Find Out What it Takes to Become a Personal Chef

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Private chefs comprise a very specialized segment of the food service industry—the high-end. Often it is only wealthy clients that can afford to hire personal chefs, but in some cases private chefs may be useful for individuals with dietary conditions due to health and medical problems.

Job Descriptions for Private Chefs

If the image of private chef brings up ideas of luxury and the easy life, guess again. If you aspire to work as a private chef to the stars or in the homes of the wealthy, then begin preparations now for the various duties and responsibilities demanded of these chef specialists:

  • Live-in or live-out
  • Responsible for daily, weekly and monthly menu planning
  • Must be able to take direction from clients and possibly other domestic staff
  • May be required to assist with supervising other kitchen and household staff and organizing various day-to-day duties
  • Expert at event preparation
  • Team-player
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • May be required to be expert in a particular cuisine, diet program or other type of specialized meal preparation
  • Responsible for household food inventory, including buying, storing, and hygiene and sanitation

Education and Training to Become a Private Chef

What type of culinary degree leads to a job as private chef?

None, directly. However, private chefs often have culinary arts degrees to their credit and as a key component on their resumes, but there is also significant industry work experience required. Jobs as private or personal chefs are upper-level jobs for very experienced chefs, usually executive chefs and sous chefs. When you work alone in a household you will need a full complement of culinary skills and be able to work under very demanding conditions. You may be cooking for one person one day and for a small army on the next day.

Pursue a culinary arts degree that provides you with a rigorous hands-on program and offers you the opportunity to become experienced with a variety of cuisines and chef stations. Schools with working student-run restaurants offer a valuable work-study environment where you work under the careful guidance of experienced chef instructors, even guest chefs.

If you can find work as an assistant cook or chef with an event company, or high-end caterer, you may have the advantage over chefs with no private in-home experience.

Private Chef Salary

Some of the same factors that drive other types of chef salaries figure the same for private chefs.

  • Years of experience
  • Reputation
  • Education
  • Areas of specialization
  • Required job duties
  • Region and metro area

In metro areas from Atlanta to Los Angeles, private chefs earn average annual salaries between $40,000 and $80,000, respectively.*


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