The Good & Bad of Being a Personal Chef

September 19, 2016

Running your own Personal Chef business can be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done, but it also comes with its own challenges.

Here’s a quick run down of some of the great and not-so-great things about being a Personal Chef.

The Good

  1. You do what you love: I love cooking. I love the joy people experience from eating my food. I feel so fortunate to have a career where I get paid to do what I love. These days, how many people do you know can honestly say that?
  2. You do what you love - part II: I love helping people. Many of my clients have health issues and don’t have anyone who can prepare healthy meals for their family. I can come in and quickly make a difference in their lives. Over time, I begin to develop quite a bond with my clients which I cherish.
  3. It pays well: As a Personal Chef, I’ve been booked solid for over 5 years and I get to charge top dollar in my market. How much can you make? That depends on you and your market. You can easily get an idea by looking at what other Personal Chefs are charging in your area. If you can’t find a local Personal Chef with pricing on their site, look for one in another similar sized city close to you.
  4. You have FREEDOM!!: No bureaucracy of the corporate world. As a business owner, I get the freedom to make my own choices. For some, it may be a little scary, but I like that I can choose my clients, decide what types of services I offer, and be creative in the way I market my business. I get to make all of these choices with the help of many amazing people who support me every step of the way!

The Bad

  1. Getting that first client takes work: There was so much work I had to do before I could even take on my first client. I set up my business, got my business license, and purchased my liability insurance. I had to figure out my pricing and the service offerings. I spent many weeks creating just the right content for my website. Lastly, I performed many trial cook dates to build up my confidence. The good news is that even though it was hard work, it was also exciting since I was creating MY OWN business! It can be done, you just need a good roadmap to get you there.
  2. It all rests on your shoulders: In a normal job, if I took a sick day, typically someone would cover for me. Now, if I miss work, I also miss out on the revenue from that cook date. If a client is late on a payment, I need to take care of it. Managing my own business can sometimes be overwhelming, but with the help of others, I was able to put in the right processes to keep things running smoothly.
  3. There’s only 7 days in a week: As a personal chef, I can only take on as many clients as I can fit in a week. For most personal chefs that is one client per day and three to five days per week. As I got busier, my available cook dates became fewer and fewer so I wanted to slot in only my best clients. What makes for a "best client?" Let’s leave that for our next newsletter.

Owning your own business is such a liberating experience. If you are a Personal Chef, what are your biggest rewards and challenges? If you are just thinking about becoming a Personal Chef, let me know why you want to become one? I’d love to hear from you.

-Bonnie Goodman

Product Showcase

Each week we will bring to you a product that’s should be part of any Personal Chef’s kit. We do not have any affiliation with these vendors except that we actually use their products.


Immersion Blender

An immersion blender is one of those underrated tools that can make your life much easier on a cook date. The immersion blender is the perfect way to purée a soup. It's incredibly versatile and can be used to make salsa, guacamole, chop nuts, or hummus. The immersion blender often will allow me to leave my heavy food processor or blender at home.

Things that are making us happy right now…

Each week we will share things that may or may not be relevant to your personal chef business, but are making us happy nonetheless. Let us know what is making you happy and we will share it here in future newsletters!

  • Coupons!: We got a coupon from one of regular restaurants for a free appetizer. We are a steady customer and we will get a coupon a few times a year so it’s always a nice surprise. Of course, coupons are a great opportunity for Personal Chefs, too. If you have an open cook date that needs filling, send out an email to your existing clients and offer a coupon for a free side dish or a fresh cooked batch of chocolate chip cookies!
  • The L.A. Kitchen: We saw this week that a sous chef from the L.A. Kitchen signed up for our Personal Chef Crash Course and we had to check it out.The L.A. Kitchen reclaims healthy food that’s usually discarded and then trains people interested in entering the food service industry. The meals they produce are then given back to the community. We are so inspired by their story that we are donating 5% of the proceeds from our next session of our flagship course, Becoming a Personal Chef (launching next month).

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Let us know what you think

We would love to hear what you think about our quick newsletter. Do you like the format? Do you have suggestions for future articles? 

Until next week,

Bonnie & Greg Goodman

Bonnie Goodman

Since 2010, Bonnie has been a successful personal chef in the Orange County area. Since 2011 Bonnie has been booked solid serving busy families, seniors, business professionals, celebrities, and professional athletes. Bonnie centers her cooking style around allergy-friendly and healthy homestyle meals that the whole family can enjoy.

When Bonnie started her Personal Chef business she was grateful for some of the Personal Chef Associations like the APPCA and the USPCA. Unfortunately there was not a fully immersive program available to teach her about building and growing her business. Bonnie decided in 2015 to launch the Personal Chef Guide to help new personal chefs enter the market and grow their business.