How much does a personal chef cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a personal chef cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a personal chef cost?

$40 – $100average cost per hour
$50 – $130average cost per person

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$40 – $100 average cost per hour

$50 – $130 average cost per person

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Tara Farmer
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average cost of a personal chef

A personal chef costs $40 to $100 per hour, or $50 to $80 per person on average. Some personal chefs charge per year, month, or day. Many personal chefs charge $200 to $750 per week and prepare meals that you can reheat throughout the week. A chef for a one-time dinner party costs $300 to $1,600.

Personal chef cost
Rate Average cost*
Per hour $40 – $100
Per person $50 – $130
Per week $200 – $750
One-time dinner $300 – $1,600

*Not including the cost of groceries

Per hour

Personal chefs typically charge $40 to $100 per hour, depending on their experience level and your location. Most chefs include the time it takes to plan the meals, go grocery shopping, prepare the ingredients, and clean up after the meal. This can take anywhere from 2 to 7 hours or more.

Some chefs charge extra for traveling outside their usual service area or for making premium meals that take longer than average to cook.

Per person

Many chefs charge $50 to $130 per person. The cost mostly depends on the ingredients used and the number of courses. A simple meal with basic ingredients will cost much less than a 3-course meal with wine pairings.

Per-person and per-week rates typically do not include the cost of groceries, which can range from $50 to $300, depending on your preferred menu and if it involves any specialty ingredients.

Per week

Personal chefs charge about $200 to $750 per week, depending on the number of meals and servings needed. If you want a personal chef to prepare your meals long term, be prepared to spend $2,200 to $3,600 per month total or $26,400 to $43,200 per year for their services.

Dinner party

Personal chefs charge $300 to $1,600 for a one-time private dinner party, depending on the menu and number of guests. Private dinner party pricing is usually higher than standard home meal pricing because the chef spends more time preparing and presenting the food.

Alternatively, traditional catering costs $30 to $70 per guest for buffet stations or $30 to $100 per guest for full-service catering. This comes out to about $300 to $1,000 total for 10 guests. Food trucks cost $10 to $25 per person or $500 to $1,300 for a small party.

Get free estimates from personal chefs for hire near you.

Personal chef cost factors

The main factors that affect the cost of a personal chef are:

  • Cost of living: The more groceries and ingredients cost, the more the meals will cost. If you live in a large city or affluent area, a personal chef will likely charge more.

  • Servings: The more food you want prepared, the more time and money it will cost to prepare it. Some chefs charge per serving or person rather than per hour.

  • Meal type: Plated meals cost more than family-style meals and reheatable meals made in bulk cost less than ones that the chef prepares fresh every time on-site. For a dinner party, you'll pay more for tableware or any extra waitstaff required.

  • Dietary restrictions: Chefs may charge more if there are any allergies or restrictions they have to accommodate. This includes gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, or low-carb menus.

  • Experience: If a chef has more training, experience, or notoriety than average, they're more likely to have higher rates.

Tip: To save money on a personal chef, try hiring an amateur chef with good reviews or consider traditional catering services for an event.

Healthy meal prep packed for storage
Healthy meal prep packed for storage

Included services

Beyond actually cooking the meal, personal chefs do all of the planning, grocery shopping, and prep work:

  • Meal planning: Personal chefs develop a meal plan with the client to meet their dietary needs. This is especially helpful for homes with food allergies, religious traditions, or even picky eaters.

  • Shopping: Once the planning is done, chefs shop for the ingredients they need to prepare the food. If clients request certain foods like organic produce or grass-fed meat, the chef takes that into consideration.

  • Food prep: Personal chefs either come to your home to prepare the food or work off-site in their own home or a professional kitchen. They'll do all the necessary chopping, slicing, peeling, measuring, cooking, and baking.

  • Storage: Once they prepare the food, the chefs usually package each meal for you to eat later. Some will serve you one fresh meal and store all other meals in the fridge or freezer.

  • Cleaning: If the chef prepares meals in your home, they also do the cleanup afterward, so you're not left with any dirty pots, pans, or cooking utensils.

Personal chef vs. private chef

A personal chef typically has multiple clients and charges less than a private chef, who prepares meals exclusively for one family at a time and has a fixed salary. Hiring a private chef costs $5,000 to $10,000 per month or $53,000 to $120,000 per year, plus benefits and paid time off.

Personal vs. private chef cost
Chef type Average cost per hour Details
Personal $40 – $100
  • Works for several clients
  • Prepares meals in advance
  • Works normal business hours
  • May or may not have gone to culinary school
Private $50 – $200
  • Exclusively works for one client
  • Sometimes lives with the family
  • Works longer hours
  • Typically has more training than personal chefs

A personal chef preparing a meal in a kitchen for clients
A personal chef preparing a meal in a kitchen for clients

Personal chef FAQs

What does a personal chef do?

A personal chef prepares food for clients, either for a one-time event or on a regular basis. Many personal chefs make a fresh meal once per week and prepare meals that the family can heat up on their own later.

Is a personal chef worth it?

A personal chef is worth it if you don't have the time or ability to cook and can afford to pay someone to cook for you. Personal chefs can help you:

  • Save time by doing the shopping and cooking for you.

  • Eat a more balanced diet and avoid fast food.

  • Try different foods and expand your palette.

  • Throw a dinner party.

How is a personal chef different from a private chef?

A personal chef prepares food for one or more families, usually on a weekly basis. They often have several clients at a time and charge less than private chefs.

Get free estimates from personal chefs for hire near you.

Private chefs typically prepare meals full-time for one family at a time and have a set salary. They charge more because they often prepare meals on-site and fresh instead of in advance.

Getting estimates from personal chefs

Before hiring a personal chef near you, follow these important steps:

  • Compare 3+ quotes from several reputable chefs.

  • Read their reviews on Fash and Google.

  • Avoid suspiciously low estimates.

  • Ask for a detailed, written quote.

  • Ask if they charge any extra fees and what their grocery rates are.

Questions to ask a personal chef

Ask the following questions to find the personal chef that works best for you and your family:

  • Do you charge per person, per hour, or per week?

  • Where did you receive your training or education?

  • How many years of experience do you have?

  • Where do you usually prepare the food?

  • Do you charge for groceries on top of this rate? How much?

  • Do you have experience with gluten-free, dairy-free, or religious dietary restrictions?

  • How soon can you start?

  • Do you charge extra for delivery?

  • Do you have a set menu, or can I make a customized meal plan with you?