FAQs – for clients

What is the difference between a personal chef and a private chef?

A private chef is generally someone who works exclusively for one client and hence, may prepare all of the meals for the client and his/ her family. They may also live in the client’s home and travel with their client. As you can imagine, there aren’t that many people who can afford a private chef!

A personal chef, on the other hand, is someone who serves multiple clients at a given time and typically cooks only some of the meals that a given client and their family would eat in a given week. They also visit each client’s house only once a week, cooking a large batch of food to ‘stock’ the refrigerator so that clients only have to reheat in order to get delicious food on the table. Like a private chef, a personal chef can typically accommodate for a wide range of dietary needs and preferences!

Isn’t having a personal chef only for the ultra-wealthy?

As personal chefs split their time across multiple clients, having a personal chef is more affordable than ever. We have many chefs on the platform who charge about $35 per hour and can make 5 meals with 4 adult servings each in about 7 hours. That is about $12 per serving and ingredient costs will add another $3-5 for a total of $15-17 per serving. That is comparable to eating at a lower-end restaurant in many areas of the country but having a personal chef means you can control what goes into the food (e.g., quality and choice of ingredients), choose the dishes that you want (by having access to a wider menu), eat in the comfort of your own home, and typically have higher-quality fare than what is available at a restaurant for a comparable price.

It’s all about priorities. Many people who don’t consider themselves ultra-wealthy hire others to perform many tasks that they can do themselves, including cleaning their home, mowing their lawn, or providing childcare. Studies have shown that spending money to buy themselves time to do other things they care about (for example, hiring a personal chef to cook for your family if you don’t have the time to do so or don’t enjoy cooking) is a bigger driver for one’s happiness than buying physical things.

How can having a personal chef help me?

In addition to saving you time, hiring a personal chef can also help your family eat better. Many of our chefs have formal culinary training and some even have a background in education. Whether you are trying to eat less meat, less gluten, less sugar, a personal chef can help you meet those goals!

Do I have to be home when the personal chef comes to my house?

We suggest that until you establish a relationship with your personal chef, you plan to be at home when the personal chef first arrives. They will need you to spend 5 minutes showing them how your kitchen is laid out and where the bathroom is. Many clients then go work or spend time with their families in a different room or if they feel comfortable, run errands.

Do I have to plan the menu, buy the groceries, or clean up after the chef?

The short answer is no, but the chef will need your input to ensure that he/she is cooking what you want. The chef will typically send you a list of menu items that he/she frequently cooks though many are open to your suggestions of new items that might not be on that list! If you prefer, they might suggest a shorter menu for the week and ask for your feedback.

Many of our chefs also will buy groceries for the cooking day. Please note that prices estimated on our website do not include grocery costs. Clients will be expected to reimburse the chef for groceries with the receipt. Some personal chefs will request that a deposit be put down for groceries in advance, which can be facilitated with Soma.

All of our chefs clean up and leave your kitchen the way that they found it after the cooking is done.

How accurate are the timing estimates?

As everyone has experienced, sometimes certain dishes will take more or less time despite our best estimates on how long it will take to make them – some ovens run slightly hotter and others cooler, some cuts of meat just cook faster than expected while others need a little bit more time. Our personal chefs will make the dishes they committed to within the cost they agreed to with you, but the actual time they will be at your home may vary by an hour longer or shorter.

Do I have to do anything before the personal chef comes to my house?

You should make sure that you:

  • have agreed with your personal chef on the set of dishes that your personal chef will make on the cook date
  • communicated any dietary restrictions, allergies or any food preferences that you have
  • told your personal chef how to get in the house on the cook date
  • cleared enough room in your kitchen and refrigerator for the personal chef to work (your kitchen doesn’t need to be spic and span but please don’t leave a sink full of dishes that doesn’t leave any space for the sink to be actually used)
  • make sure any pets or young children won’t be posing a potential hazard to themselves or the cook by wandering into the kitchen

Can the personal chef cook somewhere else and bring the food to my house?

Currently, most states require that food be cooked in the client’s home or in a commercial kitchen. While some of our personal chefs have access to commercial kitchen, many do not and it tends to add costs as they need to pay to rent the commercial kitchen and then deliver the food to you.

Can I gift personal chef services to someone else?

Yes, absolutely. It makes a wonderful gift to new parents, a family that is experiencing sickness or grieving. We list the average cost per session with one of our personal chefs by city here and you have the option of sending an e-gift card that covers just the personal chef services (with the expectation that the recipient will pay for the ingredient costs) or that covers both the personal chef services and ingredient costs. We will then contact the recipient to help them choose the best personal chef that meets their needs and preferences.

Are the personal chefs on Soma insured?

Many of the personal chefs featured on Soma carry their own liability insurance. However, at this time Soma does not provide any insurance to the personal chefs listed on our website – we are solely providing a directory service.

Any other questions? Please email us at team@somapersonalchef.com – we would love to hear from you!