You have lots of career options if you love to cook, and becoming a personal chef is one of them. Armed with your cooking skills and a solid business plan, you can make money helping busy Canadians enjoy healthy meals in the comfort of their homes. Do you have what it takes to be a successful personal chef? Here are some details about the profession to help you find out.
Personal Chef Career Explained
Unlike a private chef who usually works full time for one wealthy client, a personal chef prepares meals for many clients during the week. Some people confuse personal chefs and caterers, but there are differences. As a personal chef, you work for various clients who tell you what they want to eat based on their health needs, if any, and taste preferences. They tell you how often they want you to prepare meals for them. You plan a menu, do the shopping, and cook the food in the client’s home. You also label the food to include reheating instructions and clean up the kitchen. Once you’re done, you do the same thing over again in your next client’s home. A caterer, on the other hand, prepares food in large quantities for special events.
Learn to Cook Like a Pro
Sure, it takes some natural talent to excel as a personal chef, but being self-taught is only half the battle. To learn to cook like the pros, consider enrolling in culinary school. Culinary arts training programs vary in length, so you can get the training you need in as few as one to two years. In culinary school, you learn everything from calculating portions to creating amazing flavours, as well as all about the safe food-handling laws in the provinces. Culinary school is also a great place to network and look for internship opportunities.
Join a Professional Association
Joining an active professional association can make all the difference when you’re just starting out as a personal chef. The Canadian Personal Chef Association offers support for members. For example, CPCA offers various courses including business planning and strategic marketing. It’s not mandatory to be a CPCA member to be a personal chef, but membership certainly has its perks.
CPCA offers certification, and having a certificate for your specific industry makes you look more professional. The association also offers insurance, which every small business owner should have. Lastly, people looking for personal chef services contact CPCA for leads in their area, and being a member puts you on the association’s contact list.
A Day in the Life of a Personal Chef
On an average day as a personal chef, you might get out your calendar to see if you have any new clients to meet. Before leaving your home office, you might prepare food labels, menus, and shopping lists for clients, then pack the car with the speciality tools of the trade your clients might not have, such as chef’s knives, sharpeners, and herb choppers. You also might pack your portable printer to print any contracts, invoices, or receipts at your job site.
After interviewing and signing up a new client, you might go ingredient shopping before heading off to a client’s home to cook. Depending on the type and quantity of meals your client wants, you might prepare meals for one to three clients for each day of the week.
If you love cooking delightful meals for people, a career as a personal chef may be in your future. Focusing on high-quality service ensures success and longevity in the industry. Handling the administrative tasks like a pro with the latest software also improves your chances of success. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage your business on the go. Download the app.