being a private chef is a task that needs a lot of dedication and skills. like all other professions in the world, you need much education and training to be one of the top chefs in the field.
personal qualities and skills needed
the private chef will be set different expectations and challenges, unlike a traditional restaurant chef. it's an all-rounder job where you may likely be working as a sole chef, running the operations, as well as often serving and hosting guests front of house, and running the kitchen.
duties and responsibilities of a private chef
• conferring with principals and clients to determine their meal preferences, specifications, food allergies and dietary restrictions
• shopping for meal ingredients as well as necessary kitchen tools and equipment
• menu planning
• preparing & cooking customised meals for the principals
• appropriately packaging and labelling prepared meals that are to be consumed later
• clearing away and sanitising the kitchen
a private chef will need to…
• be creative
• have excellent time management skills
• have up to date and professional culinary skills
• be detail oriented
• show versatility
• demonstrate flexibility
• have ability to handle criticism
• have awareness of food safety and hygiene
• have strong understanding of nutrition
training and experience
although there is no required education or standard qualification to be a private chef, training and relevant, recognised qualifications and certificates give you a competitive edge. the right course will boost your skill-set and personal branding. some private chefs may have graduated from prestigious culinary schools such as the auguste escoffier school of culinary arts, culinary arts academy switzerland, le cordon bleu, leiths school of food and wine and more.
it is not uncommon for chefs to make a successful transition to private service from fine restaurants, or to develop their skills which may have been built up from many years of cooking, alongside a domestic position or as an assistant to another chef.
in order to become a credible private chef, you would need ideally three-to-five years of relevant culinary experience. that means working in a busy, high-end restaurant. some private chefs have corporate catering experience, and most have experience of varied cuisines such as mediterranean, french, asian, middle eastern, japanese and more!
working as a private chef
a private chef might plan and execute an anniversary dinner or a birthday party for as many guests as will fit at a family's dining room table; or cook every meal daily for a single busy individual.
most private chefs work on their own or with a very small team. cooking for private principals is just as labour-intensive as working in a restaurant, as you will have to be your own porter, shopper, delivery person, accountant and waiter.
generally, private chefs work four to six days per week and eight to twelve hours per day. they may also work on a rota basis with other chefs. typically, when and how much time you can take off is very dependent on the principals' schedule. flexibility is key to success for private chefs.
being successful as a private chef
if you love to cook a varied menu, like to be creative and enjoy developing skills in multi-cuisines, becoming a private chef could be an enjoyable career path for you. before you commit to a private chef career, it’s important to ask yourself if you enjoy interacting with - and pleasing - people, which will be a driver of your success.
a major contributing factor to your success as a private chef is client retention. moreover, the industry is very competitive - so you must be headstrong in order to stand out. there will be times when landing clients and maintaining a sustainable income will be difficult.
please speak to the chace people team for further information on applying for a position within private service, or if you're planning on hiring a private chef. we can source the best talent for full & part-time positions, as well as temporary/seasonal roles.