Home Gourmet

Unless you happen to own your own restaurant, most people assume that eating quality food at home without local takeout or delivery options is beyond their means, but hiring a private chef might be more affordable than you think.
Text by David C. Cleland | June 8, 2018 | Lifestyle

It’s true that hiring a full-time private chef who cooks 3 meals a day, works holidays and travels with you can be very expensive…up to $200,000 a year, and that’s before the groceries. However, very few people live lives where they would have use for a dedicated chef, and having someone come and cook a few nights a week or for a dinner party can be surprisingly affordable. In fact, compared to taking friends out to a dinner where you end up paying valet, large mark-ups on wine and cocktails, tax and tip, a private chef may be more of a reasonable investment.
But there’s a big difference between a private chef and a caterer. When you a hire a caterer, you hire them for a large event, where they will bring food that’s been prepared off-site as well as equipment, tables, chairs, utensils and anything else you would need along with a staff to take care of serving, bartending, setting up and cleaning up. Conversely, when you hire a private chef, you hire them for a small dinner party or to cook for your family. He or she will arrive at your home with bags of groceries, their knives and maybe a few pieces of small equipment. They cook using your kitchen, most of your equipment, and serve using your tables, chairs, china and silverware. Although most private chefs are happy to serve the dishes, they aren’t waiters and wouldn’t be responsible for pouring wine or setting the table unless previously agreed upon.
Finding a private chef is fairly easy to do. There are lots of agencies that staff private chefs, although most charge for the service or specialize in full-time chefs. A simple online search will show lots of local private chefs, but be sure to get references as soon as you find one you like.
Choosing the right chef depends on a lot of different factors. The most obvious of which is the quality and type of food you’d like prepared. Pick a chef that lines up with who you want them to be cooking for including kids, adults, picky eaters, vegetarians or people with dietary restrictions and allergies. Next, select what kind of cuisine you want. Although many chefs are able to cook every kind of food, if you have a specific craving, try to find a chef who specializes in it. For the most part, what chefs charge is negotiable, so try to get the price you want.
With all of the benefits of hiring a private chef and the relatively low cost, there’s no reason you can’t experience this little bit of luxury in your home, even if only for a few courses.