You have lots of business 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 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, so to clear things up — as a personal chef, you sit with various clients who tell you what they’d like to eat based on their health needs, if any, and how often they’d like you to prepare meals for them. You plan a menu, do the shopping, cook the food in the client’s home, label the food to include reheating instructions, clean up the kitchen, and 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 won. There’s a lot you need to know about cooking for clients that you might not know if you only ever cook at home. To learn to cook like the pros, consider enrolling in culinary school. Culinary arts training programs vary in length, so you could 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 and 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 for success 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.
First of all, CPCA offers certification, and having a certificate for your specific industry always makes you look more professional. The association also offers insurance, which every small business owner should have, including personal chefs. 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
To prepare for food-focused days, a personal chef might get out their day planner to see if they have any new clients to meet. Before leaving their home office, they might prepare food labels, menus, and shopping lists for clients, then pack the car with the specialty tools of the trade their clients might not have, such as chef’s knives, sharpeners, and herb choppers. They also might pack their portable printer to print any contracts, invoices, or receipts onsite.
After interviewing and signing up a new client, a personal chef usually goes ingredient shopping before heading off to clients’ homes to prepare meals. Depending on the type and quantity of meals a client wants, personal chefs might schedule themselves to prepare meals for one to three clients per day.
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.