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Private Household Cook Career

Career Description

Private Household Cooks prepare meals in private homes.

Common Work Tasks

  • Plan and prepare meals in private homes according to the client’s tastes or dietary needs
  • Order groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen,  and wash dishes and utensils
  • Prepare a week’s worth of meals in the client’s home for the client to heat and serve according to directions throughout the week
  • Peel, wash, trim, and cook vegetables and meats,  and bake breads and pastries
  • Specialize in preparing fancy dishes and/or food for special diets
  • Create and explore new cuisines
  • Direct the operation and organization of kitchens and all food-related activities, including the presentation and serving of food
  • Plan and prepare food for parties, holiday meals, luncheons, special functions, and other social events
  • Serve meals and snacks to employing families and their guests
  • Travel with employers to vacation homes to provide meal preparation at those locations

Other Job Titles

Private Household Cooks are also known by other titles,  including:

  • Cooks
  • Waiters and Waitresses
  • Personal Chefs
  • Servers

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  Most private household cooks require little education or training to start because most skills are learned on the job. Training generally starts with basic sanitation and workplace safety and continues with instruction on food handling,  preparation, and cooking procedures. Training in food handling, sanitation, and health and safety procedures are mandatory in most jurisdictions for all workers. Those who become proficient and who show an interest in learning complicated cooking techniques may advance to more demanding cooking positions or into supervisory positions.

      Private household cooks must be efficient, quick, and work well as part of a team. Manual dexterity is helpful for cutting, chopping, and plating. These workers also need creativity and a keen sense of taste and smell. Personal cleanliness is essential because most States require health certificates indicating that workers are free from communicable diseases. Knowledge of a foreign language can be an asset because it may improve communication with other restaurant staff, vendors, and the restaurant’s clientele.


The median annual salary for a Private Household Cook is $24,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $48,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $15,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of private household cooks are:

  • Rooming and Boarding Houses- $23,850
  • Religious Organizations - $23,310
  • Lessors of Real Estate - $20,710

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  11%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 43,000
  • Employment 2006 : 401,000
  • Employment 2016:  445,000
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