If you think you’d like to cook for a living, but you don’t enjoy the frenetic pace of a restaurant kitchen, don’t give up your dream: Other jobs are available in the culinary industry that are not only less stressful but also better paying.
Personal chefs generally make between $40,000 and $120,000 if they work full time, depending upon where they live. Do you have what it takes to be a personal chef? Keep reading to find out.
What Is a Personal Chef?
A personal chef is a cooking professional who prepares food for a number of different clients. Typically, a personal chef will work with four or five clients at a time for whom he or she prepares four or five meals a week.
Meals are customized to meet each specific client’s tastes and nutritional needs. Do you like multitasking? Good! You’ll be doing a lot of it. You’ll often find yourself using all four burners and both ovens at the same time.
Personal chefs are often confused with private chefs. Private chefs are staff members who work for a single client and who often live with that client. Private chefs may be expected to be on call 24 hours a day to cater to the demands of their client and their client’s family. While personal chefs keep busy hours, they can put restrictions on their availability when they want to.
A Day in the Life of a Personal Chef
If you’re a person who dislikes routine, the great thing about becoming a personal chef is that no two days are alike. One morning may begin with a visit to Whole Foods while another may begin with a trip to a small Asian Mom-and-Pop grocery store.
As a personal chef, you’ll either be working in your own kitchen or in your client’s kitchen, depending upon your client’s preferences.
If you’re asked to work at your client’s home, you’ll need to maximize your time, so you’ll be preparing all that client’s weekly meals simultaneously. This takes a lot of focus and concentration. Optimally, you’ll want to finish cooking, packaging what you’ve cooked in an attractive manner and cleaning your host’s kitchen within four hours so that you can move on to your next client’s home.
You have more flexibility when you’re preparing client meals in your own kitchen, of course, but if you want any time off from your demanding schedule, you will have to learn to cook efficiently even when you’re not on a strict deadline.
How Do You Become a Personal Chef?
According to the American Personal & Private Chef Association, there are 9,000 personal chefs working in the United States at present, and that number is growing every day. Good marketing instincts may be just as important as cooking skills if you want to achieve success in this field.
Strong credentials will make you stand apart from your potential competitors. In the culinary field, one of the best ways to acquire credentials is to obtain a degree from one of the more prestigious culinary schools. In addition to helping you broaden your own familiarity with the culinary arts, an accredited culinary academy will help you learn how to cook efficiently. You’ll need that skill when you begin juggling the demands of multiple clients.
The first thing you’ll need to do is write a business plan in which you set out your target revenue goals. Remember that profit is the amount left over after you’ve paid all your operational expenditures, and strategize accordingly. Your marketing strategy will be key to attracting the clients you’ll need to create a sustainable business model.
Many busy professionals appreciate the benefits of home-prepared meals sourced from fresh materials even though they may not have the time to cook themselves. They don’t want to spend their precious recreational time standing around a hot stove, and they don’t want to eat meals prepared from mixes or prepackaged foods. These people are the natural market for the personal chef.
Creating a Website
One method of attracting clients that many personal chefs have found effective is the creation of a business website. You will want this website to be visually appealing, to describe your value proposition in compelling terms and to be optimized so that it will rank highly when a prospective client types “Personal Chef.” If you don’t have website design experience, it’s probably wise to outsource this job to a professional web designer.
Customize your website to attract the types of clients you’re specifically interested in working with. Do you want to cook for families, or would you prefer to work with single professionals? Would you prefer to cook for a youthful clientele whose tastes in food may be more experimental, or would you prefer to work with older clients whose culinary tastes may be more staid? There are ways to individualize your website so that it appeals specifically to the types of clients you want to work with.
Joining a Platform
Another method for jump-starting your business is joining a platform for personal chefs. In the recent years, a few platforms were created to showcase the personal chefs and help them get more business. Kitchit was the major player in that space but unfortunately went out of business. Now, the biggest player is Cozymeal which provides the opportunity for chefs to offer their services as a personal chef. Since these platforms have many things integrated, there is no need for website design or marketing, and you can focus on what you love most, cooking.
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