Luxury Lifestyle: Hiring A Personal or Private Chef In 2020

As the world changes to adapt to pandemic lifestyles, visionary entrepreneurs will find opportunities to adjust as well in providing elevated services and products for consumers of luxury.   Similar to the hotel industry, restaurants have undoubtedly had to modify their establishments since all the rules have been upended as consumers have been slow to embrace dining out.  Restaurant owners and chefs will have long-lasting challenges in ensuring a sanitary and healthy atmosphere for diners.    

On the other end of the spectrum, many high net worth households which include high-income professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc) corporate executives, mover and shakers, celebrities and professional athletes, hire a personal chef or private chef as an integral household position.   With current events regarding the pandemic, the option of dining out has become less appetizing which means families are relying more on the services of these hired cooking professionals.  

Historically, private chefs had always worked in the homes of the rich and famous and would even hire celebrity personal chefs for special occasions. In current times, reasons for hiring a private chef include how the affluent continue to recognize the value of time and convenience, the opportunity to experience a wide range of culinary offerings and having a professional to work with specific tastes and dietary restrictions is a both true indulgence and practical lifestyle choices.    

Enter the global upheaval of 2020.  The culinary industry is experiencing an increasing trend of more professionals being hired as a live-in, or arranging for meal drop-offs as households are eating at home even among those not considered elite. 

Depending on the needs and wishes of the family will determine the type of professional to be hired.  Desires can include culinary talents which range from basic comfort food American dishes for families with young children to innovative, avant-garde dishes for nouveau riche dinner parties. 

A personal chef is a contractor/vendor and may serve several clients, usually one per day and provide multiple meals that are custom-designed for the clients’ particular requests and requirements (which are packaged and stored for the client’s future use).   Personal chefs will bill you for services and money spent on groceries (based on what is being prepared for the day) will be either directly reimbursed or rolled into an hourly rate. 

A private chef is more often employed by an ultra-high net worth individual or family full time and can live-out or live-in (which may include living arrangements equivalent to a small apartment, board, and use of a car or compensated for mileage of their personal vehicle).  Private chefs earn a salary, eligible for a benefits package and annual performance bonuses.   Their culinary talents will not only be wide-ranging but are discerning in finding the best ingredients, quality appliances, possess creativity for tabletop arrangements and have savvy kitchen management abilities.  Private Chefs will create and present menus for approval, shop for groceries, prepare (up to three meals per day) and when no other staff is present, serve, and clean up.  Private Chefs may be hired to work on quarantined remote compounds, vacation homes, private jets and yachts. 

When hiring a chef to work in your home simply comes down to compatibility with the chef and your family as this relationship will become quite intimate over time.  Key elements in your search should include:

1.       Understand what you’re looking for in a private chef – Food preferences, household members dietary needs, style and frequency of entertaining (ranging from cocktail parties, private events or corporate events), expectations of days and number of meals to be prepared, include other staff in meal preparations, accompanying you and family on trips, expectations to feed your pets, partnership with a nutritionist, allowance for experimentation of other cultural foods (i.e. Chinese, African, etc.)

2.       Background – Experience in cooking which could range from working in restaurants to servicing other families.  Does this particular person’s passion for food, creativity  and cultural background fit your wants and needs? 

3.       Adequate Liability Insurance

4.       Affiliations with National Organizations – See below

5.       Client References and testimonials

6.       Sample Menus – Based on food preferences and dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, sugar-free, fat-free, etc.)

There several ways to find private chefs:

1.       Client Referrals

2.       Placement Agencies – such as Private Chefs, Inc (PCI) or United States Personal Chef Association’s Hire A Chef 

3.       National Organizations such a The American Personal & Private Chef Association has an online source to search for private chefs in by the city, state, zip, or area code.  

American Personal & Private Chef Association  or 
-The United States Personal Chef Association

Hiring in 2020 is going to look different as we all navigate through this seemingly never-ending COVID-19 pandemic.  Keep in mind, as you’re seeking a candidate, according to industry professionals, virtual interviewing is increasing and when dealing with recruiters expect them to provide you with their training guidelines and processes with their candidates to work in luxury homes in providing safe maintenance and operations of your kitchen and dining areas.     – AJ

Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on Twitter!

Thanks to the following sources for content:

Estate and Manor – Private Chefs Hiring

Eat Love Savor –  Luxurious Living:  Personal Chefs – Not Just for the Elite Anymore

Hat Tip to the following photographers:

Luis Vidal – touch of lime

Mae Mu – fork with pasta

Jonathan Borba – male chef

Christiann Koepke – chef barbequing

Josué AS – Knife skills

Claudio Bianchi – Cutlery

Caroline Attwood – Cutting Onions

IMattSmart –Mediterranean Scallops 


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