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How To Start a Private Chef Business

Updated on April 19, 2017

Earn $250 per hour by reading emails! Make a fortune by clicking on ads! Build blogs and make millions! Home based business is so easy!

Unfortunately all of this is a lie. So many of the home based business opportunities are scams. But it's not hard to spot them: if something looks too easy and there is no real business model behind it, it's a scam.

Instead of falling into "make easy money at home" scams, why don't you think about starting a real home-based business? It's not going to be easy and you aren't going to make millions overnight (or ever). But it will be stable and real thing that can provide you with good income and new lifestyle. Here's is one idea: become a personal chef.

Here is why you would:

  • Because you love to cook
  • Because you want flexible working time
  • Because you don't want to work in someone else's office
  • Because you want to be your own boss
  • Because you want to build long-term sustainable business and not some fly-by-night operation

It's not the dream work for the lazy ones, but it's perhaps the dream for you. This guide will attempt to show you how to turn it into reality.


It's obvious that you need to cook well if you want to become a professional chef. But here are the good news: there is no professional training or certification required for this type of business (at least in most countries and states). Of course you can may sign up for professional training in cooking school but it's up to you. So here are the options you have:

  • Go to a personal chef/culinary school. Most people in the business highly recommend this
  • Work as a cook at a restaurant. This is an option if you don't have the money to join in a school. You will learn a lot in practice but you may not learn great cooking skills.
  • Educate by yourself. There are hundreds of recipe/cooking sites and videos online, entirely free. This is a very real option to learn as well.

The most important is to have passion for cooking. People who don't have it better forget about becoming personal chefs.

Get Practical Experience

Like already mentioned one of the methods to get practical experience is to work as a cook somewhere. There are some problems going this route however. First, it's hard to find work as a cook if you already don't have the experience. Second, the reality is if you manage to find such job you'll probably do some boring part of the work and won't learn much about the high-level cooking.

A more realistic option is to volunteer. There are many volunteering jobs available, just search on the job sites. Volunteering will give you the chance to catch higher quality work because professional chefs are too busy to do it usually.

In both cases getting some practical experience is a must before you can continue. Cooking at home for your family does not count.


Starting a business without specializing is recipe for failure. If you just list yourself as "personal chef" in the local yellow pages or Craiglist, how will clients differentiate you from the crowd?

It's much better to specialize. This will narrow the number of potential clients who will reach you but will also make you easier to find and stand out from the generalists. There are two ways to specialize:

  • By type of kitchen. Cook Chinese, Indian, Irish, Vegan, whatever. Just focus at some type of kitchen and you'll score better for clients who are interested in this kitchen type. Not only this, but you will become better at it and will be able to offer higher variety of recipes in this kitchen.
  • By type of clients. If you laser focus to family parties or small offices for example you'll reach clients easier. You'll learn their specific needs and will be able to adapt your service to them.

Find a niche or more than one niche and specialize in it instead of being a generalist. This makes marketing easier and your service of better quality.

Set Up Your Kitchen

Unless you will always cook at your client's kitchens you need to set up your own. This is perhaps the biggest investment you'll make in your personal chef business. The kitchen does not need to be super expensive but it should give you the comfort to cook quickly and easily. Make sure you have enough hot plates with high and low heat, at least a couple of ovens, and all kind of pans and cutlery.

Market Your Service

Clients will make or break your private chef business. If you already have them before you start, then great: just perform a good service and word of mouth will help you find more. But otherwise you need to start somewhere. Here are some ideas how to market a personal chef business:

  • Offer free samples, cakes etc. to local business in your area
  • Advertise locally. Don't put an ad in a site that covers the entire country - you'll spend a lot more and then you won't be able to serve clients that are far away from you.
  • Use personal chef software to manage your existing customers and never miss a scheduled cooking.
  • Create a small site or blog with recipes and cooking advice
  • Make connections on Facebook and other social networks. Again, focus on local.


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