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Career and Education Opportunities for Personal Chefs in Portland, Maine

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for personal chefs in the Portland, Maine area. The national trend for personal chefs sees this job pool growing by about 4.3% over the next eight years. Personal chefs generally prepare meals in private homes.

The average wage in the general category of Cooking jobs is $12 per hour or $25,952 per year in Maine, and an average of $12 per hour or $24,401 per year nationwide. Personal chefs work in a variety of jobs, including: chef, certified personal chef, and cook.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can study to be a personal chef, among twenty-three schools of higher education total in the Portland area. Given that the most common education level for personal chefs is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time training to become a personal chef if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Personal Chef

In general, personal chefs prepare meals in private homes.

Personal chefs peel and cook vegetables and meats, and bake breads and pastries. They also formulate menus in line with employers' needs and diet restrictions. Equally important, personal chefs have to specialize in preparing fancy dishes and/or food for special diets. They are often called upon to develop and explore new cuisines. They are expected to travel with employers to vacation homes to furnish meal preparation at those locations. Finally, personal chefs ready meals in private homes in line with employers' recipes or tastes, handling all meals for the family and possibly for other household staff.

Every day, personal chefs are expected to be able to control objects and devices with precise control. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for personal chefs to stock, organize, and clean kitchens and cooking utensils. They are often called upon to direct the operation and organization of kitchens and all food-related efforts, including the presentation and serving of food. They also serve meals and snacks to employing families and their guests. They are sometimes expected to shop for or order food and kitchen supplies and equipment. Somewhat less frequently, personal chefs are also expected to formulate and ready food for parties and other social events.

And finally, they sometimes have to formulate menus in line with employers' needs and diet restrictions.

Like many other jobs, personal chefs must be able to work independently and make decisions on their own and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Portland include:

  • Chef. Direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. May participate in cooking.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Personal Chef Training

York County Community College - Wells, ME

York County Community College, 112 College Drive, Wells, ME 04090. York County Community College is a small college located in Wells, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,074 students. York County Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated one and four students respectively in 2008.

Southern Maine Community College - South Portland, ME

Southern Maine Community College, 2 Fort Road, South Portland, ME 04106-1698. Southern Maine Community College is a medium sized college located in South Portland, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 5,654 students and an admission rate of 68%. Southern Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has a one to two year program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated eleven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Personal Certified Executive Chef: A chef with advanced culinary skills and a minimum of six years of professional cooking experience with a minimum of two years as a personal chef.

For more information, see the American Culinary Federation, Inc. website.

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.