How to hire a private chef for your next dinner party

Have you ever been out on the town with a loved one, soaking up the atmosphere and immersing yourself within the diverse dishes of the world? While home cooking can be just what you need on a cold, rainy afternoon – if you’re hosting a dinner party, you may wish for food that’s a little fancier than your famous chicken soup. Chucking some snags on the barbeque and popping open a few bottles of wine may not compare to the exquisitely prepared, cooked, and served meals you were fortunate enough to taste in the culturally rich city of Melbourne, for example.

Luckily for you, there may be an answer to your dinner party cooking dilemma—hire a private chef for your event. The latter may sound like a pipedream at first, as it sounds too good to be true to have a professional chef with an award-winning restaurant and/or hotel background to strip you of your stress and offer you and your guests a memorable culinary experience. This is, however, very possible.

Reasons to hire a private chef

There are various reasons as to why individuals and families would choose to hire a private chef for their gathering rather than rely on questionable home cooking or sub-par takeaway food. You may, for example, despise cooking and wouldn’t only love to fob it off to someone else, but to someone with an exceptional experience, top-tier customer service, and meals of the highest quality, such as Melbourne’s At Your Table.

Other reasons may include:

  • Custom-tailored menu: This can aid in avoiding allergic reactions and/or picky guests.
  • Perfect for special occasions: If your cooking doesn’t cut it or you’re hosting a party for a larger number of guests, passing the cream-filled baton over to a professional will not only ease your hosting nerves but also ensure that the desired meals are prepared with extra care and detail.
  • Additional privacy: If you and your friends are after a delectable meal but also a certain level of privacy that a noisy, crowded restaurant simply can’t offer you, hiring a private chef will allow you to choose your own, more intimate setting while also enjoying their highly praised food.
  • Affordable: Hiring a private chef can actually turn out cheaper than dining out – especially if you choose to serve your own handcrafted cocktails rather than buying them.
  • Higher standards: Melbourne is known for its multiculturalism, especially when it comes to food. Honouring said cultures and techniques are crucial if you want to impress your guests and meet their expectations—a task that a private chef will no doubt achieve.
  • More time to spend with your guests: You won’t be stuck, slaving away in the kitchen and missing out on the fun.
  • Kid-friendly: Children under a certain age aren’t always the most well-mannered in fine dining situations. Hiring babysitters or calling on your parents to watch the kids while you’re can be a hassle as well. Bringing a private chef into your home, however, can offer you the best of both worlds—a beautiful meal and peace of mind knowing that your children are comfortable and within ear-shot in your home.
  • Variety: When you’re out at a restaurant with your family, you may be inclined to order the same chicken parmigiana you always get or decide to stay home and cook your mum her favourite birthday risotto. Mixing it up once in a while, however, can prove more exciting than your fall-back dishes. Private chefs will open your eyes and tastebuds to dishes that you wouldn’t otherwise be tempted to try and/or be able to cook yourselves.
  • Convenience: Traffic jams and zero parking spaces can definitely put a downer on your night. Dining in can, therefore, save you the inconvenience of eating out.
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Reasons to hire a private chef

How does the process work?

You may think that the process of hiring a private chef is complex, but in reality, the steps are quite simple.

  1. Choose event type and location

The initial stages revolve predominantly around deciding upon what type of event you’re hosting—a formal anniversary dinner, a picnic, or a weekend getaway—and also the number of guests attending. Creating a solid vision of the style of event you’d like to achieve is key in order to choose a chef accordingly.

Fortunately for you, private catering services are available for a variety of events and occasions that include the following characteristics:

  • Small and intimate
  • Large
  • Formal
  • Informal
  • Outdoor
  • Indoor

If you’re wondering about the location, At Your Table, in particular, are able to travel to most destinations within Melbourne city or 50K outside of the city’s centre, to appease your dining needs. Location does, however, determine overall pricing, which will be explored further below.

  1. Pick a cuisine

Choosing a cuisine can be one of the most exciting parts of hiring a private chef. If you’ve had a hankering for Asian food, for example, but haven’t the slightest idea how to create said dishes, a professional chef who specialises within that cuisine sure will.

Depending on the catering service, the cuisines available may vary. If, however, you’re based in Melbourne, the options should be widespread and include the following:

  • Japanese
  • Asian
  • Fusion
  • Mediterranean
  • Modern Australian
  • Classic French
  • Gourmet
  • Ethnic

It’s also wise to solidify your dining desires with the number of courses you’d prefer as well as the level of variety offered.

  1. Select the perfect chef

Once you have an idea of the type of meals you’re after, it’s time to select a chef. This is typically done by firstly checking which chefs are within the appropriate travel distance of your location and then completing the following steps:

  • Reading customer reviews: Like any company, it’s wise to seek advice and guidance from past clientele in order to determine whether or not you’ll get your money’s worth. Reviews within the private chef catering field will usually be specific to certain chefs rather than the business as a whole. This will allow you better insight into the chef you have your eyes on.
  • Looking at sample menus: Viewing not only a list of the courses offered but also accompanying photographs will no doubt set your tastebuds tingling and stomachs rumbling. It will also give you a better understanding of what to expect and what you may wish to be included in your own custom menu.
  • Reading chef biographies: Gaining a solid overview of your chosen chef is also wise. You may think that their food looks appealing, but reading about their additional training, qualifications, and characteristics may set them apart from the crowd.
  1. Finalise

The last step is to call/contact the company to finalise your dining experience. This is also a great chance for you to ask any questions you may have and/or offer any last-minute details about your guests’ preferences or desired dishes.

Other considerations may include:

  • Cost: Depending upon the company, chef, location, number of guests, and courses, the overall price will vary. Packages can, however, start at around AUD$89 per head.
  • Clean up: You may be excited to have a professional chef cook for you, however, cringe at the thought of cleaning up. Fortunately for you, as a part of most private chef packages, the clearing and washing up are completely covered as well. You can, therefore, kick your feet up at the end of the meal and not worry about any dirty dishes lurking in the sink.

Final thoughts

Hiring a private chef for your next dinner party may be the answer to your stressed-out calls for assistance. Not only will it allow you to spend more quality time with your guests, but you can also sit back and enjoy the meticulously prepared food from top-tier chefs that you’d otherwise struggle to create yourself.


  1. “8 Reasons to hire a Personal Chef for your next Dinner Party”, Source: 
  2. “7 Reasons Why People Are Hiring a Private Chef For Their Next Dinner Party”, Source: 
  3. “How to Hire a Private Chef”, Source: 
Samantha Rigby
Samantha Rigby
Samantha is the head of content, lifestyle and entrepreneurial columnist for Best in Australia. She is also a contributor to Forbes and SH. Prior to joining the Best in Au, she was a reporter and business journalist for local newspapers.
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