How to Become a Personal Chef

• 23 June 2021

Personal Chef Career Overview

Love to cook and prepare elegant meals? Want to get paid for it? A career as a personal chef might be the right choice for you.

First, there’s a small but important distinction to be made between personal and private chefs. They perform similar work, but they’re not precisely the same. A personal chef prepares meals for several clients, typically on a rotating basis on different days, while a private chef is employed by one individual or family, often prepares all their meals, and may in fact live in the same residence as the client or in an adjacent house on the property. Personal chefs and private chefs work with their clients to design menus suited for their individual tastes and dietary requirements.

As a personal chef, you’ll meet regularly with your clients to plan out their menu a week or more in advance. This can be as detailed or as general as the client prefers. Some may have specific requirements, others will leave the details up to you.

Personal chefs typically charged a fixed price for their services, with groceries and other ingredients reimbursed by the client. If you are also asked to do the grocery shopping, be sure to build that time into your fee structure.

It’s important when working as a personal chef to follow the client’s directions closely. Not only is this just good customer service, but there may be certain dietary restrictions the client must follow – and it won’t be good for business if you make your customers sick.

To work as a personal chef, most states will require you to hold a business license. In some states you’ll also need to obtain a catering license. Contact your state and local licensing departments to determine the licensing requirements for personal chefs where you live.

A Personal Chef just starting out can expect to earn an average of $19.92 per hour based on 142 salary listings on PayScale. A mid-career Personal Chef with 5-9 years of experience earns an average of $20.81 per hour.

Resources to help in starting or expanding your Personal Chef career: