Posted on

Hire a chef for a night

Chef presenting final dish
Hiring a chef for a night could be a great option for a more relaxing dinner at home with friends

For some of us, having a special night with our significant other or a group of close friends might mean going out to a nice restaurant for dinner. However, sometimes, that is just not practical – there might be small children who cannot be left home alone or with a sitter, someone might be sick and can’t leave the house, or the group might simply want a relaxed environment where they can speak freely and linger longer than they may be able to in a regular restaurant setting. So can the answer be to bring the restaurant to you – or hire a chef for the night?

I recently heard from a friend with three young children (all under the age of six) who told me that she and her husband ended up doing this on a recent vacation. They were in Florida with some friends, many of whom also had young children. While they thought about hiring a sitter, they didn’t feel comfortable getting someone they didn’t know in a city that they were just visiting. Plus, there were many kids and they ranged in age – they weren’t confident that they could find a sitter who could potentially manage all of that and that they would feel comfortable with. Still, they wanted to have one ‘adult’ night, with real silverware and dishes, with nice food, wine and maybe even candles. So they ended up hiring a chef for a night – someone who had worked in several of the nicer restaurants in the area and who was now freelancing as a private/ personal chef.

Here’s the run-down of their experience.

What they liked about hiring a chef for the night:

  • It was convenient: They just worked with the chef to set the menu, and then he did all the ingredients shopping, prep, cooking, cleaning and even the serving for the party of eight adults. The private chef cooked in the kitchen of their vacation rental and brought some of his own cooking tools.
  • It allowed them to have the best of both worlds: They had set the dinner time later, so that the kids would be sleeping by the time dinner got started, but they had peace of mind knowing that they were all in the same house. When a kid woke up or needed a parent, it wasn’t a big deal to step away from the table for a couple of minutes.
  • It was more affordable than they thought it would be: The cost of ingredients and the chef’s time ended up being pretty close to going to a nice restaurant on a per-person basis, even a little less. And when one of their friends produced a few bottles of nice wine, there wasn’t any corkage fee or the high restaurant markups. It also helped that they didn’t need to pay for a valet or parking.

After the chef finished serving dessert, he cleaned up the kitchen and left, leaving the group to continue to linger and enjoy their wine and chocolate cakes late into the evening. My friend said that she had never considered hiring a chef just for a night before, but she really found the evening enjoyable and relaxing.

Posted on

Private chef catering

Proud of dish woman has cooked
Private chef catering can make your next event a lot easier

Nearly everyone is familiar with the idea of catering and many people will use the service at least a couple of times in their lives – but not as many people are as familiar with private chef catering. Most people think of catering when they need to very occasionally feed a very large crowd – typically for a wedding or some other big group occasion. Some other folks may use catering services much more often, especially if they are in charge of organizing group meals in their office (like an office lunch or an office party) or they like to regularly host a larger meal in their home.

Catering services can vary in scope of services, but the basic idea is that the caterer will cook the food for your guests. The food may be cooked on premise (e.g., in your kitchen or a kitchen at the event space) or off-premise and brought to the designated location. Caterers might only provide the food or also provide other services such as waitstaff to help serve the food, bar staff to serve drinks, and even decorations and table settings. They may set up a buffet where guests can serve themselves or have their staff provide individual table service to guests. Clearly, the cost of caterers will vary by the type of food and service provided. While the simplest ‘catering’ service can be thought of us as takeout from a restaurant, often many if not most caterers do not operate a restaurant at the same time, and specialize in creating more customized meals to larger groups of people than most restaurant takeout services are designed to handle.

Private chef catering is a loose term that can refer to a lot of different types of arrangements. Often, private chefs hired for catering are feeding a group that can be served by 1-3 chefs – typically a larger dinner party of up to 25 people or a limited menu served buffet-style for up to 40-60 people. Hiring a private chef for catering may imply that the menu is more customized and the food is cooked to order (or at least much closer to the time it is served). In contrast, while one might argue that any type of catering – including hiring a catering company for a 250-person wedding – is ‘private chef catering’ since the menu is customized to some extent and the chef is private to that event – for many people, the term connotes a somewhat more intimate and customized affair where the diners are in closer proximity to the private chef.

Many private and personal chefs will take on catering jobs of various sizes, whether it’s helping a client cook for a dinner party of six guests or a lunch gathering of dozens of people. The private and personal chefs profiled on SomaPersonalChefs.com are often are operating their business on their own or a small team, so they may be best suited for smaller events (i.e., under 75 guests and likely smaller than that depending on the complexity of the meal and services required), while businesses that call themselves caterers are likely better equipped to handle very large events. However, the private and personal chefs featured on our website can bring supreme culinary talent to your next event at a reasonable price – leaving you to host and enjoy the gathering or event.

Posted on

In house chef

Woman pulling food out of oven happy
Wouldn’t it be great to have an in home chef?

While many of us enjoy going out to restaurants, sometimes it would be more convenient if we could enjoy the services of a skilled chef without having to leave the house. In house chefs can help with many occasions that might be hard for a traditional restaurant to accommodate. Benefits over eating out at a restaurant include:

  • Having a dinner in your home, which allows you to have all the benefits of going out to eat (delicious food cooked by someone else) but avoid having to feel rushed to make space for the next party, pay high markups on drinks, parking, tips or a babysitter, and the anxiety of leaving small children at home while you enjoy a nice meal
  • Hosting a small party in your home and being able to focus on spending time with your guests rather than rushing around cooking and cleaning up
  • Enjoying homemade weekday meals with your family while you and your spouse are juggling work and other family responsibilities
  • Being able to craft a custom menu with the in home chef, and knowing what exactly is going into your food and what environment it is being cooked in

 

In home chefs, also often called private chefs or personal chefs, can help in a wide variety of ways. They typically charge either by the hour plus ingredients cost (receipts returned to client for reimbursement) or by number of people at dinner (usually this is more common for a dinner party or group event). Prices may also vary by the types of services they provide, but they can include all or some of the following, usually subject to the client’s request:

  • Helping the client set a menu, subject to allergies and other dietary requirements/ preferences
  • Shopping for ingredients
  • Washing, prepping, and chopping ingredients
  • Cooking and assembling the dishes
  • Plating and serving (or storing for later reheating and eating)
  • Cleaning the kitchen to the initial state

 

Finding an in home chef is easy using a website like SomaPersonalChefs.com. It allows you to search chef profiles by geographical location, type of food and estimated price range. Users can also view sample menus and chef backgrounds where available. Lastly, once you’ve found a set of chefs that seem to be a good fit for your needs, a user can send direct messages to personal chefs on the platform on the website and request bookings for the times that they are interested in. Otherwise, you may be able to find a chef to cook in your home through posting an ad on a general list such as Craigslist.com, reach out to your local culinary academy for contacts, or ask your personal network for leads.

 

Keep in mind that in home chefs can come with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, ranging from formal culinary training at a top cooking school to being a skilled home cook with limited professional cooking experience. In our experience, cooking talent can come from a wide range of backgrounds so we would encourage users to consider carefully what their needs are when vetting potential candidates. For example, if you are looking for someone to prepare home-style foods on a regular basis, your needs may be well-fulfilled by someone without a formal culinary education or professional cooking experience. However, if you need someone who will deliver a multi-course meal for many people for an important dinner, you may want to go with someone who has the culinary education and/or experience to deliver in that type of high-pressure, higher-stakes environment.

Posted on

The personal chef

Eating soup happy
Would you like to have the personal chef cook dinner for you tonight?

The next time your friend or family member compliments you on a lovely home-cooked meal, you may be able to say that “the personal chef made this”. Personal and private chefs, once set aside only for the upstairs-crowd of the Downton Abbey set, are now much more available to help with regular weekday cooking as well as special occasions cooking, than ever. Sites like somapersonalchefs.com make it easy to find personal chefs near you who can finally give you a break from day-in, day-out cooking and the never-ending parade of takeout.

How the personal chef can help you

In a departure from the days when the only way you can get a dedicated chef cooking for you and your family was to hire someone full-time to take care of all of your family’s culinary needs, now it’s much easier to find someone who can provide much of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost. Referred to as ‘personal chefs’ by some in the industry, these are folks who typically serve multiple clients in any given week or month, and will provide many of the same services as a full-time private chef but will batch their cooking to make it easier for you to hire a fraction of their time rather than the whole thing – making it more affordable for you. Both private and personal chefs can help their clients with the following:

  • Cooking for a ‘regular’ weeknight meal or a special event up to 20-25 guests (e.g.,a small catered party)
  • Menu planning, taking into account your suggestions, preferences and dietary requirements
  • Grocery shopping
  • Washing, chopping and preparing ingredients
  • Cooking the dishes
  • Plating and potentially storing the dishes if needed
  • Cleaning the kitchen back to its initial state

How you might find the personal chef

SomaPersonalChefs.com is one of the easiest way to find a talented personal or private chef near you. The site lists hundreds of profiles of talented chefs with their sample menu, the geography that they serve and an estimate of their prices. Users can directly message a chef that they are interested in to ask questions about the menu and request a booking directly on the website. In the past, people who were looking for a personal chef may have had to rely on word of mouth or an anonymous listing site like Craigslist and take their chances. Now, sites like SomaPersonalChefs.com make it easier to find someone who is a good fit for specific needs.

How much the personal chef may cost

We have written extensively on how much personal chef services cost, broken out by some of the largest metro areas in the US. While you can refer to the article for more details, in general, the cost is roughly equivalent to eating out at your local mid-priced restaurant on a per-serving basis, once you include the cost of the labor of the personal chef and ingredients cost. There is a good amount of variation around this amount, and you may be able to find a great chef who is able to deliver his/ her cooking prices below the average in your local market. The benefits of hiring a personal chef over eating out at a restaurant every day include: 1) you have more control over what goes into your food, 2) you don’t have to pay for tips, parking and drinks which can add up to a significant portion of your bill, 3) you may have a wider range of food that you enjoy, especially if the restaurants in your area tend to have very fixed menus and 4) you can eat in the comfort of your home, which can be a big plus if you have young children.

Posted on

Private chef cost

Cooking over stove angry
Sometimes we just would prefer a private chef

How much does a private chef cost? Many of us have wishfully dreamt of having someone cook for us (usually when it’s 7:30pm and you’ve just realized you don’t have anything in the house to eat, or 10pm after a dinner party and you have a bunch of dishes to wash even though you’ve spent several hours cooking already). We often turn to restaurant takeout as the answer, but often the food is not as healthy as we like (restaurant food is often designed for impulse purchases by hungry people – meaning too much fat, sugar and salt) and sometimes we get tired of the menu (there’s only so many times we want pizza or Chinese food). It turns out the cost of private chefs can vary quite a bit and it may not be as out of reach as many of us think. The exact cost of a private chef depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your geography – some geographies just have higher cost of living, and this will also be reflected in the cost of hiring a private chef. For example, it’s likely that a private chef will cost more in San Francisco, CA than Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Whether you need a full-time private chef or a part-time private chef (also known as ‘personal chef’) or a private chef for a one-time event – Private chefs can work in a range of arrangements, from cooking for one special dinner/ event, to cooking a batch of meals once a week, to being a full-time employee of the household. Clearly the chef’s time and therefore, the cost involved will differ across these scenarios.
  • What type of experience and background you need and/or prefer – Do you need someone who has worked in a top-tier restaurant? Someone with professional culinary school experience? Or will your needs be met by someone who has neither, but is a great cook with most of his/ her experience making food and doing small-scale catering? Often, though not always, cost will vary across chefs and cooks with different backgrounds.
  • Whether you are looking for someone with specific expertise – Are you on a super-specific diet that requires a certified nutritionist? Or someone who has extensive experience cooking without a common ingredient (e.g., gluten)? It may cost a bit more to find private chefs with this type of additional experience/ training.

The data available on private chef costs isn’t great, though we can look at a couple of different reports and try to get an estimate. Recruiter.com, for example, says that the median salary for a private chef is about $24,500 with the 90th percentile making about $42,800. Payscale.com has different numbers, with the median salary being about $62,500 and the 90th percentile making $120k. According to the research we’ve done at SomaPersonalChefs.com, we estimate that the median per-hour wage for personal chefs is between $40-$50. Of course, not all personal chefs are able to fill a 40-hour week all the time, but assuming a 28-hour workweek and 50 weeks worked per year, it sums up to about $56k per year.

If you are looking for a private chef to cook just one special event or a batch of meals for weekdays, you actually don’t need to pay for a full year’s chef’s salary obviously, which can make it a lot more affordable. For example, one dinner may take a private chef about 5-7 hours (or $200-$280 at median) as might whipping up several meals for a week’s work of dinner.

Posted on

My personal chef

Home chef presenting finished dish
Sometimes it’s nice to have a person who can be ‘my personal chef’

On a recent airplane ride, I watched the movie Beatriz at Dinner where Selma Hayek plays a masseuse/ healer/ spiritual guru who, by kind of happenstance, is invited to a dinner with very wealthy capitalists. It’s a very interesting movie for many reasons, but one thing I did notice that’s relevant to SomaPersonalChefs.com is that the home where the dinner party is hosted had personal chefs who prepared the dinner meal. Connie Britton, who plays the hostess, is complemented by her guests about the meal and she says something to the effect of “Oh no, I don’t deserve any of the credit. I had my personal chef cook all the food. I just set the menu.” (ok that’s a loose paraphrasing but it’s in the spirit of what she said).

It did strike me that she seemed so relaxed as she prepared to have guests arrive – somewhat stressful guests, guests that are important to her husband’s work, and at least one that is pretty (in)famous. The house was quiet and peaceful, with the personal chef working in the kitchen, while she got dressed. When the guests arrived, she was able to spend time greeting them and talking to them rather than rushing around getting dinner ready. Her guests still thought the food was wonderful and enjoyed the evening.

Admittedly, this is a (very) small part of the entire plot, but it’s illuminating how a personal chef can bring calm to an important social gathering.

How to find your own ‘my personal chef’

You might be asking yourself how one even finds someone to call ‘my personal chef’. We think one of the easiest ways is to look on SomaPersonalChefs.com, where there are hundreds of personal chef profiles that are searchable by location, cuisine type and estimated price ranges.

How finding someone you can call ‘my personal chef’ could help

Finding someone who you can call ‘my personal chef’ for a busy month or even just an important evening can help you in several ways including:

  • Allowing you to focus on work or family during a particularly busy stretch
  • Helping you plan a menu by suggesting new dishes or ingredients that you typically don’t cook with and/or may not be familiar with
  • Allowing you to focus on welcoming your guests rather than working in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, and transporting food
  • Freeing up time by grocery shopping in addition to cooking and cleaning
  • Depending on the arrangement, your personal chef may also serve the food during a special events dinner, allowing you to relax and enjoy the vent
  • Providing cleaning support after an event

In addition to helping (or leading) menu planning, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, serving and cleaning for special occasion meals, personal chefs can also cook weekday meals in batches to meet your family’s needs. Many of the personal chefs profiled on our website provide both types of services. Visitors can use our direct messaging feature to ask personal chefs about further details on the type of service they are seeking.

Posted on

Personal chef prices

Nothing is in the refrigerator
How much does it cost to hire a personal chef?

Sure it would be nice to have a personal chef but what do they cost? After researching personal chefs in more than 20 metro areas in the United States, Soma was able to get some data on personal chef prices. Unsurprisingly, personal chef prices can vary significantly by location (in higher-priced metro areas like San Francisco, personal chef prices also tend to be higher). However, within a given metro area, there can be significant variations in personal chef prices, even among personal chefs and cooks who seem to have a similar background in terms of training and experience.

How personal chef prices tend to work

It’s worth noting how personal chef prices tend to be structured. Generally, if the personal chef is being hired to cook a batch of meals that will be consumed over several days (for example, 4 meals with 4 servings each), the personal chef will price by the hour (with an estimate of the number of hours it will take to cook the dishes) or by the number of meals and servings per meal (for example, $x for 3 meals with 2 servings each, $y for 3 meals with 4 servings each, $z for 4 meals with 2 servings each, and so on). Groceries will commonly be billed separately and without markup to the client – the personal chef will commonly present the receipt to the customer to be reimbursed. This allows the customer to specify what quality of ingredients they want (e.g., free range meats, all organic produce, etc) and/or choose recipes with more expensive ingredients (for example, seafood dishes tend to cost more than vegetarian dishes). At times, a small ‘pantry fee’ may also be added – this covers the cost of ingredients that the personal chef might bring out of their own supplies, of which only small quantities are required (and therefore may not make sense to buy a whole unit for a client). These might include spices, sugar, spices and specialty oils.

If the personal chef is cooking for a dinner party, it can be more common for the personal chef to charge by person. One typical arrangement is for the personal chef to set out a few different potential menus and put a price per person for each of those menus. The pricing in this case commonly includes the cost of ingredients as well as labor.

In either case, it’s common for a deposit to be required so that the personal chef has some reassurance that the client will honor the reservation and the reimbursement for the ingredients.

Quick note on methodology

Before we start, a quick note on methodology. As noted above, different personal chefs can structure the pricing for their services differently (especially for personal chef services for batch cooking of meals). However, it can be helpful for potential customers to be able to compare approximate prices across different chefs when they look for one that best meets their needs. Hence, in Soma’s research on personal chef prices, we have used a set of guidelines to have estimates across personal chefs in terms of their pricing, on a per-hour basis. More details on how we approached this can be found here. Note that all prices have to be checked with personal chefs prior to confirming bookings and prices shown on Soma may not be the most up-to-date information available.

Personal chef prices

I’ve blogged more about the pricing research and its findings in this past blog post, which readers can refer to for more detailed breakdowns by metro area. But the key takeaway is that for the lowest cost metro area we looked at (Charlotte, NC), it cost on average $12 per serving to hire a personal chef while in the highest cost metro areas (such as San Francisco), it cost nearly $20 per serving. This was assuming that the client was hiring the personal chef to cook 5 meals with 4 servings each, which is pretty much the largest package you can buy from most personal chefs (also often the least expensive on a per-serving basis). Add in the cost of ingredients which can range from $2-$10, and clients can expect $14 per serving at the lower end and almost $30 at the high end. In most of these metro areas, this is comparable to a mid-priced restaurant meal, except that it’s often healthier, more catered to your needs, and more convenient (if you prefer to eat at home).

Posted on

Hire a chef for a dinner party

Tired of doing the dishes
It’s a lot of work to cook and clean for a dinner party

Throwing a dinner party for family and friends, in theory, should be a fun affair – not just for your guests but for you too. It’s a time to gather around some great food and drinks and share conversation. However, it can too easily devolve for the hosts into a 6-10 hour session of drudgery, where you don’t actually get to enjoy yourself, don’t spend time with your guests and -shocker- you actually start feeling tired and resentful about doing the whole thing in the first place. Spare yourself (and your guests) this feeling – hire a chef for a dinner party!

Advantages of throwing a dinner party at home

While your home is not the only place you can throw a party, there are several advantages to throwing a dinner party at home (versus a restaurant or some other venue):

  • You and your guests have the flexibility of spending more time together over post-dinner activities like desserts, extended conversations and games. There’s no pressure to have to clear the restaurant table for the next patrons or because the restaurant is closing and you have more flexibility in what you do with your guests (you can’t play charades at a restaurant for example!)
  • It’s often cheaper to host a dinner party at your home overall, especially when you include the cost of tips and parking. While the cost to the host might be greater (because you’ll often be the one purchasing all the ingredients, doing the cooking and hosting in your home), you can spread around the cost by asking people to bring a bottle of wine or a dessert.
  • Hosting in your home allows others to get to know you and your family in a way that they can’t sitting in a restaurant. There’s a measure of vulnerability here that the host is putting forward, but allowing guests into your home means that they get a sense for how you live, they can look at the photos and pictures hanging on your walls and make conversation.
  • If there are young children involved, it’s often easier to host at someone’s home rather than a restaurant. There’s often more space for the children to move around, and perhaps the option to have the children play or watch TV in a different room after dinner while the parents chat.

Benefits of hiring a chef for a dinner party

By hiring a chef for your dinner party, you can get many of the benefits of throwing a dinner party in your home with less of the work. By allowing having someone else do the cooking and much of the cleaning, you can be more free to host your guests, enjoy your own party, and have more energy to be present. Other benefits include:

  • The food might be better – while you might be a great cook (no assumptions here about that), many chefs that get hired for private parties have a lot of cooking experience. In helping you plan the menu, select ingredients, cook and plate the food, and clean the kitchen, they are likely to do a better job than most home cooks.
  • You’ll have more time – Rather than spending hours (literally, it can take 5-10 hours to prepare for a dinner party for 8-12 people) cooking, you can spend that time taking care of other things in your life or preparing other aspects of the party (for example, picking up flowers or tidying up your home).
  • It might be easier to split the cost – if you hire someone to cook for a dinner party, it might be easier and less socially awkward to split the cost with your friends. It depends on the social context, but if you and your friends all have children, but like to get together on a regular basis to enjoy a nicer dinner together, it might be easier to say “hey I’m hiring a chef for $X for our dinner party – can we split the cost?”. In contrast, if you are doing all the cooking, many people would find it harder to ask people to contribute financially for their own labor.

How to hire a chef for a dinner party

One of the easiest way to hire a chef for a dinner party that you’re thinking of throwing is to start at SomaPersonalChefs.com, where you will be able to sort chefs by geographical area, type of cuisine, and price estimates. Users can also send messages to chefs they are interested in to discuss menus and other questions and when they are ready, request a booking directly through our website!

Posted on

At home chef

Tired of eating the same thing
Wish you had a chef who would cook for you?

Have you ever considered hiring an at-home chef? If so, you’re not alone. While hiring chefs and cooks for help with in-home cooking has been more common in other countries such as China and India, it’s a relatively new concept in the United States. Americans used to have the perception that hiring someone to cook for you in your home was only for the super-wealthy. However, that might be changing as more families in the United States have two working parents, there is a growing concern of food allergies and sensitivities that might be driving inflammation as well as other symptoms, and there is growing awareness of the benefits of eating food made from scratch and the downsides of eating too much processed food, as well as much of the salt-/sugar-/fat-laden dishes served up by many restaurants.

What is an at home chef?

An at home chef is someone who comes to your home to cook a customized menu for you and your family. Commonly also called a ‘private chef’ or ‘personal chef’, the arrangement and profile of the chef might be diverse. For example, the at home chef might be someone with professional culinary training and working experience who is hired into your household as a full-time employee (a person entering this type of arrangement is more often called a ‘private chef’). On the other hand, the at home chef might be someone with more limited formal culinary training or professional cooking experience but is a very capable and talented home cook, who comes to your home once a week to cook multiple meals in one ‘cook session’ (a person entering this type of arrangement may be more often called a ‘personal chef/ cook’). At home cooks can come from a wide range of backgrounds and help their clients in a variety of arrangements, but they can often be counted on to do most, if not all, of the following tasks:

  • Help their clients set a menu for the week, that meets the client’s dietary preferences and requirements
  • Shop for groceries/ ingredients
  • Wash, chop and otherwise prep the ingredients for cooking
  • Cook and assemble the meals
  • Store and/or plate the meals
  • Clean the kitchen to the initial state

With the typical two-parent household spending about 70 minutes per day cooking and cleaning up, it may be well worth it to get an at home chef to help you so that you can spend time doing other things – such as spending time with your children, paying the bills, and getting exercise.

Top 5 reasons for hiring an at home chef

  1. Saves you time- As we mentioned earlier in this post, American families spend a lot of time cooking food and cleaning up afterwards. The 70 minutes apparently doesn’t even include grocery shopping! If you have cooked a fair bit, you also know that it can save a lot of time to cook multiple meals at once – e.g., chop ingredients for meal #2 while the first meal is in the oven. But the fact is we don’t often have the energy or time to plan thoroughly in advance, which means we end up cooking one or two meals at a time and then having to look up recipes, go to the grocery store, pull out the pots and pans, etc multiple times in a week. Having an at-home chef not only saves you time because you can do other things with that 7+ hours per week, but the chef will often do a more thorough and efficient job of planning and cooking than you would do.
  2. Helps you eat tastier food – Many at home chefs do this work because they love cooking and feeding others. They often are cooking enthusiasts, which means that they will likely be better at cooking than you are. So not only are you saving time, but you are eating food that tastes better too!
  3. Helps you eat healthier food – In addition to helping prevent you from reaching out for the take-out menu, having an at-home chef helps you eat healthier food because they make it from scratch and you have a better sense of what is going into each of the dishes. You are also planning menus farther in advance with them, which means that you are likely to make better decisions than if you had to choose what to eat at 6pm when everyone is starving. Many personal and private chefs also have training in nutrition, which better equips them to help you make healthier choices.
  4. Reduces food waste- Americans throw out about 40% of their food  every year. We would guess that a significant portion of food that gets thrown out in the home is raw produce and meats that would have been eaten if they were in tasty cooked dishes, rather than sitting in inedible forms, slowly decaying in the refrigerator. Honestly, how many of us have bought a big load of fruit/ vegetable/ meats, with the best of intention to cook something delicious later that week, and then things got busy. Every night that week at 6 or 7pm you’re looking at that fruit/ vegetable/ meat and deciding that you don’t have the energy to cook that tonight and go for some other faster option? Suddenly it’s Friday and that fruit/vegetable/meat isn’t looking so good anymore and you decide it needs to be thrown out. Having an at home chef will help you make sure that your ingredients are transformed into delicious meals that are ready to eat, lessening the likelihood that that ingredient will be thrown out.
  5. Helps you expand your palate- While many at home chefs will cook dishes matched to your family’s preferences, it can also be refreshing to have someone new cook for you, who can introduce you to one new ingredient, one new way of cooking a familiar dish, etc. It will help expand your and your family’s palate, which is not a bad benefit!

Where to find an at home chef

Listings for hundreds of personal and private chefs are at SomaPersonalChefs.com, where you can sort by various criteria and request bookings directly. Other ways of potentially finding an at home chef include looking in your personal network, posting on general listing sites such as Craigslist and searching online for personal and private chefs in your area who might have websites.

Posted on

Private chef for hire

Reading cookbook
Would you rather find a private chef for hire?

Private chefs for hire can be difficult to find, but a good private chef can be a life-saver. Here, we go through the different occasions where you might consider hiring a private chef, how to find a private chef for hire and how to work with one after you’ve decided who to hire.

Occasions for hiring a private chef

The term ‘private chef’ is generally used for a chef who is hired by a family or an individual to prepare meals or help with some aspect of meal preparation (as opposed to chefs who work in restaurants). The phrase ‘personal chef’ also is often used somewhat interchangeably with ‘private chef’, though to some, they mean different things. Private chefs are generally those who are employed full-time by a family or individual and prepare many (if not nearly all) of their meals. The employer is generally responsible for paying taxes and providing any liability coverage for that chef. Personal chefs generally are those who serve multiple clients in a given week or month and run their own cooking services business, out of which they charge clients. Personal chefs, generally speaking, are responsible for their own taxes, insurance and any other administrative requirements. If you are looking to hire a chef for one specific dinner or event, likely the terms private and personal chefs can be used interchangeably.

There are many occasions for which you might consider a private chef for hire:

  • Cook a special meal for one specific event such as an anniversary, birthday, graduation or retirement. Private chefs can often not only save you time cooking and cleaning up, but can often produce gourmet, multiple-course meals. Parents who would like to have a special dinner but are reluctant to leave the kids at home, for example, can hire a private chef to replicate the restaurant experience in their home or vacation rental
  • To provide cooking services while you and your family are going through a busy stretch of time. Sometimes a new job, promotion, family addition, or sickness can make it hard for your family to continue eating healthy, made-from-scratch meals. In these cases, hiring a private chef can make sure your family’s eating doesn’t slip through the cracks.
  • To help you and your family eat healthier and/or meet new dietary guidelines. If you’ve discovered a food allergy in your family, or you’ve decided to make a step-change in eating more healthily, hiring a private chef can go a long way. Not only are many private chefs talented at creating delicious dishes that meet your dietary requirements (such as more vegetables, low glycemic, low sodium, Keto, Paleo, and others), some are also nutritionists who can bring additional knowledge to your family’s effort to eat in a healthier way.

Tasks that private chefs for hire may be expected to do include:

  • Plan a menu that incorporates your dietary requirements and preferences
  • Shop for ingredients
  • Wash, chop and prep ingredients
  • Cook and assemble the dishes
  • Plate and serve the meals (if you have hired them for a dinner or they are a full-time private chef)
  • Store meals
  • Clean the kitchen back to the initial state

How to find a private chef for hire

Finding a private chef for hire is not always straightforward. We believe one of the easiest ways is to go to SomaPersonalChefs.com where users can find profiles of hundreds of private and personal chefs, sort them by geographical area/ cuisine type/ estimated price range, message them with questions, and request bookings. Other ways of trying to find a private chef for hire including asking those in your networks, posting enquiries to general listing sites such as Craigslist, and searching the internet for local chefs who may have created a website.

How to work with a private chef for hire

As you decide on which private chef to hire, here are some pro tips to make sure both you and the private chef get the most out of your experience:

  • Set clear expectations upfront – This includes outlining clearly (preferably in writing, such as in an email) what you expect from the private chef such as the menu to be served, the number of servings per dish, and which tasks you expect the private chef to do vs you or others will take care of (see the first section). It also includes the amount that you will pay for this service. Lastly, if you have any dietary restrictions or strong preferences, you should also communicate these upfront to the private chef.
  • Go over logistics – This is an easy one to miss, but you will have someone cooking in your home and they need a little bit of help from you to orient themselves. This means you need to tell them where the dishes, utensils, mixing bowls, cooking utensils, knives, cutting boards, pots/ pans, dish towels, and storage containers are. They will also need to understand any quirks with the stove, oven or refrigerator. If you need them to bring any equipment, you will need to tell them in advance. Lastly, they will also need to know the location of the restroom that they should use!
  • Give feedback – After the event, take time to give feedback to your chef about what went well and what you feel like they can improve on. Take time to also leave feedback online through a site like SomaPersonalChefs.com. Private and personal chefs don’t always get the feedback they need to continue improving and your feedback helps them improve their service as well as help future customers better understand what to expect from that chef.