Eating is a necessity, but cooking is an art… Choose the right chef!
The art of cooking is a highly personal thing. Taste is unique to us all, and no individual is exactly the same in how food is interpreted on the pallet. From foodies who eat at a whole range of culinary delights to the more straight forward, wholesome approach, no matter what food approach floats your boat, we can all agree that food is a necessity for life!
For many discerning individuals and families, the need to have the correct diet and approach to food can be a driving force and they look to find a personal chef to work for them. Personal Chef prices, skills and backgrounds, all vary dramatically. No individual is alike in their approach and the level and standard of the personal chef vary dramatically.
Use this guide to help you understand and hire a personal chef.
What are your lifestyle needs?
When you hire a personal chef, its important to consider your lifestyle and how you want the chef to compliment your routine. 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?
The first steps are to consider how the Chef should compliment and enhance your life. 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? The more you can determine what your lifestyle needs are, the easier it will be to identify and hire the right personal chef.
What is your budget?
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 little 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.
As a guideline, for full time Chefs, entry level chefs of 2-4 years experience will charge between £28K-35K per year, mid-level chefs will charge between £35-55K per year and top end chefs or celebrity chefs will charge upwards of £55K per year. And all salaries will be dependent on the overall package offered. 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).
What type of cuisines do you like?
This is as important as the budget in your consideration. Hiring a personal Chef varies due to the cuisines you are expecting the chef to cater for. Do you want wholesome, classic British food? Do you want Pan-Asian? Perhaps specialised Sushi or Japanese food is your requirement.
Do you need a specific diet such as Vegan or Gluten-free? Do you want advanced pastry/baking skills? Do you expect them to cater for dinner parties or just for small family dinners? Do you want one course, two course or five courses at every meal? It may seem like an overwhelming choice of questions, but if you are considering finding a personal chef, the likelihood is that you know your own pallet and what type of food you’d like to eat daily.
Sometimes principals use the Chef to control their diet and calorie intake. Others like their personal Chef to cater for their discerning guests, making their guest’s stay more like visiting a 5* hotel. Whatever the aim of your search to find a personal chef, the cuisines play a key role in determining the outcome.
Domestic VS Corporate
Something to consider even though you are looking to hire a personal chef, is the fact that most Chefs will have started their careers in the restaurant and hotel business. Many Chefs transition into domestic households and it is normal to see a background of corporate and domestic work on a Chef CV.
Don’t be scared to hire a Chef who has no domestic background on their CV. Ultimately, Chefs are some of the most flexible and adaptive candidates out there and they will be able to cook to the level you require them to regardless of the kitchen they are in. After all, an oven is just an oven until you let loose a 3* Michelin star chef and then what will come out of the oven will be majestic!
Menu Planning and Shopping – Additional Duties
This generally links back to the lifestyle needs, but 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 and presenting the food to the principal and their guests. This is an important aspect of domestic Chef work, which is often overlooked in the corporate world.
Do you require your personal chef to have silver service training? If the personal Chef is working onboard your Yacht he would be required to have additional skills such as fish presentation and preparation on the dinner table. Do you require your Chef to pair wine with the food and order the correct cases of wine for your wine cellar? These additional duties are key to ensuring that how you hire a personal chef is completed in a simple and effective way. All homes will have different expectations of their Chef and the routine that is created for them.
Events & Dinner Parties
Not all personal chefs will cater for events and dinner parties, as this requires an additional skill set. Some Chefs will find this challenge exciting, whereas others prefer to menu plan and cook for smaller groups of people. The size and style of your event will influence the type of personal Chef hire. If you have regular events and dinner parties, it’s imperative that you find a personal chef that can cater for this part of your lifestyle requirements.
The key part of the personal chef recruitment process comes at the stage of the trial. At this point you can experience the skills of your chosen candidates first hand, see them in action, and taste the food. Before you hire a personal chef be sure to experience their full skill set, from presentation to service and the finishing touches. The trial will be the key to a successful hire. After all, the proof is in the pudding and one must sample the pudding to understand the true flavour of the personal chef.
Ultimately everyone will require a different type of personal chef. On your search, the more thought and detail you can provide, the easier it will be to find and hire the perfect chef. We highly recommend writing out your requirements so you have a clear description of the type of chef you’re looking for. 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 more than welcome to get in touch and we will help you in any way we can.