Alternative Career Path for Culinary Grads

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      Sonia Thapar

      Working in a restaurant is not for everyone. Although it can be a great learning environment for culinary grads and cooks under the right Chef, there is no guarantee that your boss will have that nurturing personality. It can also be physically exhausting and the shifts can be long and inflexible.

      So what are the alternatives? The foodservice landscape is changing. The Personal & Private Chef industry is one area that has been growing rapidly, and The Chef Alliance is one organisation that has been supporting Personal and Private Chefs for over 15 years.

      The terms Personal Chef and Private Chef are often used interchangeably, but there is a small difference in their job descriptions. A Private Chef typically works for a single client, whether it is a single person a couple or a family. A Private Chef will look after all of the client’s daily culinary needs – including breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Employment is usually on a full-time, annual basis, so it’s a great choice for someone who likes stability. Many employers also provide benefits. However, the hours may not be as flexible, as you have to cook based on your client’s needs – some may entertain a lot, so evenings and weekends may be busy.

      A Personal Chef, on the other hand, works for many different clients – some may be regular weekly/monthly clients getting freezer-friendly, tailored meals, others may be one-off clients who are looking for a Chef for a particular event. Personal Chefs choose which services they provide, which clients they want to work for, their schedules and their service area. For example, some Personal Chefs with young children only provide services during the day, leaving evenings and weekends free. There are others who stay within a few blocks of their home while others will travel up to 2 hours to accommodate a client.

      One of the largest areas of growth is the private dinner party. There is nothing worse than inviting friends for dinner and not having the chance to spend time with them because you’re in and out of the kitchen. Consumers have the option to to ‘dine in’ with friends, hiring a Personal Chef to cook, serve and clean up. This gives them the freedom to enjoy the company of his/her guests in the comfort of their home. To meet this demand, The Chef Alliance works with national retailers to offer Chef Experiences – a line of gift cards for a range of culinary services across the country.

      Personal Chefs also provide private cooking lessons for individuals and small groups, recreational cooking lessons at community centres, supermarkets etc., outdoor events such as barbecues, cocktail parties, mis en place services, menu planning, recipe development and much more.

      Some of the benefits of becoming a Personal Chef include:
      – higher income
      – control over the menu – Personal Chefs design menus with each client, accommodating food preferences, allergies etc
      – flexible hours – you choose when you want to work, and market your services accordingly
      – meet new people – often Personal Chefs are invited to join the group after dinner to chat about food; often clients become friends
      – personally rewarding – hearing first-hand how much clients enjoyed the food that you have prepared is an unbelievable high
      – each day brings a new culinary adventure

      For more information on how to become a Personal Chef, check out

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