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Caterer Versus Private Personal Chef: Information and Catering Resources

Updated on February 16, 2012

Home Based Catering vs. Personal Chef

Wondering if what you are doing when you cook at friends' houses is a catering job, or wanting to know how to become a personal chef? Caterers and personal chefs are similar in that they create food for others for profit. The main distinction is that a personal chef cooks food strictly on site at the client's house whereas a caterer prepares much of the food off site that is served at the event.

Where you do the prep and cooking predominately determines if you are a personal chef or a full service caterer.
Where you do the prep and cooking predominately determines if you are a personal chef or a full service caterer. | Source

Personal Chefs

A personal chef brings the food, cooks it in the client's kitchen, then serves it or stores it for later use by the client. The personal chef may use standardized recipes that have already been costed and measured out, or the recipes may come from the client's repertoire. Personal chefs are useful for families with members on a special diet or want particular ethnic foods prepared in a special way. They are hired to create family meals for when schedules are tight and ordering take-out or fast food isn't an option for health reasons. Personal chefs can also cook recipes that are requested by dieticians and nutritionists for their clients.

Look at the links below for personal chef resources, and educational or certification opportunities.


A caterer prepares the food offsite, like at a commissary kitchen or other professional kitchen. Caterers must use proper food handling procedures, just like any other food handler, to ensure food prepared hot stays hot, or if cold stays cold. Foods that must be reheated or that are finished cooking on site are generally kept in special containers that can be transported easily and kept well. Caterers often provide entire party packages for their clients, supplying everything from food, props and staff to make it all seamless.

The links below provide resource information for caterers and catering professionals.

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