Is Achieving your Ultimate Private Chef Salary at the Top of your Christmas List?

With the end of yet another year in sight, the festive period begins, and with it our thoughts turn to the New Year. It’s a time when people start planning goals and resolutions for the coming New Year. One topic that’s normally high on the agenda is a change in our career. For a private chef that generates many questions regarding a suitable salary and package, but what do we actually consider to be “suitable”, and what do we mean by the “package”?

Is a suitable package really defined by the final private chef salary?

All too often there are many contributory factors that seem to be neglected, and yet these are key elements that should hold equal importance. If you are a chef who entered the private industry with money as your only motivator, then this article probably isn’t for you. However, the majority of private chefs work in the industry for additional reasons, passion for cooking, love of travelling, fewer constrictions, the list goes on. Although, no matter how great the working benefits, the financials are just as important. They are key motivators for your next career move but there is more to consider than the private chef’s salary alone.

In the first instance the job needs to include the elements that attract you to the profession. It begins with the prospective clients’ preferences and the possibility of expanding them. If it’s important that you cook fine dining cuisine, but the family doesn’t entertain and mainly enjoys family style cuisine, then you would be missing an element that brings you great pleasure. Equally a chef with passion for preparing seafood would miss out it if they were only to cook vegetarian cuisine. The correct balance is important. Find a position that allows you the freedom of cooking cuisine you enjoy, and the opportunity to expand your knowledge and skill set preparing new dishes and cuisine styles. When you are happy and excited about your daily routine you will receive the most reward from your position.

Travel is a major player in the private chef package.

The opportunity to live and work in a new city or country contributes greatly to the magnetism of a new job. What’s the point of achieving the best private chef salary and living in a place you dislike? If you love to travel then finding a position with a principal that travels extensively will be important. After all, how long could you stay in the same place without the opportunity to move around? And lets not forget, the opportunity to cook in new locations… it offers the chance to explore new and exciting produce.

A large proportion of private chef positions have accommodation provided.

Your accommodation could be a separate apartment or a house. Possibly it’s a shared space with other household staff. Think carefully about your personal living arrangements, it is critical. Being happy in your personal space should be right at the top of the checklist. Remember that some clients are very happy to negotiate regarding the accommodation to ensure the chef is as happy at home as they are at work. Make sure you confirm who will be responsible for paying the utility bills and which services are included. Could you survive living in a house in the middle of nowhere… with an intermittent Internet connection, limited mobile phone signal and no landline?

If you need to relocate for your new position and accommodation isn’t provided, you will need to do some careful research. Your target private salary will need to extend to cover the costs of your accommodation. You will need to check the costs very carefully, relocating and setting up a new home isn’t cheap. At the very least I would suggest asking if the principals / family has a property agent in the area who can give you experienced advice on the market and associated costs.

More often than not the chef is responsible for provisioning so you will probably have access to a vehicle for business purposes. But will this be extended to personal use too? If the family is happy for you to use the car for your personal time then this is another excellent benefit within the package. Of course you will need to be clear regarding responsibility for the personal fuel allowance.

The private chef salary – for most this is the key element.

It’s important, but all the other components need to be calculated before you can decide on whether the offer is right for you or not. As I’ve tried to demonstrate there are many factors that will dictate the final private chef salary that’s offered. Deciding on an optimum target figure is important but be prepared to be flexible.

It is wise to remember that negotiating the package is far more important than negotiating the chef’s salary element. This enables the principals and the chef to work out a suitable overall offer. This generally results in both parties being happy and positive about the arrangement.

There are of course additional considerations that will depend on your current business structure. You will need to be clear which party is dealing with tax and insurance liabilities. Other additional benefits can include private healthcare, dental care, insurance, travel allowance. The holiday entitlement is also an important calculation as it can change dramatically depending on the family’s schedule.

I guess that really leaves the sticky topic of tips… it’s a lengthy and sometimes touchy debate. On the whole it’s best to consider your offer without relying on and including the possibility of tips or bonuses. In many cases it’s not a reliable part of the private chef salary. Maybe I’ll dip my feet into the murky topic of tips and bonuses in the future…

If job hunting is part of your New Year plans then take some time to think over the Christmas period and remember:

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

About Philip Pesci

Philip Pesci is the founder of Chef Xclusive, a bespoke consultancy sourcing private chefs for their clients’ private residences and estates, yachts, private aviation, luxury villas, chalets and retreats. Philip’s career has spanned from cooking in the bustling professional restaurants of London, to cooking in high profile private chef positions globally. He and his team are dedicated to the culinary sector, and are committed to contributing their knowledge and understanding to improve and develop the private chef profession. Combining their valuable knowledge, professional approach and modern recruiting strategies they deliver outstanding results for their clients by sourcing the best private chefs globally.

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