How Much Does a Personal Chef in NYC Cost?

cost of hiring a private chef in New York City

There is a general understanding that it is expensive to hire a personal chef. Having one is often associated with being a high-profile model, entrepreneur, or celebrity.

But just how expensive is a personal chef?

There are plenty of factors that affect the pricing of a personal chef, and here are some of the primary considerations:

Level of experience

A chef who has a solid experience in the industry means he/she has honed skills. Therefore, hiring someone with more experience is more expensive compared to someone who has just started with his/her career.

If you decide to go with more expertise, then you must also be ready to shell out more for this service. But if you want to give new chefs a chance to showcase their services, then you can choose to hire a new chef.

And assessing experience is not all about the number of years. Quality always trumps quantity, and so a chef who has worked for some years in excellent restaurants is more likely to be hired compared to a chef that has worked in mediocre restaurants for many years.

Level of training

Training makes a big difference as to the personal chef’s rate. If he/she has been trained by a Michelin star chef, then you can expect to pay more for this chef’s service. However, ratings (i.e., Michelin star) do not have to be the be-all and end-all, since they can only give a glimpse of the chef’s skills.

To best assess the level of training, try out the chef’s cooking once and for all. No amount of great CV or marketing strategies can cover up for bad cooking skills. Visit the potential personal chef’s restaurant and sample his/her dishes.

No matter how good a chef is, not all chefs can please everybody. A particular cooking complements a certain crowd, and so you must ensure that the personal chef you are going to hire can satisfy your tastes.


If you are in a big city like New York, expect to pay more for a personal chef’s services. It is because living costs and wages are higher in New York compared to other states; and so, professional services are always costlier in this city.

But if you live in, say, Manila, prices can go to as low as much as 100% compared to New York prices.

To give you a better idea of how location affects living costs, here is a rundown published by Numbeo on the differences in living costs between New York and Manila:

  • Rent in New York is 414.89% higher compared to Manila
  • Restaurant prices in New York are 261.38% higher compared to Manila
  • Groceries in New York are 144.89% higher compared to Manila

And when you compare New York prices with Paris, New York still wins the numbers game:

  • Rent in New York is 118.31% higher compared to Paris
  • Restaurant prices in New York are 13.25% higher compared to Paris
  • Groceries in New York are 14.54% higher compared to Paris.

This data just shows that location can make a big difference in determining the costs of products and services in a particular area. And when you talk about New York, you must expect to pay more for what you can have cheaper in other states.

Previous and current clients

Quality is a more important determinant than quantity when it comes to considering the rate of a personal chef.

So, let’s say, even if you have just five clients, if they are all A-list celebrities, then you can expect a bigger chance to get free quality promotions through your customers. However, even if you have fifteen clients, if they all do not have many networks, then you cannot expect too much from your clients for you to turn out to be that “big” star unless you market yourself well.

These are some of the main factors that determine the professional rate of a personal chef.

So, with all these factors considered, how much does a personal chef cost?

The rate is highly relative, but to give you a general idea of the cost:

If you’re hiring for an event, there are two kinds of private chefs to choose from: a buffet and a one-event private chef.

Hiring a buffet chef costs $85 at a minimum per person and usually includes six items on the menu which already includes dessert. The chef works on site, preparing and cooking the dishes fresh.

If you are hiring a one-event private chef, it will cost you at least $125 per person that usually includes four courses. The chef will prepare and cook the meals on site, and will carefully plate each meal for each guest.

Then there is the specialty chef, a one-of-its-kind professional chef that specializes in just one area. One popular specialty chef is for wine pairing, where the chef does combinations of wine and dishes for the guests. It is a highly-specialized skill because you must develop a taste for wine pairings to be successful at what you do.

You can also hire a personal chef on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Long-term subscriptions are always affordable compared to short-term contracts.

Average personal chef rates in New York are as follows:

  • $500- $600 per day for the professional service and food costs. It covers two meals per day.
  • $2,500-$3,500 per week for the professional service and food costs. It includes two meals per day.
  • Rates start at $120,000 per year for the professional service and food costs. It covers two meals per day.

As you can see, it is not cheap to hire a personal chef. However, if you have sufficient budget for it and you are passionate about food, then hiring a personal chef is right for you.