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rates for private chefs - Page 4

post #91 of 97

GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING  (CONTRACT) This way there is no surprises

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...


Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

post #92 of 97

Hi, Chefedb,


Thank you for your reply.  You are absolutely right. 

post #93 of 97

I am planning about the same type of business. Preparing restaurant style meals in the home or special place of choice. The cost of the food is separate from my cost.I was browsing this site to see if my cost was too high. Thanks

post #94 of 97

As a Chef.....say, in a restaurant that cooks for hundreds of people, you are responsible for the entire operation.

As a private or personal Chef, you are cooking for a lot fewer but you are still responsible for the entire operation.


All this comes at a price, no?


Say, a restaurant Chef makes $35,000 a year for those responsibilities.

Now a private Chef still has many of the same responsibilities, like ordering food, maintaining quality and sanitation, and producing a product the client will enjoy.


The only real difference is location and venue. But there are also extenuating circumstances with regard to personal and private Chefs.

If a private Chef were to take a job in a situation where he/she are location challenged, the pay should be commensurate for that.

examples.....on a yacht, or in some far away location.


As a personal Chef with multiple clients, he/she cooks in the home of the client, sometimes using the clients materials.


In either case the Chef is still using trained culinary technique and producing restaurant quality food that should be paid for.

post #95 of 97
Hi, all -

New to the site, so please bear with me.

I am a CIA graduate (1993), worked in NYC and LA restaurants and have done everything from catering, private and personal chuffing, restaurants consulting, etc. I'm currently doing some personal chef gigs.

My query involves being available for a possible after-party this Halloween. By after party, I mean between 1:00am to 5:00am, possibly longer if guests linger. It's all up in the air as the party planner explained - just be available to whip up some food if the guests get hungry after the main caterer leaves. I am not connected to the catering company. I am one of the chefs who comes in when the client is in town. So, how much do I charge for the early morning gig? Take into account that it will be a wild party and guests will be drunk, to say the least.

I'm at a loss on the figure I should ask for. My husband threw out $3000 for the gig. I'm unsure about that figure, but also do not want totem to lowball me.

Thoughts, advice?

Thanks in advance.
post #96 of 97

I am in St. Louis, am a self taught chef, caterer, and I use to run my own catering business, along with working as a personal chef. I would visit with the family to see what their budget was to make sure one they could afford me, and second, what the total cost of the project would be. If the total cost of an individual event was a set amount, I would let them know my fee would be 20-25 %. If it was a smaller gathering, the fee would be less. I never had anyone complain about the cost as I produced meals that were on par with many 5 star restaurants. I always shopped, prepped, cleaned up, and left enough for left overs. Flash forward, I am now 55 and am going back to working as a personal chef after working in restaurants, at home prepping meals for family, friends, parties. I can tell you nobody needs to go to the culinary institute unless they plan to work on a cruise ship. If your skills are honed after years of working in smaller venues, you certainly may work as a personal chef. I do not baby sit, change diapers, clean up after the kids, work as their nanny. You need to be clear with the family what you do, so they don't assume you are going to be their rug to be walked over.

If you are going to cater a larger event, let them know you will be hiring assistants so you can add that charge in as well. You want people who can take direction, do the work, help with clean up, and take down. If you need to hire servers, that is another charge. Don't nickel and dime them, but be realistic what you can do and what you know you will need help with. Lying is your worst enemy here.

If I ran into what some call difficult clients who at the last second changed their minds, I always had something in my back pocket I could prepare. But with that came an extra fee. I asked about allergies, who was vegan, vegetarian, etc. That gave me the enough to work with to know what I would be fixing, if they had issues with blood pressure, it meant dishes that could be made low salt without sacrificing flavor. You just need to know these issues come up, know how to deal with them and be prepared to do the work. I love to cook, so it was never that big a deal for me, but for some, they refuse to be flexible. You must be flexible in this line of work. If they ask for a specialty item like a decorated cake, I would ask them for how many, go from there, and let them know my fees would be less than a bakery cake, and better. But if it was a matter of time, and they wanted a decorated cake with the bells and whistles and time was a factor? I directed them to the best bakery in town. I would give the bakery a heads up they were coming so the bakers would know the budget, numbers, etc.


I lasted because despite my lack of culinary pedigree, I offered quality, price and dependability. I never had a client give me a bad reference. If you get one, my advice is go back and ask what they felt you lacked? Get specifics. One this is a learning curve and two, you can tell the next client , you have given that client a freebie, and yes you have to eat your fee to get back in their good graces, but do so. By then, what was a bad reference becomes a good one. I believe this is always worth it.

post #97 of 97

I worked as a private chef in NYC full time for 2+ years and my rate was $50/hr... I also did side gigs now and again, more personal chef style, and I charged $60-$75. And I agree about Al Martino, that could be a great resource for you. They often post jobs on Craigslist. Good luck to you - if you find the right fit with the right people, it can be a really great gig!

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