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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Chef?

The average cost to hire a personal chef in the United States is around $30 to $40 per hour. The cost to hire a private chef for a dinner party will cost about $45 per person, on average.

But the price can quickly go up to $100 per person, or more, if you use costly 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.

According to statistics, Americans spend an average of 37 minutes a day preparing, serving, and cleaning up after their meals. This number creeps up to 44 minutes a day for families with kids, totaling more than 267 hours a year spent in the kitchen.

For many households, hiring a personal chef to gain back some of that time can feel like a pipe dream — but it might not be as expensive as you think. In fact, in some U.S. cities, a personal chef costs barely more than eating out.

Personal chefs are more affordable than private chefs since they generally prepare meals in advance to cater to the needs of clients. A private chef, on the other hand, comes with a fixed annual salary since they work primarily for one client full-time.

Have it in mind that 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 extensively based on your location. These costs typically include meal planning, shopping, and food preparation.

Some personal chefs tend to also charge extra if they have to drive outside of their usual area of service to cook for you. Therefore, it is always advisable to ask them if they charge a fixed fee per additional mile that they travel.

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

Meanwhile, if you are hiring a chef to cater for a special event, then the pricing plans are slightly different because they will spend more time serving the food and presenting it well.

Note that you will need to discuss how many courses you want and choose exactly how many people you expect to serve. Then you can choose a proposed meal plan from your chef, and they can give you a price estimate based on all this information.

Howbeit, 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.

Indeed, large urban cities with higher food costs and more experienced chefs will significantly affect the cost. 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 around $12,775 to $25,550 for just cooking dinner. Hiring a private chef will cost you $1,065 to $2,129 per month.

9 Factors that Influence the Cost of Hiring a Personal Chef

Just like it was stated above, chefs charge hourly, weekly, or by serving, but a lot goes into how they come up with their final price tag.

  1. Cost of Living

Have it in mind that the price of ingredients to prepare your meals will depend a lot on where you live. In 2018, for instance, a gallon of milk in Jacksonville, Florida, is about $3.47; meanwhile, the same gallon costs $4.69 in New York City.

Rent, taxes, proximity to distribution centers and more can all affect the price of food. In addition, the more expensive it is to live in a given area, the more chefs around there need to charge to make a living.

  1. Groceries

High-quality or specialty ingredients are always more costly and sometimes tend to take more effort to source. Families eager for higher-end ingredients — such as only locally sourced or organic food — can expect the grocery portion of their personal chef bill to reflect those higher costs.

  1. Frequency

A good number of chefs charge per hour, so it should come as something new that the more often you ask them to come by, the more they will charge you. Asking a chef to come by twice a week will be a lot more expensive than having them swing by just once a month.

  1. Location

Chefs cooking off-site might charge less than those coming to cook in your home. Large-scale commercial kitchens make it easier and faster to cook large amounts of food, and that can translate to a lower price overall. The median price of a personal chef in the U.S. is about $200-$300 per week for five meals for a family of four, not including the cost of groceries, which can vary widely by city.

  1. Ownership

Please note that a single chef working independently will likely charge more than a personal chef service. Independent personal chefs are small business owners with overhead costs to consider. In addition, administrative tasks (invoicing, payment processing, grocery shopping, etc.) are often centralized at larger companies, spreading out the cost over a team of chefs, and allowing them to keep their prices competitive.

  1. Number of Servings

Have it in mind that there is some economy of scale with cooking, but generally speaking, the more food you need prepared, the more ingredients (and sometimes work) go into it. Chefs tend to consider this when charging you and adjust their bills accordingly.

For some, that entails simply charging for any extra time or supplies needed to accommodate the larger orders. Others, meanwhile, charge a set price per serving — meaning if you want twice the food, you will have to pay twice the cost.

  1. Specialty Menus

Households with plenty of dietary restrictions will indeed require more time and effort for planning than those with none; therefore it makes sense that some chefs would charge more for them.

Establishing a diverse set of meals for a household with various restrictions and allergies can sometimes add hours to planning and prep time, and that is typically reflected in the rate. Examples of specialty menus include food sensitivities or allergies, vegan or vegetarian, and gluten-free or dairy-free.

  1. Experience of the Chef

Just as important as all of the above is the experience the chef has at doing their job. Note that the more training, experience, and notability, the higher the chef can charge. Chefs that attended culinary school and have amassed an impressive client list with multiple big-name celebrities will charge a higher rate than chefs that don’t have this reputation.

  1. Extras

Note that if a client has a reputation for being overly demanding, picky, or harsh, a chef might ask for an above-market rate to offset the challenges of working with someone who is particularly difficult. In the same way, chefs asked to take on additional responsibilities will charge accordingly.


Whether you are hosting a private gathering or a large dinner party, it is a wonderful idea to hire a personal chef to take care of your meals rather than opt for food catering. Aside from satisfying your guests, you are also delivering a unique experience that not everyone gets to try.

Before you make your final decision, you need to talk it through with your chef and discuss meal plans, budget estimates, and other additional requests.