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Personal Chef

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello fellow cooks out there.  I reside in the Miami area.  I will be be cooking for an elderly gentleman for a period of two months.  Lunch and dinner five days a week.  How much is reasonable in my area?  I will do the groceries which will be separate from my hourly rate.  I truly appreciate all the input.  Thank you!

post #2 of 7

Are you planing to cook there at lunch and dinner preparing each hot meal individually, or are you planning a cook day where you cook a weeks worth of food for him during an afternoon?


Are you quoting a protein and veg per meal or a protein, veg, starch?  Is there a salad or soup option?  Is this your first gig?


I've done the personal chef thing and have always charged for my services +grocery deposit.  I'm just curious what your menu/timing structure is so I can try and give you a valid estimate.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi JCMoChef,


Thank you for replying. 


I will cook there.  It will be, brunch and dinner (I will be there for about 6 hours).  Soups and casseroles are preferred by the family.  They are a family of 5 or potentially 6.  They are open to everything except raw food.  I have done some small catering in the past but as a personal chef is my first gig.

post #4 of 7

I'll do my best to give my professional opinion for your situation. I know it can be exciting to be asked to cook for a family, but I just want to hopefully give you a few things to think about before just jumping straight into being a personal chef. You may already know most all of what I'm going to bring up, but I'm just trying to help. You don't have to answer publicly, but ask yourself some questions.


Does Miami require a business license?
Does running your business in a client's home require you to be insured? (worst case scenario, you have a grease fire, throw water on it and burn their house down.)
Do you have any legal safe guards in case a member gets sick, blames your cooking and sues you?
Does your state or city require a food handlers card, ServSafe certification, or comparable proof of training?
Does your state require you to collect taxes?


I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just trying to help anyone considering the business to make sure they're covered since most people will more than likely be going into the business as a sole propreitor. If you already have a business set up incorporated or as an LLC, bonus. I'm not a lawyer, but I know there's a few hoops to jump through regardless what state you're in.


As far as pricing, it seems like you'll be doing family style cooking, that's good, your days should be shorter. It may be best for you to set up a per hour or per day rate plus groceries. It'd be best for you to do the grocery shopping because you'll know exactly what you'll need to cook your menu, and you'll ensure you're picking the best possible produce. Get a grocery store deposit before shopping or, in your client agreement, make sure you are compensated for your receipt upon job completion.


There are a number of variables to consider before settling on price, but I think a fair price for this particular service would be $100 - $175 per cook day + groceries ($500 - $875 per week). A selling point as a personal chef is the ability to personalize their menus, quantities, nutrition, etc. to suit them as a family and provide them with restaurant quality food. If they say thats too pricey, break it down for them. That's roughly 60 meals a week, you're doing their grocery shopping, cooking, and kitchen cleanup.


I know they said they like pretty much anything, but in my experience, that is rarely true. Google personal chef client questionnaire, and go over the questions with the family. Make sure allergies are part of the questions.


Hopefully I've covered a decent amount of bullet points, but there is a lot more to it than I wrote here. Things like maintaining inventory, labeling, storage, other legal forms, etc.  If you haven't yet, go to and find a good book or two on being a personal chef. If you already have, good for you :)


It's a good and profitable business to get into, but it is still "a business". Good luck with your venture!

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Good morning, JCMOCHEF,


Thank you so much for taking the time to spell everything out for me.  I already have the personal chef book and I am working on my business permit.  I've create a Client Questionnaire and I am working on the contract. 


Again thank you so much. 

post #6 of 7

Before you go out and organize yourself in the manner that jcmochef suggested, you may want to consider the following.


You will be doing the actual cooking in their home, and not delivering it from another site kitchen.

This makes you fall into more of a Private Chef category.


Sanitation and hygiene and health codes aside for just a will be exposed to how a family keeps their fridge, pantry and freezers.


It is not always going to be by professional codes.

You may see freezer burn, mold, and perhaps even vermin.

You can try to implement your organizational skills, but if the client objects there isn't much you can do.


Working in someone's home can be frustrating if they have few utensils, pots, and pans.

I hope you did a run through to inspect their kitchen in your interview.


I would sit down with the family again and go over a few more things.


Good luck.

post #7 of 7
Great advice from the Chefs .......
I do have something to add tho.
The term elderly gentleman set off an alarm for me.
You may want to stipulate that there will always be a third party in the home during those 6 hours.
Not trying to be a meanie but you can hardly be expected to be his companion.
Of course if he gets sick you will pick up the phone and dial 911 but having a buffer between him and you will take care of the friendly game of cards or endless stories that will surely arise if it is just the two of you.

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