There are currently an estimated 25,000 personal chefs in the United States. The personal chef job market is expected to grow by 5.2% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are personal chefs?

CareerExplorer rates personal chefs with a F employability rating, meaning this career should provide poor employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 9,300 personal chefs. That number is based on 1,300 additional personal chefs, and the retirement of 8,000 existing personal chefs.

Are personal chefs in demand?

When the personal chef industry launched, it was touted as one of the hottest new businesses. It is currently experiencing a slowdown in demand. This may be attributed to a few factors, starting with the possibility that the novelty of the personal chef concept has faded. In addition, high-end grocery and specialty food stores are increasingly introducing premium prepared meals-to-go. For many consumers, this provides an appealing option for a quality meal without the added cost of hiring a chef. The most sustainable employment sector for these chefs seems to be the special occasion market. A considerable number of people will hire a personal chef for a one-time event; significantly fewer will do so on an ongoing or permanent basis. Full-time opportunities for private chefs in large residences, on yachts, and on private jets are limited and generally go to job seekers with long, varied, and impressive résumés. The evolving diversification of the personal chef industry, however, shows that busy and increasingly health-conscious households of more modest means may once or twice a month hire a chef to prepare a large number of meals that are then frozen and can be reheated at the customer’s convenience. Some additional openings may be generated by aging and disabled persons with sufficient incomes, who are no longer willing or able to shop and cook for themselves. Most personal chefs are self-employed; therefore, individuals entering the field must be prepared to assume the demands of starting and operating an independent business. Some in the field combine their chef role with writing food-related articles for a local newspaper or magazine or teaching cooking classes. Others may work in a restaurant once or twice a week to gain inspiration and develop new ideas in a collaborative environment. As their business expands, some chefs market their consulting services to specialty stores developing take-out menus. Once their client base becomes large enough to justify the expense, some may hire assistants. Very experienced and established personal chefs may open a referral company which maintains a database of reputable chefs available for hire across a large geographical area. As more culinary institutes recognize this career and include personal chef courses as part of their curricula, formal training will become progressively more important. A valuable resource for aspiring personal chefs is the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA). While this relatively small occupation will likely continue to experience fluctuations in its growth, in the long term it is expected to benefit from a diverse and ever-changing demographic.

What’s the supply of personal chefs?

The personal chef industry is concentrated in Pennsylvania,

Personal Chef job market by state

State Name Employed Personal Chefs
Pennsylvania 30