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Personal Chef

A personal chef is a cook who prepares meals for a client in the client's home kitchen, based on the client's needs and personal preferences.  Usually these meals are left packaged in containers and refrigerated or frozen for the client to enjoy later. Some personal chefs, however, instead focus on cooking for dinner parties and other special occasions in the client's home, which means they are responsible for shopping, preparing the meal, serving the guests and cleaning up afterward. The menu is pre-planned and discussed with the client, then prepared in their home. According to health department guidelines, all food must either be prepared in the home of the client or in a kitchen that has passed an official health inspection.

Note that a personal chef is distinct from a private chef, which refers to a chef that is employed exclusively by one client, and in some cases lives in the client's home.

When hiring a personal chef to provide either a packaged meal service or to cook for a dinner party, a menu and a budget are submitted for the client's approval. Typically, the chef is given approval, a deposit, or (if familiar with the guest/frequent client) an expense account for the menu. The client pays for this in addition to the cost of the chef's services and gratuity.

Some personal chefs also provide meal planning and budget planning for homeowners and second homeowners that are busy with their own lives, but insist on nutritious and tasty meals for their families. Many personal chefs also offer personalized cooking instruction in the privacy of the client's home, either one-on-one or in groups.

In terms of experience, personal chefs tend to be chefs that have worked in restaurants, hotels, catering or all three. It is not uncommon for some personal chefs -- particularly those who cook for dinner parties and special occasions -- to be employed in a restaurant or catering job full time and only work as a chef in their spare time for extra income.


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