Tips for working freelance as a cook (AKA what our clients want when they book a cook):

We are so lucky at Sugarella to have some of the best freelance chefs in the business on our books. We’ve put together a list of tips for new or fledgling freelancers on how to be a successful self-employed chef.

  • Keep in touch with your agency. Even just an email ever couple of weeks will work wonders in terms of your employability. If you keep yourself at the forefront of your agency’s mind, you’ll be more likely to be the first people they think of when a plum job comes in. It really is essential that they know you are looking.
  • Don’t take on too much. Before and after a big job you need time to prep and relax, respectively. If you don’t, you run the risk of burning out and not performing well.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn down work: better to do one job well rather than three badly.
  • Look after yourself between jobs. Health is wealth and all that.
  • Be on top of your invoices. Clearly mark your due dates.
  • Keep your receipts.
  • Each client should feel like your only client and your top priority. If this isn’t the case, you are almost certainly taking on too much.
  • Don’t be funny about money! Be transparent about absolutely all charges to either your agent or your client before starting work. There is nothing worse than an awful standoff about ‘hidden’ charges post-invoicing.
  • If you cancel last minute – for any reason whatsoever – unfortunately you will not be paid. This is the nature of the freelance beast.
  • Similarly, you will not be paid for sick days (see again, health is wealth!) or holidays.
  • Flexibility is key in any form of freelancing. Taking jobs last minute or shifting working hours are par for the course. Routine is unlikely.
  • Make sure you have good equipment of your own. You might turn up to work in a kitchen where the most sophisticated culinary item is a bread knife.
  • The most employable freelance chefs are ones who drive and have a car. Lots of our clients live in remote locations and want a chef who can be left to do the shopping.
  • Give feedback to your agency following a job. Developing a rapport with your agency will stand you in much better stead when it comes to finding work.
  • Never cancel a job for a bigger, better deal. Integrity is really important in freelancing – the last thing you want is a reputation for being flaky.

Good luck!