Private Chefs

Written by Shirley Parker
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Private chefs are the people we tend to think of when personal chefs are mentioned, but there is a definite difference. As a rule, private gourmet chefs command higher fees and from a single employer at a time, whether they have long-term or short-term assignments. They may also provide personal chef services from time to time, for the extra income it provides from additional customers.

Private chefs may be live-in or live-out, depending on the needs of the client. Exclusive agencies carefully screen a chef's qualifications and prospective clients to make sure of a good match. A wrong match is bad for the chef, the client and the agency. For placement in many wealthy homes, for example, it's preferred that a chef be educated in additional areas besides the culinary field, so that he or she understands when to keep quiet or what questions not to ask.

If a chef is to be live-in, he or she requires his or her own apartment within the employer's household, and sometimes the use of an automobile, in addition to a respectable salary based on experience and quality references. On the other hand, such a chef may only be needed when the employer's yacht puts out to sea for several weeks at a time. Either way, the agency receives a fee for each placement.

Private Chefs Who Live-Out

For some private chefs, live-out is their preferred method of operation, since it leaves them free to choose their own hours of work and the mixture of occasions for which they'll cook. They often do preparation in their own homes, only having to spend a few hours at a client's house. Even a long event usually involves fewer hours than standing 10 to 12 hours a day in a noisy, overheated restaurant kitchen.


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