How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Personal Chef?

$30 – $40 per hour

The average cost to hire a personal chef is between $30 to $40 per hour. The cost to hire a private chef for a dinner party will cost about $45 per person, on average. The price of a private chef can quickly go up to $100 per person, or more, if you use expensive food or have add-ons for your party, such as wine pairings. Get free estimates from personal chefs near you.

Personal Chef Cost

The average cost to hire a personal chef is between $30 to $40 per hour. The cost to hire a private chef for a dinner party will cost about $45 per person, on average. The price of a private chef can quickly go up to $100 per person, or more, if you use expensive food or have add-ons for your party, such as wine pairings. You can expect to pay $100 to $400 for a personal chef to prepare six entrees, depending on what you want on the menu.

Personal Chef Cost Chart

Personal Chef Cost
National Average Cost $250
Minimum Cost $180
Maximum Cost $750
Average Range $100 to $400

Personal chefs are more-affordable than private chefs, mainly because they generally prepare meals in advance to cater to the needs of several clients in their area. A private chef, on the other hand, has a fixed annual salary because they work primarily for one client full-time. The average cost of a personal chef is about the same as the price of dining out in your neighborhood. It can often be cheaper depending on your menu.

Table Of Contents

Personal Chef Cost Per Hour

Some chefs prefer to charge by the hour rather than by the plate. The average personal chef cost is $30-40 per hour, but it does vary considerably based on your location. These costs typically include meal planning, shopping, and food preparation.

Some personal chefs will charge extra if they have to drive outside of their usual area of service to cook for you. If so, ask them if they charge a fixed fee per additional mile that they travel. They might charge by the extra travel time spent to calculate your total costs instead.

Cost Of Private Chef For Dinner Party

The estimated national average cost for a personal chef to make a three-course meal for about 10 people total at your dinner party is around $45 per person. However, it can easily increase to $100 per person or more if you use specialty ingredients.

If you're hiring a chef to cater for a special event, then the pricing plans are slightly different because they will spend more time to serve the food and present it well. You will need to discuss how many courses you want and decide exactly how many people you plan to serve. Then you can select a proposed meal plan from your chef, and they can give you a price estimate based on all this information.

Table Of Food Prepared By Personal Chef

How Much Does A Private Chef Cost Per Week?

If you compare personal-chef services throughout the United States, the average cost of hiring one to make about six different small-family entrees can be anywhere between $100 to $400. The median chef price is around $200. Of course, large urban cities with higher food costs and more-experienced chefs will significantly affect the cost.

If you sign up for a regular meal-service plan, then you can sometimes pay a flat monthly fee instead.

Personal Chef Cost Per Year

At an average cost of $35 per meal for a family of four, to hire a personal chef for a year you can expect to pay between $12,775 to $25,550 for just cooking dinner. Hiring a private chef will cost you $1,065 to $2,129 per month.

What Does A Personal Chef Do?

Hiring a personal chef supplies you with tastier food, a healthier diet and more free time. In some cases, it can even reduce your meal expenses too. Here's how it works:

Personal Chef Menu Planning

First, your personal chef will create a customized menu just for you. Most personal chefs offer an initial consultation so that you can sit down and discuss your tastes and dietary needs. An experienced chef will have no problem catering to people on a dairy-free diet, gluten-free diet, Paleolithic or "paleo" diet or ketogenic diet.

A personal chef is helpful if you have food allergies, need low-sugar diets for diabetics, or if you prefer vegan, vegetarian or Kosher meals. They'll be happy to create delicious meals that you can look forward to so that you can quickly eat healthy without all the stress of food preparation.

Personal Food Shopping

Second, your chef also serves as your personal food shopper. Having your chef shop for you has many benefits. For example, they know precisely how much ingredients to buy to prepare the meals you need. In many cases, they actually save you money while shopping because they won't overspend.

Also, the chef has excellent connections with local farmers' markets and the best food vendors in your area. That means they'll be selecting the freshest, most nutritious ingredients available so that your meals will taste far better than highly processed fast food. Plus, if you've run out of some basic kitchen staples like milk, then they'll pick it up for you to save you an extra trip to the supermarket. With a personal chef doing all the cooking, you may never need to go grocery shopping again.

Cooking and Meal Prep

After they pick up your groceries, your personal chef delivers them to you at home and starts cooking. To work most efficiently, most personal chefs prepare all your meals in your kitchen. Some larger chef services may have a policy of preparing all their meals at their company headquarters and then delivering them to you later. After they arrive, it can take a personal chef about 4 to 5 hours total to prepare up to five meals for one family. Some chefs are happy to chat with you while they cook, which can be a welcoming visit, especially for senior citizens who live alone.

Healthy Meal Prep Packed For Storage

Package Your Meals

Next, they package the food nicely and store it in your refrigerator or freezer. All you have to do is heat the food up, and you're ready to go. You can also request them to make salads for you or snacks like granola and freshly baked chips.

Clean The Kitchen

Most chefs will also clean your kitchen before they go. Many personal chefs take pride in leaving you with a clean kitchen so you won't have to worry about cleaning up after them at all. Be sure you discuss this detail with the personal chef before you hire them to ensure there are no miscommunications.

Meal Plan For The Next Week

Before they go, a personal chef may discuss what you'd like for your next week of meals or your next meal delivery. Some chefs prefer to have these conversations in person, and others may prefer to stay in touch with you about meal plans over the phone. They may email your meal plans to you so that you can have a look at them and make changes if necessary.

You can schedule your personal chef to come at any time that fits best with your schedule. For some people, it's enough to have their chef come over once a week and prepare most of the meals for that week. If you only have busy events on certain weekends, then you could schedule your chef accordingly to cover the meals for your busiest weekends.

It's a good idea to be clear about your grocery budget. Many people will find that having a personal chef shop for them is a lot cheaper than eating out. If you want a lot of meals with specialty ingredients, then you should expect to pay a little bit more. Also remember that eating more seasonal, locally grown foods can save you money on groceries in the long run. Ask your personal chef if they charge a fixed rate per plate according to your meal plan or if their rate depends more on time spent preparing the meals.

Additional Personal Chef Rates

Especially when hosting a private party, these are the extra costs you should prepare yourself for when hiring a personal chef:

Wine pairings

Most popular chefs will gladly recommend ideal wine pairings for your meal upon request. If your personal chef has extensive knowledge of wines, like a sommelier, then you can invite them to build a menu that pairs perfectly with your favorite wine flavors. If they also have a liquor license, then they can purchase the best wines for you. A personal chef without a liquor license cannot legally resell any alcoholic beverages to you, which requires you to arrange the purchase of the wine yourself.

Wine Pairing With Cheese And Charcuterie

Extra staff

Always communicate clearly to your chef how many total guests you've invited. It's common for the chef to bring in additional support staff such as a server and a sous chef to cater to the needs of larger parties of around 14 people, which can cost $250 per server.


Nothing completes the full presentation of your meal like the right dinnerware. To make the best possible impression on your guests at a special dinner, it's ideal to have a nice set of tableware, glassware, and cutlery. A personal chef may rent their dishwater from local event companies, or they may even supply a set of their own fine china to your dinner for a nominal fee.

Kitchen setup

It's very common for personal chefs to bring along their own cooking equipment, so you generally don't have to worry about whether you have all the right tools in your kitchen. If you have a larger kitchen with lots of cooking tools and you prefer your chef to use your equipment, then remember to discuss that ahead of time.

Prep time

Creating a three-course meal can take up to five hours when a private chef is catering an event. Prepping four family dinners can take four to five hours as well.


It's a common industry standard for most personal chefs to clean your kitchen when they've finished preparing your meals. Still, it's best to always confirm this before hiring your chef so that all of your expectations are clear before they begin. Otherwise, they could charge you a cheaper rate because they thought you were arranging the cleanup yourself.

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