How To Become A Personal Chef: 7 Steps To Starting Your Culinary Journey
If you’re learning how to become a personal chef and add numbers to your clientele, check out these seven crucial steps to follow.
Learning how to become a personal chef can be a very lucrative career for those in the culinary industry. Food is not only a source of nutrition but is also a mainstay in social events and during personal times of stress and happiness.
Additionally, given that many households no longer follow the nuclear family route, learning how to become a personal chef can help you target their needs efficiently.
Regardless of your reasoning, if you’re looking at starting your career in this direction, this article has some important points that you should pay heed to.
1. Choose The Type Of Personal Chef You Want To Be
You can’t learn how to become a personal chef without choosing a career trajectory for yourself. Most people use ‘personal chef’ to both mean a chef that works for just one house and a chef that has a personal clientele.
The latter is the traditional definition of a ‘personal chef’. The former is what private chefs do.
The Difference –
There are advantages and disadvantages to being both. There are also a lot of overlaps when it comes to the kind of work that they both have to do.
However, the biggest difference between the two is fairly simple. Personal chefs are solopreneurs (or entrepreneurs), whereas private chefs usually get hired long term by one employer.
So, if stability and a full-time job are what you’re looking for – look at being a private chef. However, if you have business acumen and culinary skills, becoming a personal chef may be the right option for you.
2. Keep Learning Multiple Cooking Styles
Food is both a necessity and a hobby for people. While it helps us survive, it also satiates desire. This is why learning multiple cuisines and cooking styles are always going to be your best friend as a personal chef.
This learning is not simply targeted to cooking styles from certain countries. It can also mean keeping up with cultural trends. Vegan and organic cooking, for example, is very popular with Gen Z.
Read up, look at cultural trends on social media platforms such as Reddit, and keep expanding your cooking style. The more you learn, the likelier your business succeeds through different generations.
3. Develop An Understanding Of Your Client’s Preferences
Learning how to become a personal chef also includes teaching yourself to be observant and using your observations to form insights.
Your client may like a certain dish or cuisine, but how do you use that knowledge to make foods in the future that they may like again?
The answer is through direct questioning and through trial and error. Asking your clients directly is the easiest way to understand what they want.
However, that may prove unfruitful at times. Your clients may lack the culinary knowledge or lexicon to explain what they liked and disliked.
Therefore, taking notes is always the best idea.
- Take notes of the dishes your clients liked and highlight common ingredients.
- Take notes of foods that don’t bode well with your clients and do the same.
- Many times, people don’t know that they have minor allergies or foods that don’t go well with their bodies. Take notes of those and inform your clients.
- While taste is always great to note. Make sure your clients get nutritious meals with balanced macros. Use your notes to craft dishes that are both good in taste and fulfill nutrition needs.
4. Use Social Media To Show Off Your (Culinary) Visuals
Social media is a personal chef’s ally. Learning how to become a personal chef also includes honing your marketing skills and social media is a prime way to do that.
Use Instagram to:
- Upload pictures of your dishes. Good pictures. Look up lighting and framing. This is a good guide.
- Put up food tutorials. Tabletop videos are great if you have the gear. In case you don’t a regular video will also do the trick.
- Show stunning advertisements of your work. Both paid and unpaid. Either make it yourself or hire a videographer and see the magic happen.
- Engage with viewers and potential clients. Ask them questions, put up stories, go live and be…. social! Being social is important when learning how to become a personal chef.
The more people know you, the likelier they are to contact you for a job.
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5. Create A Website
A website is much more personal than a social media account. You can customize it and add a personal touch to it, much like you do with your dishes.
You don’t need to be a coding expert to create your own website. There are plenty of drag and drop website makers like Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, etc. that will help you set up your website.
Put The Following In Your Website:
- A good ‘About Me’ page/ section. Clients want to know who they’re investing in, along with what they’re investing in.
- Your specialties. What cuisines are you an expert at working with? Complement your words with pictures, GIFs, and videos.
- Your experience. All the best restaurants and clients you’ve worked with. Add pictures, videos, and logos!
- Testimonials. There’s only one thing better than a happy client- a very happy client! Add testimonials of your happy clients on your website. Don’t make them tacky, but rather disperse them with the rest of the information.
- Your Geographical Preferences. Do you only work in California or are you a globetrotter? Put it on your website, so your clients know.
- Contact. How does a prospective client contact you? Add a phone number, email, social media handles, and contact form. Make it as easy as possible for someone interested to get in touch with you.
6. Hire Support Staff
While you focus on the actual cooking, it’s never a bad idea to hire support staff–part-time or otherwise–to take care of the administrative work.
If you’re planning on continuing your solopreneur journey, hiring part-time makes sense. However, if you think that it is time to take the next step, you can look at employing people.
Some job roles you can look at:
- Accounting: From filing taxes to raising invoices, an accountant is always a great resource to have.
- Supplies: If you’re the director of the kitchen, your supply crew is the production unit. Hire people who know local markets and where to get certain ingredients from.
- Personal Assistant: There are plenty of online and offline PA services available. A PA will keep you on track with work, make sure you don’t overbook, and remind you of your client’s preferences, among other things.
7. Seek Feedback And Provide Suggestions
Proactively interacting with your clients is 101 of learning how to become a personal chef. Get comfortable with talking to them. This will help you get to know them and their tastes better.
Seeking their feedback, even if they can’t articulate it appropriately, will show that you care about their opinion.
- How the food tasted.
- If they could taste the (X) ingredient that you tried out.
- Something that could improve- and help guide them through the process from the portion size to the way the food looked.
- What they thought about the time of preparation, service, etc.
Use this feedback, along with your personal notes, to give your client suggestions. Suggesting cuisines and ingredients that they’d like will only impress them.
It’ll work even better if you draw your insights correctly and hit the nail in the coffin with your recommendations.
Learning how to become a personal chef includes combining your social, entrepreneurial, and culinary skills into one profession.
You need to target clients and market yourself as a solopreneur. You need to constantly work on your culinary skills as a personal chef. Lastly, you need to engage with your clients to become a mainstay in their homes/events/ offices.
Master these three skills and you’ve got a personal chef business that will last through the good times and the bad. With the seven points mentioned above, you can cook your way to success!