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How to Become a Personal Chef

Puja Lalwani
The job of a personal chef is lucrative, and personally and professionally satisfying. Whether you are already a chef looking to venture into this field, or an aspirant, here's how to go about the process.
One would assume that a personal chef is a luxury only the filthy rich can afford. While that may be partially true, it is also a fact that the concept of hiring a personal chef is now being embraced by a large group of people. Personal chefs are professionals who prepare meals for families based on their choices.
Those who do not have the time to cook food but would still like to enjoy fresh, hot food on the table when they arrive from work are those who usually avail of the services of personal chef. These chefs prepare menus based on the client's choice and also keep in mind any restrictions that they may have in terms of their diet.
They also shop for groceries required for meals and prepare, label and store each meal. It is a relatively new field and a highly lucrative job that is supposedly known to pay even more than that of an executive chef!
Becoming any kind of chef demands only one important quality: the passion for food. You must love what you do so that you can create delicacies that have you stand apart from the others. If you have this kind of passion along with the ability to hone it into a skill that will help you become a professional, you are likely to be successful in your endeavors.
While this forms the basis of your job, it is important that you supplement it with some kind of education to become a thorough professional. To become a personal chef, follow these steps.

Go to a Culinary School

The first step is to enroll yourself in culinary school. While not mandatory, it definitely gives you the boost you need to kick start your career in the field. It fine tunes your skills so that you become better at what you do.
If you think it may be too expensive, you may alternately enroll for some cooking classes that will help you learn new and unique techniques in the field of cooking. For this method to work, you must have the dedication to improve your skills yourself, and do your best to learn as many new things as you can in the world of culinary arts.
Going to a culinary school will also provide you with nutrition education that will help in your career. When you are required to customize menus to suit a person's dietary needs, it is important that you have at least some basic information regarding nutrition, to appropriately fulfill those requirements.

Get an Internship

The next step is to get yourself a good internship with a personal chef or at any place that allows you to cook professionally.
This will not only give you the exposure of a fast-paced kitchen environment, it will give some very necessary work experience, and also help you build a network that will help you get yourself a good job opportunity in the future.

Market Yourself

You got an internship and you have learned the tricks of the trade. It is now time to market yourself to people who need professionals such as yourself, and prove why you are a good choice.
If you have a good amount of work experience and can allow only your work to speak for you, you are likely to get good opportunities in the field. However, getting in touch with the right people for the right job is imperative, which is why the networking mentioned in the aforementioned section is very important.

Become a Member of the U.S. Personal Chef Association (USPCA)

The USPCA is a well established association solely for personal chefs. You may become a member of this association while you are a student or later when you decide that you specifically want to be a personal chef. This association provides certification to such professionals who find that this certification gives them an edge over others in the job market.
It also has a vast network that makes finding jobs much easier. Even families prefer chefs who belong to this association, as all of them have certain set standards of cooking and hygiene, and because it is nationally recognized.
As mentioned earlier, it has been found that the salary of a personal chef can go much higher than any other type of chef's salary. This of course depends on your skill and your experience.
Pursuing this career is no difficult task, particularly when you have an association that has been created especially for professionals such as you. Make most of this career opportunity, as it is highly rewarding and does not even demand as many hours as that of a chef who works in a fast-paced hotel kitchen. It is comfortable, and satisfying. Good luck!