Like any other work, you need to come prepared to an interview with good references to back up your experience. Confidence is a must, and key to being a personal chef is the ability to throw yourself outside your comfort zone. It is likely that employers will request specific meals and saying no because you haven’t experienced that particular recipe before will not keep you in good stead for referral to others. These days, may personal businesses use Pinterest, which is great way to showcase your cooking and every image you pin you can use to link back to your business website and contact details.
Find your Niche
It will be beneficial to your business to find a speciality you enjoy cooking with. For example, some personal chefs will only source local ingredients, whilst others pride themselves in understanding nutritional values and providing a healthy diet for their clients. Whatever your passion may lie with, don’t be afraid to style yourself as a speciality chef. Whilst it is great to be open to cooking a wide variety of dishes and styles, a commitment to your niche will help you stand out from the crowd as an expert in the field.
Buy Specialist Tools
This goes hand in hand with the above segment on finding your niche. If you’re speciality is fish for example then chances are you’ll need a great fillet or boning knife. If you’re an especially talented baker then consider stocking yourself with a great pie or soufflé dish. Of course, a lot of individuals who hire personal chefs may already have many of the essentials, but it is far better to show you are prepared if needs be.
For great culinary stock, head to Cooking.com, Walmart, and Amazon.
Understand the Numbers Involved
To become a personal chef, it is especially essential in the current economic climate that you are able to keep costs within the budget set by your employer. If you are able to make extravagant dishes on a simple budget then you will be especially coveted! Make sure you do research on suppliers and local stores to find the best deals for produce and fresh meat and fish, and use a money management tool such as Mint.com to keep track of your spending. Some employers will offer to pay you at a high rate with the condition that you pay for the ingredients, whilst others will give you a budget to stick to when sourcing the menu. The ability to manage receipts and provide reports will be a huge plus.
Join An Association
A great way to get your name out there and begin networking with other personal chefs is to join an association, such as the United States Personal Chef Association or the American Personal & Private Chef Association. These associations often organise conferences and events where you can develop your skill sets and improve your knowledge of the industry. LinkedIn also provides great group networks, such as the Personal Chef & Private Chef Connection.
License Your Craft
Unlike working for a catering or restaurant business, becoming a personal chef include being your own boss with your own clients. Therefore certain states will have certain rules on licensing, whether that be a business license or a catering license. The easiest way to research what license you will require as a personal chef is to visit the office of the local business licensing board, which can easily be found through a Google search. If you are considered as self-employed, as opposed to a personal employee, you will also need to register with the department of revenue concerning your tax. Visit BusinessLicenses.com to find your local licensing and tax office.
In order to gain a business license as a personal chef, and therefore an individual working in the catering industry, you will need a food safety license. Information on how to receive this certification can be found at AmericanFoodSafety.com and the Food Safety Institute of America.