This question can strike fear into the heart of many a personal chef, for the simple reason that it can seem very daunting if you’ve never done one before. I did quite a few when I was first starting out – when you’re new, why turn down any job involving food and someone paying you? I’ve been too busy with regular personal chef clients to do many parties the last couple of years, but I’m hoping to change that soon. Parties can definitely add to your revenue stream, and they can also provide a creative break from regularity of recurring PC work. Small dinner parties can be lots of fun; with 6 or 8 or 10 people you really have a chance to do something special and personal. Appetizer parties tend to be more profitable, since they involve a lot of manual labor and lots of itty bitty little individual bites of food.
My favorite type of event, and one that became one of my specialties, are Wine or Scotch Tastings – matching heavy apps with different wines or single malts. Lots of fun! I work with the staff at my local wine & spirits shop; they provide an expert host for the evening to talk through the selections; I provide the food. Talk to your local wine shop to see if they’d be interested in partnering with you – in my experience, they love these kinds of things, because they can sell the booze. See if you can leave brochures or rack cards in the store too, and make sure they know to mention you when customers come in to talk about wine for a party but don’t have someone lined up to supply the food yet. I’ve gotten a lot of business this way.
Here are a couple photos from a wine tasting I did; didn’t get photos of most of the food unfortunately, just one of one of the tables ready for platters, and one of the “dessert course” (Cheesecake Lollipops dipped in Ghiradelli chocolate) after it had been slightly manhandled by guests. It was paired with a sweet dessert wine.
Chefchick Says: There is no way to answer “How much does (a party) cost?” until you set the menu! Ask them how much per person they would feel comfortable spending, draft a sample menu that fits that price range, and go from there.