12 Tips to Help You Find and Hire a Chef for Your Next Event

Inside this article you will get information to help you find a personal chef, learn about personal chef costs, plus five qualities to look for in a personal chef and five logistical questions to ask them – resulting in 12 Tips to Help You Find and Hire a Chef for Your Next Event. It also includes pointers from personal chef, Rick Boxeth. His insights come from years of first hand experience.

Chef Rick Boxeth at private home catering event in kitchen Orange County CA

Chef Rick Boxeth at private home catering event in kitchen Orange County CA

As a personal chef, I work in homes, businesses, and other venues across Orange County, California and sometimes in neighboring states.  I always strive to bring a memorable and unique experience to each meal I prepare.  I have been fortunate enough to cook for philanthropists, business executives, and even fashion moguls.  With each of those experiences I have observed a number of things my clients value in their personal chef.

Based on those insights and more, I’m going to share with you some things I suggest you consider when hiring a personal chef. These ideas are applicable to you when choosing a personal chef, whether it is for your business, client lunches, your wife’s birthday party, or your daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner, etc.

Here are 5 ways to evaluate a personal chef and the questions you will want answered when hiring a personal chef:

1. Personality – A chef that you are welcoming into your home or business should be friendly, courteous and attentive to your needs.

2. Reputation – Ask yourself these questions about the chefs you are considering: Were they referred to you from a happy client? Do they have references? What kind of culinary background do they have? Does it include a culinary education?

3. Food Quality – There are many places to shop, including: farmers markets, wholesale restaurant warehouses and grocery stores. Where do they shop? Where do they prepare the food?

4. Creativity – Do they have pictures? Do they have a favorite dish or cuisine? Are they flexible and working with you to get you what you want?

5. Value – Going to a party where the host has hired a chef is a lot of fun and very cool. It is of upmost importance that the chef understands that your reputation is on the line. The chef must be able to shine the spotlight on the hosts.

5 Logistical Questions to Help You Select A Personal Chef for Your Event.

It is best to get answers to these following questions before you select your personal chef. It could have a big impact on the cost of your event and how much work you will need to put into it.

6. What time will they arrive?

7. Will they need a refrigerator / freezer space?

8. Do they have their own plates / platters / serving trays / utensils?

9. Will I need to set the table?

10. What about the table center piece? Does the chef bring decorative elements to the event?

What are Personal Chef Costs?

11. Key budgeting information to consider when hiring a personal chef:

When hiring a personal chef to cook for a dinner party or other special occasions you are having, a menu and a budget are submitted for your approval. Typically, the chef is given approval, a deposit, or an expense account for the menu. The client pays out for the cost of the event in addition to the cost of the chef’s services and gratuity. Usually the deposit is based on the entire invoice including service and gratuity.

Pricing can be complicated and there are different ways to approach your personal chef. For example, you can say to them:

  • Here’s my budget, what can you do?
  • Here’s what I want ___________ (i.e., 2 meats, a buffet, served dining, passed apps, etc.). How much?
  • Do you have a menu with pricing?
  • What does it include? Servers? Travel Time? Clean up?

12. Where can I get started with finding a personal chef to cater my event:

You can either research personal chefs in your area via online membership registries such as Hire A Chef, or you may choose the services of a personal chef staffing agency such as Big City Chefs, a nationwide agency that has been the subject of its own docu-series on Food Network, or regional agencies such as My Chef Direct to match them with a pre-screened professional chef.

Other important considerations for your search to hire a chef to cater your event include:

  • Look for personal chefs who have liability insurance and are ServSafe certified.

Where can you find some of the best personal chefs for an event?

Look for Chefs with professional training. There are various training programs offered by the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) and the American Personal & Private Chef Association. The USPCA is currently the largest association for personal chefs in North America.

How to Host a Gourmet Blends’ Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Tasting Party.
Tasty Thick Balsamic Vinaigrette by Chef Rick
Chef Stefan Niemczyk Uses Gourmet Blends Balsamic Vinegar
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Black Cherry Poached Pear Salad with Goat Cheese

About this Article’s Contributing Chef –

Chef Rick Boxeth of cateredcourses.com contributed this article, 12 Tips to Help You Find and Hire a Chef for Your Next Event.

“I started Catered Courses as an avenue for sharing my passion for food by creating a fine dining adventure in your home. It’s time for you to experience an evening where every flavor is savored, wines are matched beautifully and conversation flows. Pull up a chair, forget the outside world, enjoy.”

~ Chef Rick

From California to New Orleans to France… and Back!

Chef Rick attended Culinary School in Santa Barbara, CA. After graduation, he completed a 3 year apprenticeship under the guidelines of the American Culinary Federation at Fess Chef-Rick-Boxeth-picture-and-catered-courses-logoParker’s Red Lion Resort and received the title of Certified Culinarian. He then spent a year in New Orleans at the Windsor Court Hotel with Chef Kevin Graham. Then it was back to California to work with Michel Richard at Citrus in Hollywood. After 3 years, Chef Richard sent him to France to study under Marc Meneau at L’ Esperance, a move that changed his culinary life. Today, you will find him performing in private kitchens across Orange County.