If you’re reading this, chances are you are a professional cook or private chef. So, you’ll know that the catering industry is hardly a cake walk: competition is tough when it comes to booking jobs. And being booked once doesn’t necessarily lead to being booked again, not even if you whip up a feast that would have Alain Ducasse quaking in his boots…..(click to read more)
Being a professional chef is a dream job for so many people, but no one is an overnight success. Great gigs and big money comes after years of honing your skills and grafting to build up confidence, contacts and culinary repertoire. Sounds like hard work? It is. Very. But nothing worth having ever came easy. Here are our GUIDELINES as to what you can expect to be paid, by the day, throughout your career as a freelance private chef.
"I don't work through agencies"......oh how many times have I heard chefs and cooks tell me this - and believe me, I do understand. You have had bad experiences in the past with larger companies that perhaps have too many jobs and not enough time. Perhaps they have never worked as a chef so don't understand the things us cooks and chefs just 'get'.
I started my agency due to the frustrations I found with other agencies. Whilst I am by nowhere near perfect, I do try to cover the gaps to make my business a success, to keep my staff on my side, as we have to remember - good staff are the people that keep your business going.
I am not saying I reply to every single application within nano seconds, but I do make a conscious effort to respond to each and every applicant, even if I do not believe they would be right for the type of roles I have.
The next time you complain about an agency, perhaps stop and think. Whilst the one dream job you have seen advertised may not have worked for you, there may be another just around the corner. So don't burn your bridges with them - hold your breath and move on, you just never know what the future holds!
Why Cooks should work through Sugarella Cooks
- Do one job for us and get good feedback, it is likely you will then be on speed dial from then forward, bringing lots more business your way
- I have worked as a chef myself and understand the hard work involved. I never undersell cooks and price the jobs fairly.
- If there is an emergency and you find yourself unable to do the job - you just give me a call and I sort a replacement. If you are on your own - what do you do? You have let the client down, and it is likely they will not use you again.
- I have extensive insurance covering for damages in the home or accidents on the job (more information can be asked once you are registered)
- We have a regular pool of lovely clients, so it is likely you will get some nice jobs in wonderful places
- We are an ear at the end of the phone. If you are lonely on a job, worried about a client, I am here to talk. I understand all the anxieties cooks and chefs can go through!
- If you do one job for one of my clients and they ask you back, if you inform me, I offer an incentive where you are entitled to 10% of my fee. Why bother telling me your returning? Look back at point 3.
- I offer a personal and bespoke service, and am here to be the cooks friend, not the enemy.
- I have a number of contacts with chefs who may need a helping hand. If I know you are good, I will often recommend you to a chef in need.
- If I ask you about a job and it is not for you, I will not hold it against you and will call you again! Likewise, if I do not feel a job I have will be the right fit for you I will not ask you to do it.
Earlier on this year, I placed a chef in a household in London, where he is employed to cook for a family of varying ages, consisting of 5 people (plus guests). The diets this amazing chef is cooking for range dramatically. Some members of the family eat everything, some only fish and chicken and others follow a dairy, gluten and sugar free diet, and one member is strictly Vegan! There is never a dull moment for this chef and we are so thrilled to have placed him in this position. He is really happy in the role, and the clients adore him and his food.
I asked the chef to give me an overview of a standard day for him, so you can read about some of the things involved in a job like this....and here is what he says:
06.00 - my alarm goes off. This doesn't mean just going to work for me. This is a new day for new opportunities to be creative. I get up early enough to start my day with morning exercise. I find this very beneficial as it gives me more energy to get through a busy day.
07.00/08.00 - Arrive at work. First thing to do is set the table and then cook breakfast. Once Breakfast is done, I pack up some snacks and lunch for the little girl to take to school. I then pack up snacks and lunch for Mr G to take to work. If it is a weekend, things are different as they all eat at home.
Before I start preparing lunch for Mrs G and other family members (if they are around), I have a 1.5 hour break which I usually spend creating a new recipe, or I pop out to the shops to get any ingredients I need for that day.
12.00-13.00 - Lunch is served, but it varies from day to day.
When lunch is over, I have about 2 to 3 hours of free time. I sometimes spend this going for a walk to get some fresh air, or I stay in and start planning preparations for dinner.
17.00-19.30 - Dinner is prepared and served. After this, I tidy up, leave the kitchen immaculate and ready for the next day, and then I make my way home.
My relationship with the other household staff
I am not required to cook for the staff, but I personally believe it is nice to keep them in mind when I am cooking. I always make sure there is some extra food for them to enjoy. I think it is important to maintain a good relationship between the other members of staff and myself. We spend many hours in the household together! Once they have enjoyed eating my food, they are very happy to give me a hand with the washing up. I see this as a mutual favour!
Every day I will be faced with a new challenge. The most common will be friends of the family appearing unexpected. I am required to cook for them. In these circumstances, I have to be quick and innovative to be able to serve delicious meals to them in no time. The ability to multitask is of paramount importance at these times.
How to avoid pressure and stress
To avoid too much pressure and stress on myself, I always need to be ready for last minute cooking. I have ingredients in stock prepared and always plan some quick but delicious recipes to use on these occasions.
What do I love about my job?
The beauty of being a personal chef is that I have full freedom to create new, exciting recipes and it is never boring. There is also a huge amount of appreciation for my cooking, which makes the whole job even more fulfilling.
What is the key to success as a private chef?
Flexibility, creativity, reliability, competence and patience are a prerequisite for the success of a private chef. A good sense of humour is always an advantage too!
If you are a chef interested in a job like this, send your CV to us today. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a client looking to employ a private chef like this, please contact us with your requirements.
We have recently taken on a job, based in West London, which is catering for the most important little people in London! You will be responsible for catering a variety of Children's Parties across London and will be cooking for HNWI and their little families!
This is a fantastic opportunity for a newly qualified cook, or someone who has perhaps completed a couple of ski seasons, to get some incredible experience under their belt. Alongside catering for the childrens parties, you will also help out with some of the larger events during busy times.
Working with a team of fun people in West London, this is an opportunity for a keen and enthusiastic cook to really get themselves involved with something amazing. If only I could rewind the clock 12 years and I would take this job myself!
See more details here or e mail email@example.com with your CV, and should I think you are suitable for the position I will contact you to discuss.
It is not a lie that we are really passionate about finding the right people for the right job. We care about our clients and our chefs, and we really mean it. We have received a lot of positive feedback from all the jobs we have placed so far, which is so wonderful to hear. It is why we set up our agency so that we can look after cooks and clients and make sure they are happy long term, rather than just a quick fix. If we do not think a cook will suit a certain role, we simply will not put them forward for the position. We do not want to waste time of the cook or the client.
Here is a recent testimonial from a happy client where we placed a domestic couple for a busy family in Yorkshire, we were thrilled to read this and wanted to share it with you:
If you are looking for a cook, chef, extra pair of hands, domestic couple or any other form of household staff, please do contact us - we would be delighted to hear from you!
HOMEMADE BASIL AND ROCKET PESTO
- 2 x bunches basil (fresh)
- 2 x generous handfuls of rocket
- 150g pinenuts
- 150g grated parmesan
- 1 x clove garlic
- Good quality olive oil - enough for a good consistency (not too stiff, not too runny)
- salt and pepper to taste
Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor. Season to taste. You may like to add a bit more parmesan or a few more nuts, depending on your preference. A perfect addition for so many exciting dishes....try adding to your tarts, sandwiches, roasted vegetable salads, courgetti pasta to name a few....
- 200g Chickpeas
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt to taste
- 100ml tahini paste
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste. Serve with fresh, crunchy crudites, add to the top of salad dishes....use at your pleasure!
BEETROOT DIP (this recipe will make enough to serve approx 30 people!)
- 8 vaccum packed beetroot
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2tsp caraway seeds
- 6 tbsp creme fraiche
- 2 tbsp horseradish
Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor, season to taste with salt and pepper. Brighten up any lunch table with this fabulous pink and tasty dip!