer to Nick Malgierie as being from The Institute formerly Peter Kumps. Well, who started the school? Gerrrrr...................

I live on Long Island and I charge for a one on one class, $75 per hour plus travel and ingredients. For a party or group it is a flat fee of $300 for 3 hours or less. People seem to be okay with it and I do LOADS of charity work to get my name out and help people get funding for really good causes. Since the 11th I have done 5 fund raisers, only one paied for the food. So you give and take! It is all about balance. If I charged less for classes, I would not have the ability to give my time to charities.
Does this make any scence?
You might like to get in touch with kitchenware stores and see if you can't do demo's for them expecting barter for your time. Also, ask local restaurants to open their kitchen to you to teach their cuisine to start and build your own clientel.
Good luck!
Joined Oct 16, 2001
when you have to put a monetary value on what you do it can be very hard ,but understand that you are sharing your years of knowledge and what you went thru to gain that. the going price in nyc would be fine to charge so you are not in the city but your knowledge certainly is big city.true? i know where you are located i was in an auto accident there coming back from hunter mountain. so if these people had to travel to the city they would spend alot more .right? good luck.
Joined Jun 3, 2013

I give cooking lessons in my home in Massachusetts and I charge $65 a person for "Hands on".

I hope this is helpful.

Joined Jan 4, 2011
Hey MoeKerk ... It's really cool that you have joined our board, and are trying your best to be friendly and helpful, but ... the date of the last post before yours is 12/9/01.

I'm not all so sure the OP is in so much need of any more responses.   You've joined a very nice group of people responding to very old topics though.   The membership is quite distinguished.   LOL.  
Joined Jun 3, 2013

Thanks for the heads up................................I guess I got over enthusiast!  Have patience with me I am the new kid on the block. LOL.

But, a quick study.

Joined Jan 4, 2011
LOL backatcha!!!     It's AG my friend (all good).   "Enthusiasm" is never something to apologize for. 
Joined May 29, 2006
When I taught in the school system we got 28.00 per hour and that was 20 years ago.  You have Sullivan Comm. College as competitor . $50.00 per hour  2.5 hour minimum
Joined Jan 11, 2016

Can anyone give me an idea as to what you would charge for personlized cooking instruction one on one or small group. Is it an hourly wage or by appointment? And who generally pays for the food costs. Would you include the cost of the food in your wage or bill it separately?

I also am specialized as being health supportive.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, Brenda
Joined Jan 19, 2014
I think the figures given earlier in this thread, adjusted for 15 years inflation, gives you the answer you're looking for. Food should always be separate. A lesson on pan roasting lobster will be greatly different than say, making pasta.
Joined Jan 11, 2016
Thank you Cape Cod Chef! One more thing for now. How do you factor in travel monetarily? If you charge 50.00 an hour for the class and it takes you 30 minutes to get there, is travel expense another 50.00 for both ways?
Joined Sep 6, 2016
This is great! thank you! I am returning to culinary school at OSUIT (Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology) soon and was wondering what a fair to lower end price would be for a class led by a newly graduated culinary student that is a private tutoring class. I am concerned about what the proper cost would be for someone looking to start a private business in Oklahoma. I appreciate any advice.
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