Is There A Difference Between Private And Personal Chefs?

Having one's own chef probably lands pretty high on most people's list of luxuries. How nice would it be to come home to a five-star meal every night without having to lift a finger? Or perhaps you're navigating a newly diagnosed allergy, sensitivity, medical condition, or special diet that requires a lot of thought, expertise, and fine-line reading of labels. A skilled chef to take that labor off your plate would make the transition a whole lot easier, wouldn't it? Unless cooking is a passionate hobby or knowing what's in your food is of high importance, the busier one gets, the less one seems to prioritize engaging in the act of it.

The terms private chef and personal chef are often used interchangeably and for good reason. Both chefs typically come with a resume of extensive back-of-house restaurant experience and/or a culinary degree, and offer up a personal and private service. And while either one may sound better to any non-cooking enthusiast than preparing one's own food, there is a significant difference between the two. In what ways do the two professions differ?

One client versus many

The main difference between a personal chef and a private chef is that a private chef is typically employed by one person or a family, whereas a personal chef is self-employed and has any number of clients on their roster.

Private chefs usually work full-time and prepare breakfast, lunches, dinners, and snacks for their employer. They sometimes will serve the food and do catering for any dinner parties or events their client holds. Private chefs often manage the kitchen as a whole including organization, pantry inventory, shopping, and equipment maintenance. Sometimes they reside in their employer's home and often travel with them. Most private chefs receive a salary and benefits from their employer.

On the other hand, personal chefs usually go to one of many clients' homes one or two days a week for a handful of hours and prepare multiple servings of a few meals to be stored in the fridge (think meal prepping). Personal chefs will charge a flat fee or hourly rate per client.

With a private chef, the cost will be higher, but you'll get to enjoy a variety of different meals and more of an a la carte menu and highly-personalized experience. A personal chef is more affordable and accessible, but you will most likely have an agreed-upon set menu that you will consume a few portions of throughout the week.