Cooking for others doesn't have to mean working long hours in a restaurant if you choose private chef jobs instead. While you'll need either culinary training or years of restaurant cooking experience, making the move to private cook jobs can significantly reduce your stress levels.
While some job listings use the two terms interchangeably, there's a major difference between the two for most people within the private cooking industry. Personal chefs or cooks tend to visit once to twice a week, prepare meals that are ready to heat and eat, and charge for that service at a set rate. Private chefs often work full time for one client or family, cooking everything from an early breakfast to a late dinner. Listings for home chef jobs could mean either of the two arrangements or a different sort of employment altogether. It's essential to read the specific requirements and expectations of each job listing regardless of which term it uses.
With no specific restaurant or professional cooking experience, you'll likely need to undergo training at a culinary school before qualifying for more personal cook jobs. However, this varies based on the individual or company hiring you. Some only require a few years of professional cooking experience. Expect to have at least five years of experience or a degree from a culinary school before seeking out personal chef jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, private cooks and chefs earned slightly less than their restaurant-employed counterparts in 2017. Private cooks had a median income of around $38,000, while head chefs at restaurants earned around $45,000 annually. However, keep in mind that many private cooks only work a few days a week for that salary, and there's no management of other employees involved.
Making the change from working as a restaurant chef to becoming a private chef can take a few weeks or months of searching for the right position. Don't quit your current job until you've found the right private cook jobs for you.