The Life Of A Personal Chef: Long Days, Delicious Meals, And A Liter Of Olive Oil

2022-06-24 23:59:13 By : Ms. Ada Cooper

Delish editors handpick every product we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

You'll be tired after just reading about their workday.

In some ways, Meredith Hayden’s mornings are pretty typical. She gets up by 6:45 a.m, puts on work-appropriate clothes, does her skincare routine, drinks a caffeinated beverage, and heads into the office. Except for part of her work outfit is an apron, and the office is a beautiful kitchen and garden in the Hamptons. Hayden is a private chef.

This summer, she’s spending her weekends on the east end of Long Island, working for a family as a live-in chef. “In my personal experience, I've been treated like one of the family members,” she said. “I have a seat at the table at every meal.”

A usual day consists of making breakfast (shakshuka), buying groceries (sometimes at a few locations to get necessary ingredients), harvesting produce from the garden, making lunch (grilled oysters with lobster rolls, kale and halloumi salad, and hot dogs for the kids), and finally cooking dinner (carne asada with roasted tomatillo salsa and elote chopped salad). She also makes time to chronicle her daily life on her TikTok channel @wishbonekitchen.

pre-order my cook book thru the link in my bio!!!! #dayinmylife #privatechef #cooking #hamptons

Sound exhausting? It’s about a 17-hour day prepping three meals for a family of five to 10, depending on the weekend. “I go through about a liter of olive oil per weekend,” she said. “Some of the olive oil will go in a marinade or will grease the grill.”

When she’s not working for the family, she’ll do one-off jobs for clients, where the budget is not even a discussion. “They’re not ordering truffles and caviar, but they want the wild-caught salmon that's $60 a pound,” she said.

She was once hired to cater a lunch for 15 people, and the clients wanted her to cook enough food for 30 to 40 people. “They were like, ‘We don't want it to look sparse. We want it to look very abundant,’” she said. “They just wanted more food than they needed, kind of like props, but that’s not normal.”

Thara Moise, a personal chef based in Philadelphia, works mostly on private dinners and small events. Her days look different than Hayden’s but are just as exhausting. She often sets up tablescapes and decorations for events along with doing all the cooking. This means she has had to lug all the plates, decor, and food up and down stairs and then drive around town looking for the right address before strapping on an apron.

Back at it again with a woowzer! #personalchef #personalchefservices #privatechef #chefmoise #haitiantiktok #haitianfood #haitiancuisine #cheftalk

Moise likes to offer her clients custom menu options. “I have a menu PDF with nine to 10 pages of original recipes, and you can pick your menu,” she said. It has almost 50 different dishes, including gorgeous grazing boards, crab balls with spicy mustard sauce, decadent lobster mac and cheese, and squid ink risotto. You can see many of her beautiful dishes in her TikTok videos.

The edible gold flakes really elevate the desserts! #personalchef #privatechef #travelchef #privatedining #personalchefservices

“I go to Morocco every year to get all my spices,” she said. “They have beautiful outdoor spice markets there. So I get huge amounts of spices—fennel, turmeric, cumin. I spend upwards of $400 a month.”

While Moise loves the challenge every job presents, she has dealt with some pretty picky clients. “Some say, ‘Can you please not put anything on the countertops? We can't get anything on them,’” Moise said. “And I'm like, What? I had to Saran wrap their whole countertop.” She also finds that many wealthier clients will have top-of-the-line cookware that’s never been used.

“They are like, ‘Can you bring your own cookware?’” she continued. “Why do you have this $800 set then?”

But the long hours and tough clients have paid off. "My first year I made $168,000," Moise said. "This year, I'm projected to make $234,000. That's really good in your first few years of business."