How to find and hire the perfect personal chef
Hiring a personal chef isn’t just for the rich and famous. Many home cooks love to be in the kitchen, preparing a big meal for family and friends. Some even love to go grocery shopping. But given the option, they might prefer to have someone else do all this and more to free them up to spend more quality time with the ones they love.
A personal chef can give you the time and energy to spend with your guests, rather than putting in hard work in front of a hot stove. Some personal chefs will even stick around to clear the table and do the dishes.
Prices 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. 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.
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. You may find, though, that dietary-specific items — like gluten-free or organic only — are a bit more expensive.
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, like Care.com’s. You can also create your own listing and post it for chefs looking for work to peruse. Set clear expectations with the chef so neither of you are surprised or disappointed.
Knowing your needs
Create a bulleted lists of traits the chef you hire must have and what specific requirements they’ll need to fulfill. Only you know exactly what you need, 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?
Will the chef need to handle the grocery shopping?
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?
Writing your job post
Introduce yourself — clearly
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. Use these questions and ideas during interviews with potential chef hires.
Do you have kids and how old are they?
Do you have specific needs for each meal?
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?
When would you like the chef to be at your home?
Is there anything about your kitchen chef needs to know?
Include a job title
The job title on your posting should be brief and to the point. Will this chef manage your entire kitchen full time, or will they pitch in on an as-needed basis? Consider some of these options as a lead-in to shape the role:
Full-time private chef
Part-time assistant chef
Special events chef
Seasonal private chef
Private kitchen manager
After establishing the title, be specific and concise with your expectations. Let applicants know what they will be expected to do while in your home. Use the questions covered in “Knowing Your Needs” above to help complete this section. Some families need a chef to manage everything from shopping, to cleanup, to kitchen maintenance, while others might just be looking for help with meal planning. Consider your needs and be straight forward.
How to apply
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.
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 and know your specific needs so you can create the perfect job posting to hire the ideal chef for your lifestyle.
Read next: How much does a personal chef cost?
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