Whether you’re looking to hire a private chef at home, at your holiday stay, or at the office, it can be tricky to know how much to spend – especially if it’s something you haven’t done before.
Hiring a private chef isn’t something you’d do every week (well, unless your last name is Kardashian) so, when you do, you want it to be a little bit special. And understandably, you also don’t want it to break the bank.
There is a sweet spot for every occasion between ‘special’ and ‘splurge’ and just by having the answers to a few key questions, you can figure out a comfortable ballpark budget for your gathering (or gatharing, as we like to say).
Let’s start with some of the basics…
What type of event is it?
Whether it’s an intimate dinner for two, a multi course dinner for your favourite foodie friends, or a celebratory cocktail party, the type of ‘gatharing’ you’re hosting will help determine your budget for bringing on a personal chef.
Different types of events and your chosen venue means different guest lists and menu needs. If you’re planning on popping a certain question and want a dining experience to make the occasion extra memorable, you’re probably willing to spend at least $100+ per person, right?
If you’re looking for a private chef to do event catering for a networking shindig, on the other hand, you most likely want to keep that cost-per-head a lot lower (unless the boss has nice deep pockets – or great taste).
Speaking of catering, we have a whole bunch of amazing private chefs, caterers, and grazing stylists in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and 17 other locations across Australia who can turn any gatharing into something seriously special. But back to the matter at hand…
How many people will be there?
When we’re talking costs for private chefs or catering, we’re talking in price per person. That means the sooner you can get a confirmed number of guests the better it will be for budgeting. And unless you’re looking at catering for a sizable crowd, your price per person is not going to vary wildly.
Another important consideration: are you paying for all of it, or are you splitting the cost? At Gathar, we find most hosts are the generous type and foot the bill for their event, but we do offer a simple split payment function once you’ve submitted your booking enquiry.
Oh, and what about the little foodies? For most Gathar menus, it’s just an extra $25 per kiddo and our culinarians (our professional and home chefs) will work with you to make sure the menu is suitable for your mini gourmands.
Will there be any extra (expected or unexpected) costs?
There are plenty of standard added extras to give your private dining experience a little ‘wow’ factor: table styling, wine matching, canapes and palate cleansers… but there are other costs to keep in mind if you’re shopping around for private chef experiences.
This is a big one to watch out for as hidden costs can quickly blow out your budget.
At Gathar, our pricing model is totally transparent for that very reason. Our price per person covers everything including ingredients, travel and labour cost, GST, admin fees, and, of course, your chef cooking and serving, and cleaning up to leave your kitchen spotless at the end (the best inclusion of all).
Extra costs can also include equipment (do the chefs have everything they need at your home or venue of choice, or will they have to bring extra items with them?); crockery, cutlery, and glassware to serve (make sure you have enough for all guests); and drinks (matching wines is a common add-on for extra-special dinner parties).
What kind of menu do you have in mind?
Now we’re getting to the fun part! Your menu choice is the main determining factor in how much you will be forking out for your private chef experience; whether your funds allow for pork belly or butter-poached lobster, or maybe both (can we come too?)
Whether you have three, four, or seven courses in mind, your chef’s focus is always going to be on making sure they create amazing food using the best seasonal ingredients. That’s what they live for!
Consider your cuisine carefully. Simple, delicious Italian food like handmade pasta with a slow-cooked ragu and white chocolate panna cotta are light on ingredients cost but still deliver big on flavour. On the other end of the scale, a Modern Australian menu focusing on our famously fresh seafood may set you back a bit more.
Don’t forget dietary restrictions, too. While this shouldn’t change your costs, it’s important to consider upfront so your chef can adjust the menu and make sure your gluten-, dairy-, or meat-free friends don’t miss out on the deliciousness.
Okay, so what’s my budget?
When it comes to private chef experiences – and as cliche as this may sound – you really do get what you pay for, and we definitely recommend coming prepared with a budget in mind so you can see what your spend gets you.
Our curated menus at Gathar roughly fall into the three groups below:
Starter | $80 – $100pp
Our ‘entry level’ private chef experiences start from around $80 per person and usually include simple ingredients cooked well, often served share-style.
Think of it like going to your favourite neighbourhood restaurant: a cut above home cooking but without all the bells and whistles of a fine dining affair.
In this tier you’re looking at around three courses, with one Gathar culinarian cooking and serving using your own equipment and serveware to keep costs down.
Savour | $110 – $130pp
Kicking things up a notch, here you’re going to start to see more high-end ingredients used to create a top quality food experience. Think: seafood or more premium cuts of steak, with longer prep time and more involved cooking techniques.
Starting from around $110 per person, you can expect a more elevated shared experience or three-to-four-course menu for a small group of guests.
One of our most popular private chef menus in this range is Modern Oz Favourites (our Sydney chefs, in particular, love this one), while our Savouring Italy menu gives you an amazing Roman dining experience beyond the standard antipasti.
Signature | $140pp+
Level up! Our top tier of menus starting from $140 per person is comparable to a special night out at a fine dining restaurant – but with no time limit on your table and no need for driving and parking, or Uber-ing.
At this price point you can expect multiple courses (check out our five-course Night of Decadence menu for a good example), or fewer courses with add-ons such as amuse bouche, canapes, or oysters.
Our private dining experiences in this range often see a highly trained chef using premium ingredients and well-honed techniques (some of our Melbourne chefs come to mind here), who are accompanied by a food server.
This luxe level of dining can also include adding interactive elements to your gatharing, such as caviar tasting of expert wine matching, like our Dinner Party + Matching Wines menu. Or you could just go for all-out indulgence with our For Love & Lobster Dinner for Two, because why not?