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How to Become a Personal Chef

When Barack Obama moved from Chicago to the White House in January of 2009, he brought with him his wife, Michelle; daughters, Malia and Sasha; Portuguese water dog, Bo; and personal chef, Sam. That Sam the personal chef, who had been working for the Obamas in Chicago for several years, was included in this move to our nation's capital emphasizes the growth and importance of personal chef careers. And nowadays, it's not just presidents that have personal chefs; at a price tag of $350-$450 a week including groceries, the personal chef trend is surprisingly middle class.

Culinary Arts

Becoming a personal chef

The easiest and most direct way to become a personal chef is to seek out a culinary degree program that offers applicable coursework in its curriculum. In addition to knowing how to cook, personal chefs should also be equipped with the skills to run their own businesses. Culinary schools offer coursework in subjects ranging from foundational cooking and baking to cost control and pricing to communication skills.

If the food service industry is new to you, culinary degree programs provide the foundation you need to change careers. Programs range from six-month certificates and one-year diplomas to two-year associate's and four-year bachelor's degrees, so you can choose the program that best fits your needs and time available.

Personal chef education requirements

If you've got previous kitchen experience but want to hone your skills and boost your resume in order to land a personal chef job, consider an accelerated program designed for professional chefs. These programs offer business training and advanced skills in a compressed time frame.

Online culinary schools are ideal if you want a flexible learning schedule and need to master the business or managerial aspects of personal chef work such as cost-control, nutrition, finances and marketing.

Some institutions offer short, intensive programs designed for the personal chef business with instruction in topics such as packaging, menu planning, pricing, and designing recipes for meals that store, freeze, and reheat well.

Whether you choose a traditional or online culinary degree program, you can use the connections you develop at culinary school to find clients for your personal chef business. A recommendation from your culinary instructor can support your professional standing, for instance.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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