Private Cook: Job Description & Career Info

Private cooks prepare meals for families, businesses and organizations. Not only may cooks be responsible for making the meal, they may have to shop for groceries and ensure that the kitchen is spotless and dishes are washed after use. Read on to find out the training and skills required, in addition to the salary and employment outlook expected, to see if this career is for you.

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Career Definition of a Private Cook

Town and Country Resources reports that private cooks are responsible for preparing meals and completing all kitchen-related duties, and they may have to manage a small staff. Private cooks must be able to mix ingredients and create delicious meals, which are catered to their employer's likes and dislikes. Private cooks may also have to organize parties, celebrations or events for their employers. Private cooks can find opportunities in residential homes, guest homes, private planes and yachts.

Education Degree from a culinary arts program
Job Skills Interpersonal and etiquette abilities, marketing skills
Average Salary (2015)* $37,680 (cooks, private household)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 1% growth (cooks, private household)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Anyone looking to become a private cook can find educational opportunities in culinary schools that offer a degree in catering or culinary arts. While receiving their education, students will develop multiple culinary skills and learn their way around a kitchen. Additional business training can help private cooks who are looking to start their own catering company or other business venture.

Skills Required

Cooks should have strong interpersonal and etiquette skills in order to develop a working relationship with their employers and understand how to prepare dinners, parties and events. Private cooks should also be able to sell themselves effectively, as they often have to seek out and impress their own clients in order to build their businesses.

Economic and Career Outlook

The yearly salary of a private cook depends upon his or her experience, location and employer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of private cooks was $37,680 in May 2015. The BLS further reports a slower-than-average job growth rate of 1% from 2014-2024.

Alternate Career Options

Other options in this career field to consider include:


Although not required, bakers often attend training programs in culinary schools or technical schools; many skills may be learned while on the job or through apprenticeships. Bakers mix and bake ingredients for pastries, breads and various types of baked goods. Job growth of 7% was anticipated for this field from 2014-2024, the BLS noted. Bakers earned an average wage of $26,270 per year as of 2015, according to the BLS.

Food Service Manager

Although some of these managers have formal postsecondary training, long-term food service experience is probably the most important requirement. Food service managers are responsible for directing restaurant staff and helping their businesses earn a profit. A 5% increase was expected in the number of positions available from 2014-2024, said the BLS. In 2015, food service managers took home an average yearly salary of $53,640, per the BLS.

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