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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.

Responsibilities

  • 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

Job Characteristics

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.

Employment Outlook

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.

Resources

Major Employers

Private homes and room and boarding houses are the primary employers.

Private Household Cooks Skills

Below are the skills needed to be private household cooks according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Critical Thinking3.253
Service Orientation3.253.62
Management of Material Resources3.123
Reading Comprehension33
Speaking33

Private Household Cooks Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be private household cooks according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Near Vision3.383.12
Information Ordering3.253
Manual Dexterity3.252.88
Finger Dexterity3.253
Problem Sensitivity3.253.12

Private Household Cooks Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be private household cooks according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Customer and Personal Service4.384.79
Food Production3.623.25
Sales and Marketing3.383.88
Administration and Management3.253.42
English Language3.133.17

Private Household Cooks Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being private household cooks according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships3.924.25
Getting Information3.833.88
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work3.74.48
Monitoring and Controlling Resources3.584
Thinking Creatively3.543.22

Private Household Cooks Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being private household cooks according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Dependability4.75
Integrity4.71
Independence4.57
Attention to Detail4.54
Cooperation4.17
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