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The Cook's in the Kitchen: The Rise of Personal Chef Careers

Job Profile

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

How to Embark on a Career as a Personal Chef

The easiest and most direct wayt o become a personal chef like Sam 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.

Culinary Classes for the Experienced Chef

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.

Personal Chef Jobs: A Flexible Culinary Career

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.

Unlike chefs who work in busy restaurants, many personal chefs enjoy flexible schedules and control over their own work hours. If you want a chef career without the stress of putting out 200 dinners each night, personal chef training is a great option. And who knows--you might even end up in the White House.

About the Author:

Featured Culinary Schools

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  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
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  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
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