How to find and hire the perfect personal chef for your needs and lifestyle

Balancing the task of cooking for your family daily with all your other chores can be a challenge. From the time spent cooking each day to the energy expended trying to plan meals, it can feel more and more like a dreaded chore.

If you often find yourself feeling exhausted from cooking every day and need help finding balance in your busy life, consider a personal chef to cook meals for your family. You can use the time you spend cooking to spend time with your children, your significant other, or yourself.

There are a variety of ways to incorporate this service into your life beyond just dinner parties, whether you’re interested for health purposes or just to give you a little more freedom and availability.

Also, if you don’t want to completely hand off the task of cooking for your family to a personal chef, you can also choose to let them prepare a few meals weekly for you to give you back time.

If hiring for an event, a personal chef can give you the time and energy to spend with your guests, allowing you to enjoy the event more thoroughly. Some personal chefs will even stick around to clear the table and do the dishes.

Prices of personal chefs vary a great deal by region, but depending on your needs and time constraints, you might find hiring a personal chef to be a worthy exchange to give you more time for other priorities.

Types of personal chefs

Weekly meal prep: If getting a healthy dinner on the table every night just isn’t fitting into your schedule, consider hiring a personal chef to prepare a variety of meals for you to reheat throughout the week. They handle the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning, and you can come home from work each day without stressing about a trip to the store and finding time to prepare something. If you’re eating out a ton during the week, you might even find this to be cost-effective, as well as a time-saver.

Dinner parties or single-meal chefs: Dinner party prep or important meals (like date night) takes a lot of time and effort — from planning a menu to shopping, preparing the ingredients, cooking, entertaining and cleanup. You can spare yourself some energy by occasionally hiring out for this task. The true fun for most when hosting a dinner party is the gathering of friends, so why not give yourself a little more breathing room? You can always prepare a dessert or special cocktail if you want to put your own touch on the event, or maybe spend your efforts on décor.

Dietary-specific: There are myriad reasons why your family might need to adjust its diet. You could suddenly need to accommodate for things like diabetes or a gluten sensitivity, or perhaps you’re just trying to cook a little healthier. Either way, this is an area where a personal chef could come in handy to help you make changes or embrace a totally new style of eating.

Knowing your needs

Create a bulleted list of traits the chef you hire must have and what specific requirements they’ll need to fulfill. The likelihood is that you know your own pallet and what type of food you’d like to eat daily, and this is your opportunity to specifically spell that out. Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, it will be that much easier to add them to your job listing to hire a personal chef.

  • What kind of service are you looking for — a one-time hire or a long-term agreement?
  • Do you have specific health and nutritional goals or expectations?
  • Will the chef need to provide recipes in advance to choose from?
  • How open to accomodating for a variety of dietary restrictions should the chef be?
  • Will the chef take care of cleanup?
  • How much time will the chef need to set aside to execute your needs?
  • What kitchen tools will you have available to the chef?
  • Will the chef need to handle the grocery shopping?
  • What type of cuisines do you like? Wholesome American, perhaps specialised Japanese
  • Do you want advanced pastry/baking skills?
  • Do you want one course, two courses or five courses at every meal?
  • Will the chef cater to family get-togethers?
  • Would you like your chef to make extras, like snacks or to-go lunches to take to work?
  • Do you have pets you’d like incorporated into meal planning?

Many chefs are asked to do additional duties in the kitchen and the home. This can be from menu planning, sourcing and buying the food, to even serving at the dinner table, presenting the food to the principal and their guests and cleaning up. Some families might just be looking for help with meal preparing. Consider your needs and be straight forward.

How many meals per week do you need them to cook? Three a day or just dinner? Do you regularly eat out and require the chef to be flexible as to the days they work, or do you want a regular routine of cooking in your home?

Do you require a part time, flexi-chef or do you need a full time Chef? If you need a full time chef would you prefer them to live in the grounds/home or would you prefer them to live out?

It may seem like an overwhelming choice of questions, but the more you can determine what your lifestyle needs are, the easier it will be to identify and hire the right personal chef.


Budget can play a major decision in your search for a personal chef because personal chef prices vary dramatically. Highly trained Michelin star chefs will charge a higher salary than those with lesser experience. Chefs who specialise in specific dietary cuisines such as vegan, gluten-free or ayurvedic will also charge a premium. As with anything, the more boxes you require the chef to tick, the higher salary you should expect to pay.

Part time chefs will normally charge an hourly rate and for one-off bookings such as dinner parties or events, they will charge a flat rate (half day or full day). Once you’ve established your budget, you’ll be better equipped to decide on what type of chef best suits that budget.

Seeking the right chef for your lifestyle

Now that you know a bit about the different types of chefs you can hire to fit your particular lifestyle, the next most important step is knowing how to attract the most qualified chef around.

Start by looking for chefs for hire in your area on various job boards, or take help from an Elite Staffing Agency like ours. Check us out here.

Write your job post – Introduce yourself clearly and take some time to write a few sentences about your household and what potential hires can expect from working for you. A thorough overview of the position will help shape expectations for applicants. Set clear expectations with the chef so neither of you are surprised or disappointed.

Let applicants know what information you need from them to be considered for this role. Specify the length of work history you are looking for, as well as any educational credentials or references you would like to see. Don’t forget to include specifics on the best way to send applications to you, or, if you would like, for them to reach out to follow up.

In many cases, consulting an expert recruiter can make your life much easier. If you need any help, or just want to ask us some more questions, you are so welcome to get in touch here and we will gladly help you.

Interviewing the candidates

The relationship between you and your personal chef is most often of a personal nature. Take time to interview the personal chef as well as meet with him/her as you would with any other professional service. During the interview, some areas you might want to ask about are –

A Personal Chef’s Background

Ask how your personal chef has acquired their cooking experience and how their service differs from others. You’ll find that personal chefs will have a wide variety of backgrounds. Some began their love for cooking by providing for their families while others polished their skills in the restaurant industry.

For many, transitioning to a second career as a personal chef is a natural process as it incorporates their passion for food, creativity and cultural background. Knowing more about them can help you decide if they are the professional you are looking to hire.

Liability Insurance

Just like other professionals who come and work in your home, you want to be sure that in the unfortunate and rare event that your Personal Chef’s actions cause injury to you, your family or your property, that your Personal Chef has the appropriate insurance to make it right.

National Organization Affiliation

Knowing your personal chef is affiliated with an organization such as the United States Personal Chef Association can reduce concerns of whether the personal chef is proficient. Being affiliated with a professional organization communicates that the personal chef is interested in:

  • Conducting business in a professional manner
  • Continuing their education and increasing their knowledge base
  • Access to the ideas, research, insights, and expertise of the field’s most esteemed chefs

Membership demonstrates that the personal chef understands the importance of continuing education through professional affiliation.

Client References

Personal chefs should be able to provide references, testimonials and endorsements from contented clients.

Sample Menus

Asking to review sample menus can provide insight to the personal chef’s style of cooking.

Sampling Their Food

At the end of the day, the best way to ensure that you’re choosing the right chef is to try their food. With this, you can try a selection of their food and determine whether this is the right chef for the job.

Once you’ve spent some time considering your family’s needs, you can make an educated decision on whether a personal chef is right for you. Then, decide which type of chef to hire and know your specific dietary needs so you can create the perfect job posting to interview and hire the ideal chef for your family.

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