Quiz: Find Your Chef Archetype

In this quiz, you’ll find the inspiration to match your unique personality type with a profitable Private Chef Service:

  1. Meal prep services – the Crafter
  2. Dinner parties – the Entertainer 
  3. Catering- the Planner
  4. Cooking classes – the Teacher
  5. Retreats – the Facilitator

Trust me: you want to align your business model with your personality ASAP.

Creating a business model (your service) that is in alignment with who you really are gives you the permission to show up as your authentic self, daily. Frankly, it makes your life easier.

How often in the workplace do we get to do that? There is literally a career for every personality, style, dream, and craft out there. Wonder which Private Chef Service Style would suit you best?

In this blog, you will learn:
– Your Chef Archetype via a fun quiz designed to align your unique personality;
– How choosing a service based on your personality type prevents burnout while promoting longevity and business sustainability;
– Details of each Chef Archetype from Crafter to Entertainer;
– Details of each service style including pricing rates, service styles, and more;
– A peek into the world of each service type to help you learn more about what to look forward to or avoid for your personality type.

This info and the corresponding quiz will help you choose which service can offer sustainability of your energy output which largely determines your contentment in your career.
Contentment = Longevity. 

Many of you will see yourself in multiple areas- this is totally normal. The idea is that you picture yourself – literally close your eyes and envision yourself – concentrating your efforts on each service and feel if you would be content doing this day after day.

This should come as a relief to allow yourself to invest in predominantly one area sprinkled with special occasions of others for fun, should you choose to!

That being said, if you are starting out, you will want to try each service type a few times before deciding which to build a business around. Not doing so would be like having experience playing basketball but thinking you want to play professional baseball and signing up for draft before you’ve played. Makes zero sense, right? 

What happens if I do NOT monetize my strengths and instead leave my business open for all services?

  • You’ll connect with no one because you’re trying to reach everyone.

  • You won’t be seen as an expert.

  • You’ll waste irreplaceable time, energy, and prospective income.

  • You may show up inauthentically.

  • You’ll confuse the heck out of people.

  • You’ll have inconsistent schedules and income.

  • You may not build rewarding long-term relationships and accounts.

  • You’ll have too many administrative systems, contracts, and websites.

  • When someone asks what your specialty is, you will literally not have an answer.


Have the courage to live it, the confidence to grow it, and the tools to monetize it.

Below are the Chef Archetypes!

I encourage you to grab a hot tea, sit back, and read this in its entirety. Your quiz results are merely a starting place but your ever-changing dreams, personality, and lifestyle offer the roadmap.


You love being of service, healthy food, menu challenges, and helping people on their journey. You are continuously inspired by the varying cuisines you get to cook. You are a self-starter, creative, and compassionate. You are empathetic but have clear boundaries to stay on track. You craft beautiful offerings for grateful clients. You grow together as they get to expand their world when you learn new culinary skills. You enjoy your alone time but don’t mind your clients popping and out of the kitchen.

It’s quite the dream!

A picture containing food, vegetable, fresh, variety Description automatically generated

Best for personality types:
Introverts, Ambiverts, Meditators, Flexible, Task-oriented, Efficient, Prep Wizard, Caregiver

This position is best for chefs who want to truly be of service creating beautiful food but without needing the showmanship needed for cooking classes and dinner parties. However, if you are a full-time private chef in a private residence or for a company, you would be responsible for putting on these events. For weekly meal-prep, you get to choose your client base by forming a specific niche (targeted offerings) for a targeted demographic highlighting your passions, skills, and experience.

Chefs who love their alone time listening to podcasts and audiobooks will thrive in this environment. Meal-prep services require a lot of patience and compassion as you are crafting your menus around the dietary needs and preferences of your clients. Absolutely zero inflated ego is welcome here as this is the height of hospitality: cooking what the client wants to eat. This is not to say you do not get to cook what you want to or don’t have a say – I write the menus for my clients – but their needs and preferences are the base of your brainstorming. All of my coaching clients receive a free editable Client Preferences list to share with their clients.

When communicating, I challenge myself to say, “absolutely” where I would reactively say, “no” to something outside my comfort zone. Clients may also have a lot of feedback that seems negative, but it is not personal. You are not a mind reader, nor do you live in their mouth to know exactly how they like it without them telling you so it will take time to get into a flow. Try not to get offended when they don’t like your dishes. If it happens regularly, adjust as much as possible then assess if it is a good fit.

Where it takes place:
Client’s home or commercial kitchen for meal-delivery

Meal-prep services are performed in the client’s home, in a commercial or commissary kitchen owned or rented by you, or your home IF it has been approved by local authorities for commercial cooking. These laws vary from county to county and you must contact local resources to find out what you need to run legally. You must be clean, tidy, sanitary, and efficient but in a state of flow wherever you prepare this food as you are charging by the hour as a service versus selling a product per dish (more on this later).

Style: Causal

I spent years wearing spotless chef whites. To be frank, I’m over it. I just want to cook amazing food in a comfortable environment for busy people who want to eat it. The height of hospitality! So I wear a plain t-shirt, sturdy apron, black leggings, and comfortable nonslip shoes. Professionalism and cleanliness are communicated through our appearance, so I always have my hair up and back, shoes cleaned, and area tidy. For part-time meal prep, a chef coat may be too stuffy, but it is up to you. For full-time, it would be more professional, but this can be discussed with your employer.

A picture containing food, vegetable, fruit, different Description automatically generated

Pay range:
$35 – $100 per hour DOE; or salary $75k+

Perceived value: a customer’s own perception of a product or service’s merit or desirability to them, especially in comparison to a competitor’s product. Perceived value is measured by the price the public is willing to pay for a good or service.

Meal-prep is also the most consistent in income and scheduling which is why it works wonderfully for everyone but especially for those who suffer from anxiety surrounding financial insecurity and inconsistent schedules (who doesn’t?). Compensation is hourly or salaried and ranges from $35 (little experience or new chef) to $100 per hour (experienced, high-profile chef with nutrition experience) or salaried. I charge $79 per hour as I have over a decade of restaurant, management, and business ownership experience, and 2 nutrition certifications. Salaried positions are paid weekly or monthly. If salaried, be sure to divide your average hours worked by your salary to determine if you reach your desired hourly. As usual, make sure you have an ironclad contract to protect your business and personal boundaries. Don’t have one? Email me ASAP

Hourly pay allows for transparency for invoicing, taxes, and quality control. I do not recommend charging per dish, per head, or a flat fee for meal-prepping. You are offering a service – not a product – and your rate per hour is a direct reflection of your expertise. This position is relatively recession-proof if your clients are able to afford you during times of financial instability. In all transparency, I lost 2 clients during the pandemic. One was instructed to limit contact to immediate family only due to being immunocompromised, and the other didn’t mind cooking from home while she worked part-time. My other two clients were still extremely busy and needed my services even more. Luckily, my compensation was more than enough on these two to continue to live comfortably and put away towards savings as usual.

Time investment:
Full-time or part-time

You may work part-time (1 – 5 days per week) for multiple families or full-time (4+ days per week) for one family. Personally, I have  4 regular (recurring) weekly clients at a 4-hour minimum per service day. If my clients request only 1 or 2 dishes that week, they get invoiced the minimum 4 hours. For some clients, I cook 8 hours straight. Each family will require a different time investment. Working more than 8 hours per day for a client? Consider offering 2 days per week so food is fresh and you maintain work-life balance. Your client agreement (contract) will detail the hours you are available per day.

Average guest interaction:
Low – High

Depending on your employment status, your schedule, and their confidentiality – you may have little to extensive interaction with the clients.  They may be working from home, in-and-out during the day, retired, etc. Most of my clients are in-and-out but sometimes they sit and chat with me in the kitchen. Before the pandemic, I rarely saw my clients. If I need to focus on a more complicated menu or have time restraints, I’ll pop in my ear buds and let them know I’m listening. This keeps the chit chat to a minimum. If they want to chat or vent about something extensively, I kindly warn them this will extend my cooking time. Most continue as money is not an issue for them and they enjoy the company.

Pleasantries are expected, but there is no need on your part to divulge personal information or elaborate on details unless asked and you feel comfortable to share. I am coming up on the 2-year mark for some of my clients and they treat me like family. This closeness is a bonus to the opportunity to be of service.

If the kids are running in and out of the kitchen all day, this becomes a safety issue. In the beginning, you can express their safety is your priority and it is best if kids stay out of the kitchen. You do not want to be liable for injuries involving the hot stove and oven, heavy equipment, wet floor, etc. during your time in their home.

A picture containing food, plate, bowl, container Description automatically generated

Top Pro:
Consistency in pay and schedule

The most appealing aspect of meal-prep services other than no employees to manage is the consistent pay and schedule. I have a different client on the same day per week. We have a wonderful system going with a schedule for communication, menu editing, service, and invoicing. This allows me to plan my life easily around my work schedule. Most clients are flexible on their day if I have a special event or am traveling. Because I now have a waitlist of clients, my clients actually pay a retaining fee if they travel longer than 7 days to hold their weekly schedule with me. This and more is detailed in their signed client agreement.

Top Con:
Boundaries can be easily crossed

Without ironclad contract to detail what your services do and don’t offer, personal and business boundaries, and release of liability, your clients could rightfully ask you to come in any day at any time to cook anything for anyone. This leaves you vulnerable legally and energetically burned out. Even with these agreements in place, you may have to refer to them often with some clients. Your safety and happiness are your priorities, and you never want to find yourself in an unsavory position that could have been avoided from the beginning. You should never stay in a position just for the money if you your physical or mental health is at risk.

Reach out to me to get introduced ASAP to our Food & Wellness lawyer and get you covered.


You love showmanship, artistry, craft, engagement, the ‘wow’ factor, the beauty of a perfectly set table, and frankly, being adorned! You find it fun to put on an event each night: managing kitchen and service staff, interacting with guests, possible cooking demos, discussing the specialty products, working with premier ingredients, and more! This takes a significant amount of energy but you gather that during your flow of service. 

A picture containing table, plate, food, indoor Description automatically generated

Best for personality types:
Extroverts, Outgoing, Enthusiastic, Great under pressure, Easy-going, Efficient, Director, Boss

Work well under pressure? How about while 8 people at any given time stand around to watch what you are doing and ask questions like, “so what’s your favorite thing to cook?” and you’re trying to keep your assistant on track? Great! You’ll love dinner parties. Dinner parties are the usual go-to service after leaving the industry. You may have cooked dinner for hundreds every night- why not keep doing that?  These take a lot of planning and organization beforehand as well as people management, creative ability, sourcing, people skills, and complex problem solving (you get locked out of the client’s house and dinner is in 2 hours). To create memorable experiences, guests will absolutely want your semi-regular interaction. You will also need to employ a lot of patience during the planning and execution process as the client is also the host playing their part as well.

Your food is the star of the show, and you are the director.

Where it takes place:
Client’s home, private property, public property, event space

I have done dinner parties everywhere from the client’s home to a beach, mountain top, boat, open field, and a governor’s ballroom ranging from 2 to 100 people. If you do not have employees just yet, you’ll want to network with some amazing event planners to help with details such as design and rentals of tables, linens, glassware, etc.

Causal – Formal

This varies greatly depending on the client’s event. You may be preparing a simple 3-course dinner for two in their home, an engagement party for family, or a black-tie event with a multi-course tasting menu for 20 for a charity fundraiser. This style is part of your niche. Personally, I did dinner parties under 20 so I could more easily manage the amount of product, equipment, and staff; and I enjoyed the intimacy of smaller crowds. Sizes over 20 guests plated individually were forwarded to a catering friend who paid me a 10% referral fee for the business. You don’t always have to do the big jobs to benefit from them. Think outside the box.

Pay range:
$100+ per head or a flat fee

I offered a base of 3-course menus at $125 per head with a minimum of 4 guests; $175 per head for 5-course tasting menu with a minimum of 4 guests; a flat fee of $500 for parties of 2 to make it worth my time; and upcharges for specialty product like truffles, wagyu beef, etc. Family-style service started at $100 with a minimum of 5 guests or $500.  These prices include food but not alcohol, applicable tax, servers, kitchen assistants over parties of 6, special equipment, and service charge of 15% (most guests added additional tip). Your exact rates would be determined on the food cost of the chosen menu, but this is a good place to start. This pricing offers transparency which is related as honesty and integrity. You are also able to charge a non-refundable deposit to hold their date. My coaching clients receive a free editable catering contract to use right away.

I know some chefs that charge per hour, but I have seen even the wealthiest of clients with sticker shock – learning when it is too late to contest – that their chef took apparently 12 hours to shop and prepare their dinner for 4 at $100 per hour. Needless to say, they were not called again. I have also seen chefs charge a flat fee plus a per head to meet their minimum comfortably. For example, $350 plus $35 per head. This isn’t terrible but again, zero transparency that equates your pricing to expertise and quality of ingredients.

Perceived value: a customer’s own perception of a product or service’s merit or desirability to them, especially in comparison to a competitor’s product. Perceived value is measured by the price the public is willing to pay for a good or service.

Time investment:

Dinner parties are part time as you would prepare singular events multiple times per week or month.

Average guest interaction:
Medium – High

You are a pro multi-tasker. You can chat with guests while you chop, cook, plate, clear a table, and write “happy 40th birthday, Brad!” in chocolate on a cake. Constant communication. Even more so when you have employees/independent contractors assisting.

A book on a table Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Top Pro:
The Show

Chefs who love preparing dinner parties love putting on a show for people. They’re outgoing, thrive under pressure, and can sustain the multi-tasking.

Top Con:
Inconsistent Pay AND SCHEDULE.

Dinner parties were arguably the first nonessential thing people cancelled in 2020. For sustainability, it isn’t my recommendation but for fun, excitement, intermittent large checks, and creative freedom, it is a winner.

Food for thought:
Plenty of chefs offer dinner parties but are exhausted from the energy output. There is a difference there that will determine your longevity. Most chefs transitioning from restaurants gravitate towards dinner parties because they are the most similar in service style. But just because you’re great at it doesn’t mean you love it or have to do it!


You love orchestrating big events, managing people, and watching a well-planned project come to life. You have stamina and perseverance and are goal-oriented. You love to feed the masses, and the hum that comes from the event space. You love to watch what seems undoable, done, and getting rewarded handsomely in the meantime..

A table full of food Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Best for personality types:
Extroverts, Ambiverts, Outgoing, Good under pressure, Organized, Loves Management roles and problem solving

After dinner parties, this is the most popular avenue for restaurant chefs after their transition. Catering is best for Chefs that have previously owned a company, managed a kitchen, and/or has experience cooking for large groups. Handsome payouts and a booked schedule months in advance make it one of the easier careers to plan for life but is lower on the scale of recession-proof. While catering has the potential for large checks, you will need quite a bit of capital to start this venture to invest in equipment, accounting, transportation, commercial prep space, and staff.

There is also a lot of legality, liability, equipment, employee relations, management, long hours, and complications. You must be quick to resolve issues, a team motivator, a visual designer, creative in numerous environments, savvy business mind for accounting, and a great sleeper! 

The best service you can offer is the one that comes easily and happily to you.

Where it takes place:
Client’s home, private property, public property, event space, venue

Catering can be done pretty much anywhere that provides the ability to set up running water and electricity. This could mean an open field with generators! Set-ups vary greatly and you will need to be quite creative. Bear in mind all legality and permits when operating.

Causal – Formal

You may be preparing a laid-back backyard BBQ for 20 or a fancy wedding for 375. The style depends on your niche, abilities, and cashflow to invest in adequate equipment and staff.

Pay range:
$35+ per head minus costs

Events range from hors d’oeuvre platters for 20 to 5-course tasting menus for 200, and beyond. There is huge variability here. You get to sell preset menus or offer to design a custom menu if it works for your business. You may notice in all my advice I suggest setting a minimum time, dollar, or head count to compensate yourself and your staff well, and save for your future. You can offer tastings of your menus for a flat fee, which is common for weddings. Once you get a feel for what you love, you can niche down your service (specific offering highlighting your expertise). This may be large weddings and events, or magical backyard dinner parties featuring seasonal and local ingredients.

Time investment:
Part-time – Overtime

Catering events are part time as you would prepare singular events several times per week or month. If you have a large enough staff, you could have 2 or more events happening congruently. Always remember to divide your pay by your hours invested to get a true sense of your compensation.

Average guest interaction:
Low – High

During some events and their planning, you may be in a closed kitchen and interacting only with the event planner and employees or out in the banquet room surrounded by the 300 guests enjoying your food. This is best for extroverts or ambiverts that enjoy being social when they can expect it. The great thing about catering is you usually steer the ship giving clients 3 menus to choose from with little modifications so there is little back and forth initially other than emails and tastings. A few days leading up to the event will be busier for communication with the client or their planners with your urgency and punctuality a must.

A picture containing table, indoor, plate, flower Description automatically generated

Top Pro:

Let’s be honest, catering is about money and the gratification of pulling off a huge event. Oftentimes, caterers purchase acceptable ingredients and charge the most they can to result in the highest profit margin. A wedding buffet for 150 people at $65 per head and you pull that off with yourself, 3 cooks, and 3 servers? Yeah, you get it. Like dinner parties, you would charge a non-refundable deposit; and like all services, a thorough contract protects your time and investments.

Ideally, you partner with local farms and vendors to offer the highest quality ingredients you can while still compensating yourself and your staff well. 

Top Con:
Inconsistent Pay 

Like dinner parties, events and catering were the first things people cancelled in 2020. For sustainability, it isn’t my recommendation but for fun, excitement, and large checks, it is a winner.

Before the pandemic shutdowns (which reminded us that recessions are still VERY real), unforeseeable hiccups were the top con (imagine: arriving to an event space that you were told had power and running water and it, in fact, did not; or, for fun, your cook lost her wedding ring in the pasta that just got served to 300 people. You name it- it’s happened).


Well, aren’t you sweet as pie? You genuinely enjoy learning, sharing, and empowering others through food. You are fascinated by each ingredient and worldly cuisines and may even travel often for continued inspiration. You are a storyteller, able to paint a picture with your words. You are organized and impeccably clean. You are patient with the simplest of questions and understand the complexity of what you’re teaching from root to tip. You are the director, producer, and star of the show and comfortable with the attention.

A picture containing person, table, indoor, people Description automatically generated

Best for personality types:
Extrovert, Ambivert, Designers, Leaders, Life-long student, Storytellers, Great memory, Logical, Goal-oriented, Compassionate, Actor

Being a teacher of cooking methodologies requires the utmost multi-tasking of talking while cooking (to which I recommend saving their Q&A until after the dish is finished). It requires memorization and scripting, and efficiency to stay the course during variable situations like cooking times and the unexpected. There may be investment involved if you do not already own a quality camera and lighting set-up. You will also need to be excited or at least able to engage deeply with what you are presenting. A cooking class can seem like a drama or play so you must act the part.

Where it takes place:
Client’s home, private property, public property, online

Classes can be done pretty much anywhere that can set up running water and electricity. Classes can be done in-person, online (live or recorded), or through a product like an e-course, membership, or e-book. These are considered evergreen programs- make it once and sell it repeatedly. This is passive income!

Have a background in restaurant cooking and a bachelor’s degree or higher? You may be eligible to teach at a culinary school as a Chef Instructor.

A picture containing person, posing Description automatically generated

Causal – Formal

You set the stage during your own recorded class at home or perhaps you are asked to join an event like a Health & Wellness Summit where they provide the topic, demographic, and stage (literally) to perform. As usual, depends on your niche! While it is fun to step outside your comfort zone, you never need to feel obligated to show up if it feels inauthentic. 

If you choose to teach at a school, you will adhere to the dress code and language of the institution which may be full chef whites and hat.

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.
― Gail Godwin

Pay range:
$10+ per head

The history and methodologies of food are so extensive so teaching is a wonderful avenue to invest your efforts. During the pandemic, the online cooking industry exploded. I am happy to report these chefs did amazingly well for themselves even during an economically stressful time!

Pricing cooking classes is variable in the sense that you can have an entirely FREE class that is prerecorded to sell a client on a larger package, as a donation or for a nonprofit benefiting local youth, on social media, or as a freebie for signing up. You could also charge hundreds for each private in-person cooking class detailing an extensive process requested specifically by a guest. When charging, again, work with a minimum. If you want to be compensated a minimum $500 per class, you will need to sell in-person classes to three students at $175 or fifty $10 online classes. Sky’s the limit. For groups, I charged $150 per person (or a $500 minimum) for a 2-hour cooking class that ended in a full dinner party. 

Memberships are the new, consistent teaching platform. Students pay per month and receive a set number of themed cooking classes- a hybrid of live and pre-recorded.

Time investment:
Part-time or full-time

Working as an independent contractor, cooking classes are part time as you would prepare singular events multiple times per week or month. As an employed chef instructor, the position may be part-time or full-time.

Average guest interaction:
Medium – High

This may be obvious, but if you do in-person classes, you will have the most interaction with guests of any service. Prerecorded online classes have the least interaction and are best for introverts, those starting off to get used to the camera without the pressure of a live audience, and passive income (make once, sell repeatedly). However, a dynamic personality that keeps students intrigued will take some effort.

Many Food Network stars started out cooking classes for their friends and family. You never know how far you could go!

A picture containing food, table, indoor, vegetable Description automatically generated
Top Pro:
Creating memorable experiences

People seek cooking classes to learn, grow, or create memories with loved ones. These are all open minded opportunities to connect with others and become an integral part of their journey. A college kid learning how to make an amazing curry with leftover vegetables is life changing! Your biggest reward is helping people grow.

Top Con:
> Technical issues for online classes
> Inattentiveness for in-person classes

Goes without saying, there are a lot of devices and programs needed for online and recorded cooking classes: video, lighting, social media platforms, posting apps, emailing, and even newsletters to maintain interest and a student roster. I highly recommend having at least one person on your team to help troubleshoot issues in these areas – especially when they want to happen 5 minutes before you go live. You could offer industry trade for these services. Win/win!

For in-person classes, I find lack of interest and inattentiveness to be a buzzkill. Hopefully, you can ignore those guests as you know their disinterest is no reflection on the quality of your class. I once did a cooking class for a bachelorette party where the guests were celebrating a little *too* much during and couldn’t even finish the class. Because I have the policy of classes paid for in advance, I packed up and left- leaving the food in the fridge and the kitchen tidy. No sweat off my brow! I did my job and they had fun and amazing food waiting for them in the morning.


You love hosting, healing, inspiring, and nourishing those with a similar path as you. You enjoy creating an environment surrounding a collective purpose and vision. You are able to lead, manage, and guide, while having strong boundaries respecting time and set plans. Food is your medium of art and you view every moment as an opportunity to connect with others. You have bounds of energy and a lightness but can be the steady rock when a client may have their head in the clouds. You find calm in the midst of many moving parts. You seamlessly complete the circle of intention visualized by the retreat leader. You love traveling and are quick to find resources to fulfil your project in an area you may not be familiar with. Retreat chefs are quick problem solvers and seen as the smooth operator. 

A table full of food Description automatically generated with low confidence

Best for personality types:
Extroverts, Ambiverts, Artists, Creative, Soulful, Spiritual, Open-minded, Project-oriented, Empath

Retreats are essentially the equivalent of large dinner parties 3-times per day for 3 days or more. They are hosted by an expert in their field: a yoga teacher, wellness leader, health professional, etc. who facilitates an event that is an average 5 days. Depending on their schedule, you would most likely be in charge of producing breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for 8 or more guests surrounding a dietary template that is congruent with the dharma of their event. Planning may begin one year in advance, so it is important to set clear intentions for both parties with a contract and a nonrefundable deposit to hold their dates. Although your day begins early the next morning, you’re able to easily drift to sleep after cooking dinner and cleaning. Best for ‘dolphin’ sleepers: able to go to bed at 10pm and ready to cook again at 6am; and easy-going chefs able to ebb and flow with a variety of personalities that you will encounter during the retreat. Ideally, you are in the position to hire a staff of appropriate size to assist when needed. 

Where it takes place:
Client’s home, private property, public property, retreat space

Most retreats are held in spaces designed for retreats with numerous bedrooms or dormitory sleeping and common spaces. They can be held literally anywhere in the world from Patagonia to Iceland to Thailand; for any subject from plant medicine journeys to yoga immersions to family reunions. Living in an area common for retreats makes you an obvious choice for facilitating the leader’s event. Hawaii, California, Costa Rica, Thailand, Nicaragua, and India are all popular retreat destinations dense with event spaces.


Most retreats are very casual. The whole premise of them is to create a nurturing, relaxing, and vulnerable yet safe environment for the guests to explore their mind and body. You are to carry on this vibe while in the kitchen and on the premises.

A picture containing plate, food, dish Description automatically generated
Photo by Tiffany Thomas

Pay range:
$60+ per guest per day

Most retreats are billed per guest per day plus tax and service charge. This covers 3 meals per day plus light snacks. Most retreat chefs, myself included, charge $60 per guest per day for vegan, and $65 for omnivore diet (adding animal products). You could hire one or more cooks and servers to assist depending on the size and type of event. This spreads out the tasks to complete without draining yourself in the process. You may choose to require a minimum number of guests to cover costs easily and compensate yourself and the staff well. Many chefs decrease the cost per guest as the guest list increases for fairness. For example, my minimum was 10 guests and I discounted the cost per guest over 20 to $50 and $55 respectfully.

Time investment:

Retreats are part time as you would prepare singular events multiple times per month or year.

Average guest interaction:

I have never done a retreat where I did not interact with every guest of the retreat at least once per day. You will be cooking in the kitchen of the retreat center that is usually the hub and the heart of the event space. Unless you work for a retreat center with a closed kitchen (like Goddess Gardens in Cahuita, Costa Rica where I did my yoga teacher training), expect to have regular interruption of one or more guests throughout the day. Patience, clear boundaries, and genuine pleasantries are key to a seamless retreat.

Retreat chefs are quick problem solvers – the smooth operator.

Top Pro:
Rewarding Connections

Because retreats attract people of like-mindedness from around the globe, you will meet an endless number of interesting and interested guests. In fact, the last retreat I cooked for on Maui was coincidentally a group from where I was moving to. They loved my food so much many of them requested my cooking for when I arrived at my new home. Thanks, universe! My business had no lapse in services.

Top Con:
Disorganization of retreat leader

Just like every other service, facilitating a retreat takes patience, compassion, and clear communication. These events are often planned far in advance. Leaders must secure their space before marketing it, and to know how much of their budget they must spend on the space depends on the food cost, so they’ll most likely reach out to you first. Being so far in advance – 9 to 18 months – there will undoubtedly be changed to guest list size and needs. This is all normal. But it is up to you and your ironclad contract to set the non-negotiables to avoid changes in times, dates, dietary needs, guest lists, and access to the space during the event. Flow like water but carve the canyon, my friend.

A person holding a basket of fruits Description automatically generated
Photo by Kao Saephanh

Alignment creates sustainability. Contentment ensures longevity. 

I hope you now have a good idea of who and what it takes to embody each of these service offerings to best support your uniqueness. I highly recommend trying each at least 3 times so you have a better sense of how you flow within each. Some feel natural and some you may find yourself not looking forward to. Always listen to your intuition. Anxiousness around beginning with a new client or questioning your abilities are totally normal- we call this imposter syndrome. But drudging through your day and not feeling better once you’ve started working or after the event has concluded is a red flag. At the end of the day, you want to feel spiritually content but exerted enough to sleep well. That feeling of being physically tired but emotionally fulfilled.

Sore muscles but a full heart. Yeah. That feeling.

 Happy Cooking xo Chef Tif

Related Articles

Tiffany Thomas


Turn your love of cooking into your freedom plan.

Featured Post

Receive 1 Nutritionist-created recipe delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning!

Membership Features:
✅ For professional chefs and home cooks
✅ No fancy cooking experience necessary
✅ Varying Worldly Cuisines
✅ Gluten-free
✅ Budget-friendly
✅ Optimized for nutrient-density
✅ Easily-procured ingredients
✅ Options for most dietary templates
✅ View, download or print

Enjoy these extra perks:
✅ Complimentary weekly newsletter with the latest nutritional research, product discounts, and more
✅ Access your membership account anytime, anywhere, and from any device for past recipes, product discounts, and newsletters
✅ Email Support
✅ Be the first to hear about discounts on services and added membership perks


$3.99 per month or $47 paid annually, renewed every 12 months.

That's less than $4 per month for a total of 52 new healthy, exclusive recipes every year!

Get an extra FREE Instant download of our most popular recipe when you sign up!