Private vs Personal Chef: What’s the Difference?

Is cooking food something you love to do? Do you feel like becoming a chef is your ultimate passion? If this excites you, but you don’t want to work in a restaurant setup, you might consider working as a private or personal chef. If so, another question is private vs personal chef: what’s the difference?

However, before training to be one, it’s important to ask what is a private vs personal chef, what’s the difference between the two and which arrangement would be better suited for your skills and availability. In this article, you’ll get the answers on what an in-home chef experience looks like, so keep on reading.

A Private Chef, Defined

When you become a private chef, you will most likely be self-employed and managing your own professional culinary business. Because of this, you have the freedom to pick your own clients.  You also have the flexibility in your schedule to juggle work and personal life to create a lifestyle that fits your needs. Usually, hosts can be busy couples, retired individuals, families, people with special diets, or people who simply enjoy fine dining. Another area that is quickly growing are celebrations at homes or vacation rentals vs going to a restaurant.

Depending on business growth, private chefs may work alone. Eventually, you might also employ an assistant or two as your client base and demand grows.

A private chef has various options at their fingertips on how they can satisfy the requests of their hosts.  Some will cook the meals and serve them fresh every day for the household members, while others prefer to cater for private functions, such as bachelorette parties, anniversary dinners or other celebrations.  Some private chefs offer pre-prepared meals delivered to client homes every week. Basically, for pre-prepared meals, some are available to be consumed on the same day, while the rest will be available for reheating.

What Do Private Chefs Do?

As a private chef, some of your duties will include:

  • Shopping for the ingredients
  • Creating personalized menus for clients or hosts
  • Leaving instructions on heating, freezing, and preparing meals
  • Marketing, budgeting, and accounting your business’s financials
  • Preparing fresh meals at your kitchen or the client’s home
  • Offering flexible working hours
  • Cleaning up the kitchen
  • Catering for house gatherings and parties

A Personal Chef, Defined

In contrast, a personal chef cooks for a single client and will be employed by them on a full-time basis. Because of this, personal chefs might reside in the owner’s home, yacht, or even hotel. A personal chef will cook the meals and serve them fresh every day for the household members, and on occasion, to cater for private functions.

Personal chefs are often on-call, which means that aside from living where their employer is residing, they may also be required to come with them during business trips and holiday travels. Eventually, these chefs are treated like family, and because they are privy to a lot of personal information, discretion is a central part of the job.

In some cases, personal chefs may work odd hours. Consequently, if they work in a large household, they might also have support staff helping them.

What Do Personal Chefs Do?

As a personal chef, some of your duties will include:

  • Planning the weekly menu
  • Shopping for ingredients
  • Organizing the kitchen
  • Being on-call for extra meals
  • Preparing fresh meals and serving them
  • Cleaning up the kitchen
  • Traveling with the employer
  • Catering for house gatherings and parties

Final Thoughts

If you are an aspiring professional chef, there are many paths you can take in your culinary career. For an exciting and enjoyable job, you may consider becoming a private or personal chef. In some areas, private chefs are called personal chefs and vice versa and there is overlap in the types of duties that they perform!  Though it doesn’t look quite the same as other kitchen careers, either path are also excellent learning and rewarding experiences.

Are you looking to be a private chef? Join our roster of amazing chefs at Food Fire + Knives. Embrace your creativity, create your own schedule, and get paid weekly. Apply today and check out the rest of our service locations.

Published By Kim Gandhi Kim Gandhi began cooking at 8 years old with a love of food driving her to experiment with her Hispanic and German heritage. She gained a BBA in Marketing and turned to the business world for much of her career. Her strong customer service background and her passion for great events that involve chefs, customers, and amazing food allows her to indulge in her love of cooking and enjoying what FFK chefs bring to the table.