What It's Really Like To Be A Private Chef (2023)


Have you ever wondered what it's like to cook for a celebrity? It can be tough, but it's always rewarding! Follow Ayo Cherry as she gives you an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into her life as a private chef.

Follow Ayo Cherry here: www.instagram.com/chefayocherry/

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Ayo Cherry


- I definitely believe cooking is my blood.

I feel like cooking chose, me.

Food is life., Food is everything.

Hi, my name is Ayo Cherry, and I am a private chef.

I started cooking when I was eight and luckily I got to work at my aunt's restaurant.

And, then my grandmother is a phenomenal cook.

She taught me literally everything, I know., My private chef journey started a little crazy, I began working with a personal trainer who was preparing meals for his clients, and he asked me, would I like to prepare the meals for his clients.

And from there, I got a lot of other personal trainers and I was preparing food for everyone.


The chef friend of mine asked me if I would like to cook for Lil Wayne one day.

I went and I tried out, and he liked the food, luckily.

I made a well done steak and some potato chips.

(laughing) And.

All of a sudden I was a private chef to a celebrity.


Your own business feels a lot like what I hear people with children say about parenting.

It's rough.

There are days I, hate, it, I, don't know what I'm doing, but you love it and you get up and you just keep doing.


And then eventually like good things.


My workspace is peoples'.


Cooking in someone else's kitchen is a lot of trial and error, because no one has as many things as I do.

It's a lot of adjusting to the situation.


First time we go, somewhere, I bring everything I have because you just never know.

My kitchen is organized by my things.

My clients, things, I, have more spoons than any one.

Individual should need.

I have a lot of spatulas.

I just have multiples of a lot of things.

And I, basically set up everything.

I need for meal prep in one area.

And I section off my things about spices, sweet and savory to refrigerators, and quite frankly.

I need a third, and maybe a deep freezer.

A typical week for me starts on Friday.

Friday's admin day.

We do all the invoices from the week before, we create menus, we write prep lists and we really get ready to move into the week.

Saturday is a free day for me, I.

Try to keep one solid day for myself.

Sundays I go grocery.

Shopping, I buy everything to get me through Monday and ideally in a perfect world.

Tuesday On Mondays, I, wake up around 4:00 AM.

I prepare vegan meal prep for two separate clients and that's 10 meals.


I drop, one of them.

Off, I drop the second one off.

And, then I go to the grocery store to get anything extra.

That I need from my clients that I cook, for after my drop-offs on Monday.

Tuesday, I do the same.


I cook for a family of four.

I, wake up, I go to grocery store, I cook for them.

Wednesdays I; wake up, I, eat, I drive an hour from my house.

I, stopped at the grocery stores and any market for whatever along the way.

And, then I cook for a family of three, dinner and then I meal prep for them for them.

For the following day.

On Thursdays, I go back to my same clients from Monday and I, complete the rest of their week's worth of meals.

Then I go home and I pass out, because that is the end of the week.

(laughing) It is a lot.

Personal time is difficult to work.


My friends are always fussing at me, like.

What are you? Doing?, I'm like, I'm, making a menu.

If I, have a long car ride.

Somewhere, I'm, going to find some time to write something, send a text, work in some sort of way.

The door of clients rotates a lot in the beginning, because you're trying to figure them out, they're trying to figure you out.

Sometimes, your culinary style, just simply doesn't match for someone.


It's a lot like being in relationships.

Sometimes they're.

Just not your people.

Catering for events is my time to shine.

We put on like this display for their families.

It's, always so pretty, and it's always so extra.

I put like gold leaves on the turkey, like there's.

Usually a lot going on, but I always have this thing with my clients, where I'm like, like, are we showing out or are we just keeping it cool? Because? That lets me know like what level of event we're having.

This most recent Thanksgiving for my clients, I made Southern food.

They had family in from the UK and they don't really have Southern food.

There, obviously.

So I made a huge Southern feast.

There was a baked mac and cheese because of the.

There was air, fried chicken.

I know from on Southerners are rolling your eyes, you'll be fine, it's L.A., It's air, fried chicken, I did some air fried Turkey wings, and legs and breasts.

And you know, just broke down the whole turkey.

And did collard greens and green beans.

And, you know, just mashed, sweet, potatoes, mashed potatoes, just all the classics.


We also added a rack of lamb to Thanksgiving, which isn't typically a Southern classic, but it's good., And Thanksgiving is all about.

What's good.

I feel like I care on an almost maternal level about my clients.

I, like to add touches that I know will excite my clients.

Something else.

I like to do for clients is make sure it looks really appetizing because you eat with your eyes.

First and meal prep can get really stale.

So I really go out of my way to make a fully composed dish and make sure it's pretty, and there are colors and use some like really good knife cuts and give them, you know, some stuff's sliced on a bias or some really pretty peppers.

Instead of just green peppers, you know, just going the extra mile, so it looks visually appealing.

You are feeding people's families.

It's, not a small task., And I do take a lot of pride in the amount of knowledge.

I have to make sure this food is like nourishing, is correctly prepared, it tastes, good., You, know, food is something that brings us all together and you are literally responsible for creating that moment.

For your clients.

Every single day.

When I labeled the meal for meal prep, I leave them instruction on what I think would be the best way to reheat.


It does really help to know like, hey.

We have an air fryer.

If we put half of this meal in the air fryer, we can put some of it in the oven and it'll get as close to the texture and freshness as it was when it was prepared.

It is difficult when you are a private chef to say, no.

It is difficult to say no to opportunities.

It is difficult to say no, especially when you're in someone's home and in their face.

(laughing) It is hard to go from haha hehe.

Here's some rose, here's, your food,! No, you can't call another 10 people.

It is a difficult thing to set those boundaries.

It is difficult to make sure I have time for me.


I'm slightly getting better at it, but it is a very difficult thing to say, hey, I'm not going to work.

I'm going to do nothing.

That is a hard thing to do without feeling super guilty about it.


Being a private chef, always has a multitude of opportunities.

You know, you're, not just in people's homes.

Doing meal prep.

You could be traveling with a client, I've flown on my client's private jet with them to Australia.

You could also be working.

You know, overseas for people.

There's, a lot of different opportunities in the private chef, world.

I physically.

Don't think I could do this.


The hours are long.

You know, you're carrying a lot of stuff.

So after this, I.

Think I could do a cookbook or I can have a food.


I have a lot of ideas in my head, but I'm pretty much open to whatever the universe has for me.

My advice to any young chefs who are interested in the private sector is talk to other private chefs.

And when I moved to Los Angeles, I leaned on for many chefs, here.

And, the amount of help you get from other people in your sector is invaluable.

Even before a private, chefing, I.

Think starting in a restaurant teaches you so many of those basic skills you need that will help you through anything, no matter what you end up: doing.

So, if you love food, I say, go for it.

I, mean, you're, creating happy moments for people.

There's, nothing better than that.

(upbeat music).


What It's Really Like To Be A Private Chef? ›

Private chefs, on the other hand, offer a mobile restaurant experience and often educate their clients and guests as part of the evening's entertainment. Private chefs are typically ex-restaurant folks who are looking for saner hours, better pay, and a less grueling work experience.

Is it worth being a private chef? ›

Overall, being a personal chef is a great way to earn money. If you pay attention to your client's needs, you can be a very appreciated person in their lives. That will certainly motivate you to keep working hard throughout your days. Good luck with your culinary career!

Is being a personal chef stressful? ›

Yes, without a doubt. But the work itself and the job itself are very labor-intensive and very stressful. You can know so much and have great technique, but food can still go wrong.

What is a typical tip for a private chef? ›

So, do you tip a private chef who works independently? Yes! And 15-20% is the standard amount. A tip for exemplary service or an additional kitchen helper, give as generous a tip as you can to signal your total satisfaction.

Where do private chefs get paid the most? ›

Highest paying cities for Private Chefs near United States
  • San Francisco, CA. $44.26 per hour. 18 salaries reported.
  • Atherton, CA. $43.94 per hour. 89 salaries reported.
  • Manhattan, NY. $43.33 per hour. 7 salaries reported.
  • New York, NY. $39.42 per hour. 36 salaries reported.
  • Los Angeles, CA. $35.02 per hour. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

What is the difference between a private chef and a personal chef? ›

A personal chef is essentially a professional chef who prepares meals for a client or family. This can happen either in the client's home or in the chef's own kitchen. A private chef, on the other hand, is a chef who works in a private home, usually for a single client or family.

Do chefs have mental health issues? ›

That is why we are growing increasingly concerned about the number of chefs struggling with mental health issues. For example, a 2017 survey found that 51% of chefs struggle with 'debilitating' stress levels. While 51% is already too high, a more recent UK-based survey found that it has increased to a shocking 81%.

What is the greatest weakness of a chef? ›

Cons of being a chef
  1. Physical toll. As a chef, you're likely on your feet much of the day, cooking and preparing food. ...
  2. Displeased customers. ...
  3. Long working hours. ...
  4. Busy schedule. ...
  5. No benefits.
Oct 18, 2022

What is the hardest part of being a chef? ›

Here are the five biggest challenges I face in my role as a Chef.
  • Competition.
  • Customer expectations.
  • Staff Retention and Recruitment. ...
  • Sustainability.
Feb 17, 2022

Is chef one of the hardest jobs? ›

Chef is the most stressful job, but gardeners and security guards have it easy. Chefs experience the most pressure at work of all jobs, followed by doctors, lawyers and primary school teachers according to a new labour market survey by national statistics office CBS.

Can you live comfortably as a chef? ›

Once you climb through the kitchen ranks and put in some years into the industry, it's possible to earn a comfortable salary as a chef. That's particularly true if you land a job at a high-end restaurant, resort, or hotel. What can you expect to make as a chef?

Is chef life hard? ›

Being a chef is not easy and it requires a lot of time, energy and dedication to get to a good standard. You will need to be passionate about it, because the hours can be long and unsociable and kitchens are a stressful environment.

Do you tip at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant? ›

“How much to tip?” 12.5% gratuity is automatically added to the bill, but it is supposed to be optional, which I take to mean that you can ask to change that. Helpful?

What to look for when hiring a private chef? ›

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Private Chef
  • Factor #1: Your Needs. Most people do not know that a personal chef is different from a private chef. ...
  • Factor #2: Chef's Expertise and Specialization. ...
  • Factor #3: Your Budget. ...
  • Factor #4: Chef's Personality. ...
  • Factor #5: Chef's Reputation. ...
  • Conclusion.
Aug 3, 2020

How do you interview a private chef? ›

Questions to ask your Private Chef
  1. What kind of food do they specialize in? Be sure that the chef you're speaking to has the ability to deliver what you want. ...
  2. How long have they been cooking? ...
  3. Where will they be preparing your menu? ...
  4. Are they willing to customize the food? ...
  5. What other services do they provide?
May 19, 2020

What chef position makes the most money? ›

High Paying Executive Chef Jobs
  • Research Chef. Salary range: $76,500-$120,000 per year. ...
  • Corporate Executive Chef. Salary range: $70,000-$112,000 per year. ...
  • Chef De Cuisine. Salary range: $64,500-$90,000 per year. ...
  • Banquet Chef. Salary range: $52,000-$77,000 per year. ...
  • Chef Manager. ...
  • Sushi Chef. ...
  • Chef. ...
  • Culinary Specialist.

What type of chefs make the most money? ›

Highest Paying Culinary Jobs:
  • Food Stylist. ...
  • Personal Chef. ...
  • Research Chef. ...
  • Food Service Manager. ...
  • Private Chefs. ...
  • Executive Chef. ...
  • Head Chef. Also known as the chef de cuisine, the head chef's roles overlap with the executive and sous chef. ...
  • Corporate Executive Chef. Corporate chefs are a unique subset of executive chefs.
Mar 9, 2023

How do private chefs find clients? ›

One of the best ways to get personal chef clients is to do a test run with your family and friends. This will give you a chance to perfect your recipes and cooking techniques, as well as get some valuable feedback from people who are familiar with your work.

Why do people have private chefs? ›

Hiring a private chef allows diners to enjoy a fully custom-tailored menu, where ingredients that they may not enjoy, be allergic to or don't excite their taste buds, will never be used. Our hosts and hostesses find that there's no need to worry that one guest is "deathly allergic" to something.

What is another name for a private chef? ›

For many people, the words private chef and personal chef are interchangeable, and because of that, they equate both services to something that only the truly rich can afford.

Why would you want a personal chef? ›

There are many reasons to hire a private or personal chef. They can help you save time, money, and stress. They can also help you eat healthier, customize your meals, and have more variety in your diet. If you are considering hiring a chef, be sure to do your research to find the right one.

Why is chef a risky occupation? ›

Chefs at every level of the industry face injuries and health problems due to the nature of their work. These issues range from problems caused by the job itself – such as back pain and arthritis – to problems caused by the unavoidable lifestyle that comes with being a chef.

Is chef a good career for introverts? ›

3. Chef. The best jobs for introverts are often those that do not require socializing and are creative. If you are a culinary enthusiast with a keen interest in exploring creativity through food while being incognito, then becoming a chef may be your calling.

Are chefs sleep deprived? ›

Additionally, 74% of chefs and staff feel burned out due to sleep deprivation among other hardships, according to data from FairKitchens.com.

What is Gordon Ramsay's weakness? ›

Ramsay's favorite food? He says he has a weakness for chocolate.

Is chef one of the most stressful jobs? ›

While you will enjoy eating delicious food, the role of a chef is extremely stressful. If you have watched any of Gordon Ramsay's shows, you know how challenging it can be working in a kitchen.

What is the life of a chef? ›

Chefs typically oversee junior cooks and other employees in the kitchen. They will direct in the cooking of the day's orders and also participate at their own station. Some may check the quality of the cooked food and garnish it before sending it out with the waiters and waitresses.

What is the hardest thing for a chef to cook? ›


Widely used as the metric of a chef's ability, consommé is one of the most challenging dishes to cook. Despite its light and small yield, traditional consommé requires a large amount of meat; which is why it was long associated with society's upper classes who could afford such extravagance!

What is chef burnout? ›

A career in the culinary profession is a stressful endeavor that can lead to chef burnout – a real problem in the culinary workplace today. Psychologists define burnout as a syndrome resulting from unmanageable stress, exhaustion and negativism related to one's job.

What is the lowest chef role? ›

Sous Chef (aka Second Chef, Under Chef, Assistant Chef)​

Some smaller kitchens may not even have a sous chef, while larger operations can have more than one – there are also a few variations that can precede the title to further specify hierarchy; executive, junior or senior.

Can a chef be a millionaire? ›

However, what many people don't realize is that the restaurant industry is one of the easiest fields for anyone to become extremely wealthy. No matter where you start in the restaurant industry, you can become a millionaire or more.

Which is the most stressful job in the world? ›

The List: Top 5 Most Stressful Careers, According to Experts
  1. Surgeon. It's no surprise that this career sits atop the list. ...
  2. Police Officer. This profession that has become even more stress-filled in the last few years. ...
  3. Firefighter. ...
  4. Social Worker. ...
  5. Paramedic.
Mar 19, 2023

What is the best state for a chef to live in? ›

Best States For a Chef

Nevada has a median salary of $51,293 and Hawaii has the highest median salary among all 50 states for chefs. Nevada is the best state for jobs for chefs, and South Dakota is the worst. The most common pay in Nevada is $51,293, while the median pay in South Dakota is $34,538.

Can chefs make 100k? ›

Yes, you can make $100,000 per year as a chef. While possible, it is unlikely to earn over $100k as a chef because even higher-paid positions do not typically earn more than $69,000 per year. The average annual salary for a chef is $47,396.

How high is the demand for chefs? ›

Employment of chefs and head cooks is projected to grow 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 24,300 openings for chefs and head cooks are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Is 30 too late to become a chef? ›

How to Get on Track for a Second Career in Culinary Arts. It's never too late to start a new career. When you are ready to make your move, there are plenty of opportunities ready for you to pursue. As an older chef, your career experience and education has seasoned you for a career as a culinary professional.

Is 33 too old to become a chef? ›

But adulthood does not—and should not—equal stagnation. Adults who are brave enough to try something new often find that the rewards are well worth it. You are NOT too old to become a chef. With hard work and the right education, you have just as good a chance as anyone else of achieving your dreams.

How smart is a chef? ›

A great chef is not just creative but highly intelligent too. He knows how to rescue a spoilt porridge, how to add flavour to a bland tasting vegetable, how to churn out an amazing dish from minimum ingredients and how to plate an otherwise boring dish to make it look appetising and delicious.

Does Ramsay's kitchen have dress code? ›

We do not have a dress code as we would like our guests to be able to express their own individual style. However, we find the majority of our guests like to dress smartly and we appreciate it too!

Is it rude to not tip at a restaurant? ›

Yet sometimes the etiquette is not to tip. Tipping is set on precedence and evolves over time, Smith said. If you're ever in doubt on whether or not you should or shouldn't tip, “It is always better to offer a tip than not to tip,” she said.

How much do you tip Michelin? ›

Typically a 5-10% tip is fine. If you tip more, you will often see looks of surprise and gratitude since it is not as common to see 15-20% tips.

What are the 3 most important questions that you would ask a chef applying for an entry level position? ›

General Icebreaker Chef Interview Questions
  • When did you decide to become a chef?
  • What is your signature dish? ...
  • What is your favorite or least favorite dish to prepare? ...
  • How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?
  • Name the three kitchen tools you can't do without?
  • Why are you considering a new position?

How do people get hired to be a chef? ›

To become a chef, you need experience in a professional kitchen. Many chefs go to culinary school or complete a certificate or associate degree at a community college in order to learn the fine technical aspects of the trade.

How do you introduce yourself as a chef? ›

I would describe myself as a passionate, confident, and creative chef who can skilfully plan menus, prepare outstanding food, manage budgets, and lead a team of people to deliver quality of service to your customers.

What is the main difference between a personal chef and a private chef? ›

While a private chef is employed to be in the home on a daily basis from morning until night, a personal chef will prepare multiple meals for a week or even a month in advance in as little as 2 hours. The meals are then packaged with reheating instructions for you to heat up as you like.

What is the difference between a personal and private chef? ›

A personal chef is essentially a professional chef who prepares meals for a client or family. This can happen either in the client's home or in the chef's own kitchen. A private chef, on the other hand, is a chef who works in a private home, usually for a single client or family.

Why hire private chef? ›

By hiring a private chef, you don't have to spend the night worrying about making sure all the dishes are ready on time whilst entertaining your guests. You can be a guest at your own dinner party as you socialise with your family or friends and have a chance to catch up with them.

Why do people have personal chefs? ›

Personal Chefs create highly customized meal planning options that are dialed into your specific needs and schedules. They will take care of everything from learning about your food preferences to customizing each dish to meet everyone's taste.

How many private chefs are in the US? ›

Approximately 10,000 personal chefs work in the United States, according to the American Personal & Private Chef Association. They cook for busy families, seniors, people with disabilities, and others who do not have the time or the ability to prepare meals for themselves.

Why are so many chefs male? ›

According to Manhattan chef Amanda Cohen, this is because male chefs are found to be more financially lucrative. Interestingly, the first person to ever receive six Michelin stars was Eugénie Brazier - a woman! - yet Alain Ducasse (a man) was given far more media coverage over the same achievement.

What do chefs look for when hiring? ›

Confidence in the Cooking Fundamentals

Looking for a job in the culinary industry? At a minimum you will need to have some basic cooking skills. The specific fundamentals restaurants look for include cooking methods, knife skills, food safety, and sanitation.

Do chefs like their job? ›

On average, culinary chefs rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.7/5. While most culinary chefs aren't very fulfilled by their work, some people may still manage to find meaning in it.

Do personal chefs have multiple clients? ›

A personal chef is a culinary professional hired by several clients to prepare in-home meals or drop off service, based on the specific dietary needs and food preferences.

Why are chefs in high demand? ›

Consumers are continuing to demand healthier meals made from scratch in restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, and other places that sell food. To ensure high-quality dishes, these establishments hire experienced chefs to oversee food preparation.

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