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Do I need culinary or technical school degree to become a personal chef?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Have always enjoyed cooking and baking.  Do I need to attend an expensive culinary school or even inexpensive technical school for a two year degree or even a certificate to become a personal chef?  How do you become a personal chef?  

post #2 of 9

The internet is filled with companies that offer online programs for becoming a certified Personal Chef.

I found that these companies will gladly take your money to teach you about starting your own business too.


Google "Personal and Private Chef jobs" and it will take you to where you need to go.  Good luck

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you Chefross!  Wow!  Lots of info on web for this!  

post #4 of 9
There are plenty of opportunities out there if you can market yourself. Personal chef work is 50% skill and 50% marketing. You have to get in the door first.

Once you have an opening with a client you can prove your worth with your skills.

I have students that are looking to be private/personal chefs right now. Their skill levels vary.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yep.  I'm busy and thought maybe a short and inexpensive certificate from a technical school that teaches basic food sanitation etc. would be a good backing.  I'm working for a busy family now that I get to cook for one day a week and am enjoying figuring out what reheats or eats at room temp well ie. roast chicken, beef stew, pork mash pie, stuffed italian shells and blueberry cobbler for dessert.  I thought if I could get a job where I learn on job part time perhaps I could get paid to learn.  Can't afford anything like culinary school and don't have circumstances.    


From what I've read these jobs are overwhelming schedule wise, poorly paid and involve clean up.


Next I thought I'd try individual chicken pot pies, chinese chicken noodle salad or chicken soup.  They have two young children.


Thanks for info!

post #6 of 9
OK. I'm not being snotty here or cracking wise. Really. To be a "Personal" and/or "Private Chef" you need some knowledge and a decent skill-set. Now I'm not sayin' ... I'm just sayin' ... but this stuff doesn't just fall out of the sky and hit you in the head. If you can make good enough $$$ with whatever you've got already, then go for it. I'm happy for you. Otherwise, maybe do a little more serious research into some type of education.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yep. I've cooked for a while enjoy cooking and have watched cooking shows since I was younger and enjoy baking. I know u need an imagination for good flavor combinations and/or a good palette recipes and technique which is what I lack. Am cooking for a family one day a week needing to come up with meals that are good at room temp and/or reheat well. So far I've made roast chicken beef stew pork mash pie and stuffed shells with marinara and blueberry cobbler. I don't have time or circumstances for culinary school but thought maybe if I got a basic sanitary food cert etc from a tech school I could use that as a base. Maybe learn as I earn eventually via pro chef organization study and get certified as a pro chef down the line.
post #8 of 9
I highly recommend you learn sanitation and safety. Get yourself ServSafe certified. You need to have the knowledge on proper cooling and reheating that does not include sticking stuff in the fridge and hoping for the best.

What we teach in school is less about what to cook and more about how to manage cooking commercially, we do teach fundamentals, cut skills, basics of stock and sauce, but what you serve and create is out of your imagination and skill sets.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

This is course I'm thinking of:



CULA 116 Culinary Skills & Concepts 9
CULA 119 Intermediate Culinary Skills & Concepts 9
CULA 120 Restaurant Fundamentals 9
CULA 128 Food Service Safety & Sanitation 3
CULA 137 Nutrition in Food Service 3
CULA 142 Costing and Menu Planning 3
CULA 154 Food and Beverage Procurement 3


    Written Communication 5
    Social Science 5
    Quantitative Reasoning 5


Though it doesn't ACF certify you, I thought it would be enough and I could pick up technique while on the job, reading etc.  I can cook without a recipe sometimes and am trying to learn what makes a good dish the balance of flavors salty, sweet, spicy etc.  I have learned from tv that hot food can lower temp of other food in fridge and food you've just cooked itself can spoil too even though you put it in the refrigerator if it's too hot.


I've taken a knife skills cooking class.  I have a book on sauces I need to read and need to practice making broth and enjoy soups.  I know I need to improve my skill set. 


Thanks for all your advice.

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