Private household cooks plan menus and prepare meals in private homes based on the recipes or tastes of the employer. Some may have a specialty such as cooking for older adults, nutritious low-fat meals, gourmet meals or cooking for families.
- Shop for food items and kitchen supplies
- Organize the kitchen
- Plan menus according to employers tastes and diet restrictions
- Prepare meals for parties, holidays and social events
- Supervise the kitchen staff members and all food related procedures
- Clean kitchen and cooking utensils and equipment
- Create and explore new recipes and styles of food
- Sometimes they travel with their employer to vacation homes in order to prepare meals
Private household cooks typically work in pleasant, comfortable homes or apartments. Some live in the home of their employer. Those that live with their employer often work more hours each day. Working evenings and weekends is often part of the profession. However, some cooks are employed on a part-time basis. Household cooks should be dependable, discreet, courteous and honest.
In 2007 the median annual wage was $24,270. From 2006 through 2016 the employment of private household cooks is estimated to grow about as fast as the average for all other occupations. Some in the profession with experience may look to obtain employment in restaurants, hotels and other settings. Also, some may receive training at a chef school or vocational school and seek employment in upscale restaurants or as personnel chefs.
Private Household Cook Training, Certification, and Licensing
Typically, employers do not require a certificate from a vocational school. However, some employers do prefer experienced cooks which have some training. Vocational schools offer training programs which usually include a solid foundation in cooking techniques, sanitation and safety and food handling guidelines.
Partnerships of the U.S. Department of Labor with culinary schools, trade unions and industry associations provide apprenticeship programs for cooks. Also, the American Culinary Federation sponsors apprenticeship programs across the nation. Some food service management companies, hotels and restaurant chains offer paid internships and summer employment for those initiating their cooking careers. Sometimes internships provide opportunities for cooks to be accepted into formal chef training programs.
Private homes and room and boarding houses are the primary employers.