Career Stats

Cert/Assoc. Degree
View all jobs →

Would you like to post jobs on this career? We are launching a jobs product. Contact us to learn more.

Find your perfect career

Would you make a good personal chef? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

Take the free career test

What is a Personal Chef?

A Personal Chef is a specialized type of Culinary Chef. Also known as: Certified Personal Chef, Private Cook.

A personal chef is someone who is a trained cook, who prepares at-home meals for their clients for a fee. Personal chefs are usually employed by one family or one household; they will customize a meal plan according to the client's dietary needs and preferences, shop for the items, prepare the meal, and also clean up the kitchen after they're done. This saves their clients the time and effort needed to cook their own food, which can be very valuable to people that are extremely busy.

What does a Personal Chef do?

A personal chef's responsibilities include meal planning, shopping for ingredients, cooking, and cleaning up after the meals are made. Some personal chefs work in a client's home to cook a week's worth of meals, and are responsible for safe packaging, accurate labeling, and convenient storage of prepared items in their clients' refrigerator or freezer.

On special occasions, a personal chef may manage a team of cooks and act as a caterer. As a caterer, the personal chef and hired assistants may prepare foods that will be served to guests at a dinner party. This could be for a formal sit down dinner, or for a buffet style event.

Personal chefs work closely with their clients. They have to take into consideration their clients' preferences when customizing a meal plan. It is important to follow these preferences carefully in order to ensure client satisfaction. A chef must also have nutritional knowledge, as oftentimes a client needs to follow strict dietary guidelines or has food allergies. There are also some chefs that specialize in certain types of cooking, such as paleo, vegetarian, or raw food diets.

Duties of a personal chef:

  • creating a customized meal plan
  • shopping for groceries (at markets, grocery stores, etc)
  • shopping for specialty items (organic, gluten-free, nut-free, etc)
  • putting food away and storing properly
  • stocking the pantry with the client's favourite items
  • being diligent with food handling skills
  • providing easy-to-read preparation instructions for clients
  • cleaning up and sanitizing
  • keeping up with nutritional information
  • listening and understanding client needs
  • improving culinary techniques
  • word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied clients

What is the workplace of a Personal Chef like?

Because food preparation takes a lot of time, personal chefs may spend many hours in the client's home. Working more than 12 hours is not uncommon. When employed by a private household, some personal chefs may reside with the occupants, to make him or her accessible to the employers at any given time.

Though some families treat their chefs like a family member, they still have to maintain a professional distance and not overstep any boundaries.

How can I become a Personal Chef?

Often, a person working as a personal chef has obtained scholastic training. Many chefs attend a cooking academy or culinary institute to learn the fine art of cooking.

Aspiring personal chefs need to have organizational and people skills to do well in their line of work. Meal planning will need a lot of focus and proper organizational skills to avoid making a mistake. Without the right organizational skills, a personal chef cannot prepare meals on time, which would not sit well with their client. It is also important that personal chefs know how to behave around people. Even though they are often treated like part of the family, they still have to display respect and proper etiquette, especially at times when prominent guests are invited to the house.



Title Company Location Info

Further Reading

  • 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting Out As A Personal Chef

    The two-income family with a desire to eat healthier, and no time to cook, creates a large market for a personal chef business. If you enjoy cooking and are thinking about becoming a private chef within your community, then here are 5 mistakes to avoid when starting your personal chef business.

  • My Private Chef

    Can't cook, won't cook ... so why bother? The latest celebrity accessory is a personal kitchen devil capable of rustling up anything from a pomegranate sorbet to a finger-food feast for 500. Charlotte Williamson hears tales of extravagance and excess.

  • Personal Chef For A Superstar: Behind The Scenes

    If you think the rich and famous are cooking for themselves, think again. Their personal chefs are doing all the dirty work, often in the background. But we got one of them to sit down with us and spill his secrets.

  • On Being A Private Chef

    A Michigan chef expounds upon the joys and challenges of working exclusively for one family.

  • How To Start A Personal Chef Company

    While you might relish the opportunity to create a great-tasting meal for your family, there are plenty of other people who don’t … or just don’t have the time. Although a penchants for cooking is important, the successful professional chef will also be personable, organized and creative.

  • Become A Personal Chef: The Industry’s Highest Paying Job

    Did I mention, personal chefs get paid on average more than any other chef-career path? More than executive chefs even? Sign you right up? Not so fast; being a personal chef comes with it’s own set of challenges.

  • The Realities Of Being A Personal Chef: What To Expect

    Becoming a personal chef does not mean that just knowing how to cook is the only requirement to the business. The responsibility lies in whether you are or are not trustworthy enough to bestow such a position.

Similar Careers