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Private Chef or a Cook

What is a Private Personal Chef / Cook and what duties are undertaken within this role?

A private personal chef may work for an employer from a primary residence and or 2nd homes, on a yacht, or even on their employer’s private plane. A private chef may also perform the majority of his or her work independently; or they may work closely with other chefs, a butler or housekeeper to ensure that their employers’ domestic operations run smoothly. The majority of private chefs may work for a single employer as a live-in or live out daily employee.

A private chef will develop an awareness of their employers’ needs, as well as their particular likes and dislikes as far as food is concerned.  They can plan bespoke menus to their employers’ preferences paying attention to such things as intolerances to specific ingredients and other special dietary requirements. A private chef is responsible for provisioning/ shopping for food, menu planning, preparing and cooking meals for their employer(s), staff and guests.

They will produce visually pleasing meals and work in a clean and tidy manner maintaining the kitchen to high standards. A private chef will be very aware of food safety, hygiene and ensure food rotation is managed. They may be responsible for kitchen budgets and accounts or work closely with other staff on managing costs. In larger residences or staffed households a personal chef may manage a small team that they are able to delegate some of these tasks to.

Some personal chefs are also called upon to organise special events such as: dinner parties/ birthday parties, lunch parties, shoot lunches, BBQ’s, canapé drinks parties, cooking at chalets or summer villas. As the majority of personal chefs perform their cooking duties independently and as such are solely responsible for the dishes they prepare, a chef must already be fully trained and experienced in all aspects of their profession prior to taking a job as a personal chef.

What are the advantages of having a Private Personal Chef / Cook?

A private personal chef can be an excellent option for a household that require a high standard of cooking while also tailoring the meals to specific personal preferences. They can work closely with their employers to cater for specific personal preferences, are able to cook a range of cuisines and cater for specific dietary requirements such as: low calorie/ lot fat/ low sodium, Kosher/ Halal, Vegetarian/ Vegan, macrobiotic, diabetic, gluten/ dairy free or other food allergies/intolerances. They may have experience preparing a wide range of cuisines such as: British, Mediterranean, French, Asian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Fusion and more.

Often private chefs can work flexibly, travel with an employer or assist with larger scale events planning. They may also incorporate into their role depending on the extent and level of cooking required other responsibilities such as assisting with household management. Whilst some private chef’s may work as part of a team of household staff other’s may work alone or alongside a housekeeper. Although it is important for a personal chef to present their meals well, it is equally if not more important that the chef always leave their employer’s kitchen in a clean and tidy condition.

What will having a Private Personal Chef / Cook cost and any additional information?

As a private chef training, skills and professional experience will vary individually this can be reflected in the salary or hourly rate they may command. Private personal chefs can range in qualifications, skills and experience ranging from being highly training professional qualified / classically trained chefs who have worked in top restaurants to self-taught passionate chefs that may have worked in restaurants or private households.

They may be confident at cooking to a high level including refined fine dining meals or for more informal basic family cooking. The quality and standard of the cooking required along with the number of people a private personal chef is catering for will be reflected in the salary they are looking to earn. Most chefs will work 4 /5 / 6 days per week. The hours will vary depending on the days worked, if they are cooking 2 or 3 meals a day and if they are working alone or with other staff. Generally a chef may work between 8- 12 hours per day more or less. Some will do longer days if their employers are in residence which is compensated with more time off when their employers are away or they may work on a Rota with other chefs/ cover cooks. Often chefs will do a split shift or regular hours doing longer hours if there is any evening entertaining / events to cater for.

Costs for a live in chef/ cook can vary from £20.000 – £50.000 per year gross depending on days/ hours, skills, qualifications and their professional experience. For a live in chef they will also need accommodation provided, food and utilities covered. For a live out daily chef they may earn as a permanent salary between £30.000 – £70.000 per year gross depending on days/ hours, skills, qualifications and professional experience. Top private chefs may command higher salaries and you can employ temporary and seasonal chefs at fixed rates.