September 24, 2017

The Business of Becoming a Personal Chef

By Mike Cutler, Culinary Alumnus and Owner & Chef at Flavor Forward Chef

I’ve always loved cooking recreationally. Since changing careers, I now enjoy every minute of work as a personal chef.

Attending L’Academie de Cuisine provided the opportunity to learn from excellent instructors and gain an important credential: L’Acadamie’s strong reputation. In the industry, an education from L’Academie means instant credibility with prospective clients, which helps my business thrive.

Ready to launch your business as a personal chef on the right foot? Start here.

Do Your Homework

Becoming a personal chef sounds great in theory: get clients, cook fun and delicious food, reap the rewards.

Before setting out on that course, consider your options. Do you want to be a personal or a private chef? While a personal chef serves many clients, a private chef works exclusively for one.

Which type of role sounds best?

– Cooking weekly meals for regular clients
– Working as a caterer for special occasions
– Offering cooking classes
– All of the above

There’s no wrong answer, but you may find it helpful to narrow in on a niche, and then proceed in that direction. Need some more inspiration? Check out what other established personal chefs offer and how they position and price themselves. The American Personal & Private Chef Association is a great starting place for ideas and support.

Commit To Quality

Unlike cooking in a restaurant, personal chefs interact with their customers every day. Being comfortable and confident when dealing with people is a must.

From the beginning, commit to delivering the highest possible quality of service and product. Every interaction with clients – from menu planning to service to clean-up – should be impeccable. As with any successful business, consistency is key. Keeping existing clients and attracting new ones depends heavily on a reputation for excellent service.

Manage Your Business

Cooking and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand as a personal chef. You can’t make money by cooking meals for customers you don’t have. Start your marketing plan by knowing the answers to the following questions:

How will your customers find you? Word of mouth, web presence, and relationships with other chefs will be important, especially at the start.

What differentiates you from competitors? What makes you unique? My specialty is in serving clients with food allergies, food sensitivities, and other health issues . This allows me to be creative in customizing menus and providing food that meets my client’s diet restrictions and preferences.

What is your revenue model? This is a job, afterall, and not a hobby. Pay attention and manage revenue and costs associated with providing your services. Be sure to only take jobs that provide a good margin to cover the cost of doing business as well as your salary for providing those services.

Lastly, and most importantly, have fun. Happy Chef-ing!