How Much Does a Personal Chef Cost?

Written by: Staff

A personal chef is a chef who prepares meals for a family in the comfort of their own home.  This chef can either prepare the meals for the upcoming week or the chef can purchase and create the meals throughout the day.

Commonly done in the home kitchen, a chef will be responsible for gathering all the ingredients, serving the meal and helping with the cleanup process.

The cost of a personal chef is going to depend on the skills/demand of the chef, the geographical location, what kind of plan is needed, how many meals are needed and if any additional services are needed.

Madison & Rayne: Cleaning Radish by kurmanstaff, on Flickr
Madison & Rayne: Cleaning Radish” (CC BY 2.0) by kurmanstaff

How much does a personal chef cost?

On average, most personal chefs are going to prepare meals ahead of time, and these meals will be frozen for the upcoming week, and you will simply have to reheat in the oven.  On average, a weekly frozen plan such as this would cost anywhere from $255 to $450 per week for a family of four.  This fee usually won’t include the groceries.

For a private dinner cooked directly in the kitchen for a few guests, the cost will fall between $150 to $350 for a party of four on average.  This option, unlike the first, will require the chef in your kitchen.  He or she will set the table, create the meal and almost turn your kitchen into a restaurant.  The price for a private party will depend on the number of people attending, the type of meal being cooked and the notoriety of the chef.  Plan on paying at least $20 to $30 per plate or close to $30 to $50 per hour.

If you’re talking a full-time chef who will reside on the premises almost full time, then the costs could be in the $45,000 to $85,000 per year range.  Since this will be considered a full-time employee, these costs will depend on the chef you’re hiring, where you live, what kind of work needs to be done and how much time they need to spend at your home.

Lucia’s Personal Chef Service in Miami, Florida, for instance, charges $425 for a weekly family of four plan that includes four servings.

We researched a few personal chefs throughout the United States and were able to gather some cost information listed in our table below:

Geographical LocationAverage Price
Atlanta, Georgia$330 for four dinners per week, plus groceries or $475 for six dinners per week, plus groceries
Chicago, IllinoisFive meals per week for $185, plus groceries
Cleveland, Ohio$315 for five dinners, plus cost of food.
Dallas, Texas$400 for five entrees with side dishes, plus price of food.
Denver, Colorado$425 for five entrees with side dishes, plus price of food.
Las Vegas, Nevada$350, plus groceries for 5 meals per week or $50 per hour for specialized menu
Los Angeles, California$300 for three meals per week, plus groceries. $65 per hour if you want specialized sit down dinner.
Tampa, Florida$250 for 3-course dinner in house.

Personal chef overview

Before a chef works with you, they will first consult with you before any services start.  This is your chance to ask questions as well as set up a meal plan.  The chef will get to know you and what your family likes and dislikes in terms of meals.  With information, a chef will be able to create a weekly meal plan and can set up a time to deliver the food and place the food in the freezer.  With these meals, you will just have to place them in the oven for a certain amount of time.

Upon setting up a meal plan, the chef will more than likely cook the food in his or her kitchen.  Once all the meals are prepped, they will be vacuum sealed and delivered to your door.  These meals will have to be either reheated in the microwave or oven.  If you choose to have the chef cook in your kitchen, they will do everything from grocery shopping to setting up the meals inside your home.  You simply have to show up to the kitchen table and eat.

What are the extra costs?

Groceries can be an additional fee on top of the chef charges, and the grocery fee will depend on the meal that is being prepared.  If you want to use ingredients from the chef’s pantry, the ingredients cost can be more.

If you want fresh meals that won’t have to be frozen, such as soups or salads, this can have a 10 to 30 percent surcharge.

Additional meals and side dishes will cost extra.  Also, meals that are not listed on their meal list can cost extra if they do not have a recipe.

A delivery fee can be extra if you want the chef to deliver to your home.  Even if the delivery fee is included in the price, many will knock a few dollars off if you pick it up at their kitchen.

Some chefs will be able to add more to the meals if you were to have more people coming.  On average, this can be another $10 to $20 per meal.

Tips to know

Angie’s List says you should always interview your personal chef ahead of time and learn about their experience, education, certifications and their cookings tyle.  It will be very important to choose a chef who can work with your dietary restrictions, likes, dislikes and meal planning goals.

Some chefs may require a monthly minimum if you plan on using their services.  This may either include a set amount of meals prepared during the month or a certain amount spent.

How can I save money?

Many chefs love a referral; if you refer them to their services, many will give a discount on your next meal.  Ask the chef to see what kind of discounts you can receive.

Setting an appointment in advance can lead to a 10 to 20% discount.

For families who don’t mind cooking, consider bypassing a chef and signing up for a service that delivers fresh ingredients to your home.  With these at-home kits, they send you the necessary ingredients and a recipe card explaining how the food is to be cooked.  Forbes, for example, broke down how these services work and which one may work best for your lifestyle.

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