Discover the delicacies of how to hire a private chef
There’s something extremely decadent about bringing a private chef to your home or workplace for a personal or corporate event. That’s because it’s far more sophisticated than just hiring an external caterer. With a private chef, you can replicate a fine dining experience outside of a restaurant environment.
There are many reasons why you may wish to hire a private chef. Perhaps you’re marking a celebration or anniversary, or maybe you’re trying to impress a potential new client.
If you want to add some pizzazz to your next event, hiring a private chef could be the way forward.
But how do you find a chef?
And perhaps more importantly, how much will it cost to hire a private chef?
As experienced event planners, we’ve worked with clients looking to bring in a personal chef to their events. Some have been for private functions, while others have been to impress at corporate events.
Here are our top tips for helping you to discover the delicacies of hiring a private chef.
Look at your venue capabilities
The first thing to think about is your venue capability.
Your own home
If you’re bringing in a private chef to your home, you will naturally be limited by your own space. Your dining table may dictate how many guests you plan to invite, unless you’re thinking of setting up a temporary marquee in your garden.
Your home is your own personal space, so you want to think carefully about where guests might go to the bathroom, where to hang peoples coats, or if they need to remove their shoes upon arrival (as famously shown in an old episode of Sex and the City when Carrie Bradshaw lost her shoes).
You also need to consider where guests will park their cars – the last thing you want is for the neighbours to be irritated by increased traffic.
Your office makes a perfect venue if you have access to a private meeting room or enough space for a large table or food stations. But you will also need to manage expectations – do you have a big enough table for a sit-down dinner, or do you have the flexibility to adjust your room layout for a more informal event?
If you are bringing in external guests to your corporate space, are there any security concerns you need to think about? It’s not just about offering access to your building (and giving a list of confirmed names to any reception or security personnel). It’s also about the security implications of any guests catching sight of confidential data left on employee’s desks as they walk through the office towards your preferred meeting space.
An external third-party venue
If you’re hosting a corporate event, you might bring private chefs to your office or an external location. We can work with you to identify the perfect base for your event, whether you’re looking for something traditional or somewhere quirky and unique.
During your venue recce, you want to answer the following questions:
– What is the guest capacity?
– What would be your preferred seating arrangement?
– Is there public parking or public transport nearby?
– Will you have exclusive use of the venue, or will it be shared with other members of the public?
Once you have those questions answered, you need to ask to see if the venue has any existing catering capabilities that are available for use to your private chef. Are they allowed to use an in-house kitchen, or will they need to manage their preparation off-site?
You might also discover that some venues may have stipulations on only allowing preferred suppliers to use their facilities. In that case, you might have found the perfect venue but if your choice of private chef isn’t on their supplier list, you might have to look elsewhere.
This is where our expertise can help you to make the venue search quicker and easier.
We know which venues in Devon and Cornwall offer the best value for money. We can recommend high-end corporate event venues and quirkier venues that might be slightly off the beaten track.
All you have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call!
Prepare a price per head to set expectations
Once you’ve confirmed your venue, you want to create a budget which will cover your venue hire, décor, private chef hire, and any drinks or entertainment.
Typically, we recommend setting yourself a price-per-head budget for your guests. That will allow you to remain in control of your overall spend.
How much does a private chef cost?
When it comes to high-end dining with a private chef, prices will vary depending on how many guests you’re hosting and what type of menu you are looking for.
As a ballpark figure, you could expect to pay anywhere from £45 per person for a three-course menu (based on a set menu option) to £70-80 per person for a more luxurious option. If you have the funds, choosing to spend £100-150 per person could stretch to a Michelin-star dining experience – truly transforming any event into something sensational.
Be clear on allergens and dietary requirements
Before settling on a menu, you must get a detailed list of dietary requirements or known allergens.
We recommend that knowing these details before choosing a chef can help you make decisions. After all, if most of your guests follow a plant-based diet, you could select a chef known for their vegan menus. Or, if you’re looking for a sustainable menu, you might prefer a chef who works closely with local butchers or farmers to source local ingredients.
The joy of working with a private chef is that you can create something specific for your guests. Rather than bought-in menu options with limited flexibility, your brief to your chosen personal chef will allow you to create something that matches your expectations.
Talk about cooking preferences – on-site or brought in
Your private chef will have specifications on how they like to work. Some might say that they need an oven on site (allowing them to warm up meals), while others may need a fully kitted-out kitchen.
They will also tell you how much time they need for their initial set-up – realistically, you are looking at 1-2 hours. You must ensure that any set-up (or clearance time) is factored into your venue hire time frame – especially if you are paying by the hour for an external venue.
If your home has an Aga rather than a typical oven, you should let the private chef know in advance, so they can make suitable adjustments to any menu. Similarly, you may also want to let them know what type of extractor fan is available within your kitchen – what may be suitable for your family needs, may not be the right option for a fine dining experience.
Check the insurance details
When you’re working with a private chef, you want to do your due diligence. Your chef should have a great reputation (word of mouth is worth everything), and they should have suitable insurance and certifications in place.
As a minimum, your private chef should have the following:
– Public liability insurance which will offer protection in case of accidental injury or damage to your property
– Food Hygiene certification
– Professional Indemnity insurance (which will cover them in case they make a mistake which causes a financial loss to you)
– An allergy certificate (which confirms they understand the impact of allergens and cross contamination)
If your private chef is bringing their electrical equipment into your home or your office, you should also ask for an updated PAT test certificate. This will confirm that any electrical equipment that they use has been confirmed to be safe. The last thing you want is for a faulty item to blow your home or office electrics!
We also recommend that if you’re bringing a private chef to your home, you make alternative arrangements for any family pets. Dogs or cats might be welcome in your kitchen at normal times, but when bringing in an external chef, your family pets might become territorial and struggle to cope with stranger danger. Not only could pets run the risk of causing hygiene issues, but they could also become a trip hazard when your chef and your wait staff are carrying trays of food around. So for the safety of everyone involved, we always recommend asking a friend or family member to pet sit for the night.
Don’t forget the crockery and linens
If hiring a private chef for your corporate event, you also need to consider your choice of crockery, linens and tableware. If you’re bringing your chef to your home, any tired or stained linens might not give the sophisticated impression that you are trying to portray.
Similarly, in an office environment, you probably won’t have linens and tableware readily available.
Your private chef might be able to supply these for an additional charge. In this case, you may need to compare prices compared to their hire charge and the costs of hiring elsewhere.
At Inspired Occasions, we have a vast network of contacts that will enable us to hire exquisite-looking crockery and tableware that will match your corporate event theme.
To find out more about our corporate events, please get in touch.
Talk to your private chef about their staffing needs
It’s also important to consider your staffing needs for your corporate event.
As well as hiring your chef, you may need to bring in external wait staff (especially if you are having a sit-down, formal dinner), bar staff, security (depending on number of guests), reception staff, cloakroom attendants or parking attendants.
Sometimes, your private chef can organise a team they have regularly worked with and recommend.
Other times, you might need to look elsewhere for additional staffing support.
During our initial discussions about your upcoming corporate event, we will review all the options, ensuring you have considered all the possibilities.
If you need recommendations for staff hire, we can suggest trusted companies we’ve previously worked with.
Why not add a branded drink or dessert to your corporate event?
A final option for your private dining experience is to ask your personal chef to whip up a branded drink or dessert to add to your menu.
This can add to your sophisticated tastes. Adding a bespoke cocktail can amplify your brand, perhaps through the beverage’s name or even the colour palette and styling.
If you’re unsure about changing the dessert suggested by your chef, why not add some branded favours or monogrammed after-dinner chocolates to enjoy with coffee?
The possibilities of bringing your brand to your fine dining experience are endless. Your chef will have many of their own ideas, and with our network of contacts, we’re confident that we can elevate your corporate event to something beyond your imagination.
If you’re looking to hire a private chef for a corporate event, please get in touch. We work with businesses across Devon and the South West, and we have exceptional contacts that allow us to make the perfect recommendations for your needs.
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