As the pandemic shuttered traditional restaurants and eating options, chefs slowly began trickling away from Michelin-starred kitchens and into the private sphere. For those with enough resources, private chefs became a viable alternative to eating out or preparing meals. Since the pandemic, that trickle has turned into a torrent, and many top chefs now work directly for private clients.
Private chefs cater to a variety of needs and run the gamut from fresh culinary school graduates to veteran cooks. Their services can include everything from lavish specialty dinners for the ultra-rich to daily meal prep for busy clients. These chefs can live on-site or commute to the client's home.
Even as the pandemic recedes, the industry continues to boom. According to the American Personal and Private Chef Association, there about 10,000 personal chefs — a number they believe will double within five years. This growth is fueled by both supply and demand, as chefs looking to make more money and gain freedom collide with a clientele that's shown quite the appetite for private dining.
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Dine-In: The New Fancy Restaurant
On the chef side, cooks are finding opportunities not typically available in a restaurant, like extravagant pay and flexible schedules. In Air Mail, Daniel Wood, the founder of Private Chef Match, reports that his business places chefs in positions with annual salaries ranging from $150,000 to $300,000. Some of Wood's current job openings require 10 days of work or less per month. Brian Aruda, a former chef and founder of Executive Chefs at Home, details the upside for chefs: "...you make more money, you have more time, and one six-hour event can make you more money than a week and a half in a restaurant would."
Clients, meanwhile, are more than happy to shell out high rates for a private chef. Air Mail reports that it's not unusual for match-making services to charge $20,000 -- groceries concluded -- for a high-end dinner with guests. One time, Aruda shares, a client asked him to purchase $20,000 worth of caviar. As private chef services have become more common, they've led to something of a frenzy in high-net-worth social circles. The summer, Aruda says, is "absolutely insane—they all want caviar, they all want truffles, and everyone's competing against each other."
A Private Chef For All Your Needs
When you think of private dining, outrageously priced meals and over-the-top dishes might come to mind. But, private chefs are not only utilized by the super-wealthy. More modest pricing models are available for those who just want some extra help in the kitchen or meal prep for weeknight dinners. In an essay for Business Insider, CEO Marshall Haas shares that he hired a personal chef off of Facebook to help free up time and resources. He pays $2200 a month for private cooking and shopping services. For that price (which includes groceries), a personal chef comes to his home once a week for a full day of meal prep. He and his family then have access to the prepared food for the rest of the week.
Private chefs are also available for one-time events and can help you spice up your next dinner party. Aruda's match-making service will typically charge somewhere between $100 to $120 per head for a standard dinner. So, you can still experience the expertise and fun of a private chef without putting up a six-figure salary.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.