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Career and Education Opportunities for Personal Chefs in Alexandria, Virginia

If you want to be a personal chef, the Alexandria, Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. 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 $13 per hour or $26,135 per year in Virginia, and an average of $12 per hour or $24,401 per year nationwide. Personal chefs work in a variety of jobs, including: certified personal chef, cooking chef, and private chef.

There are eighty-four schools of higher education in the Alexandria area, including three within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree to start your career as a personal chef. Personal chefs usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be 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 Alexandria 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.
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • 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

Stratford University - Falls Church, VA

Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated two and eight students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of Washington - Arlington, VA

The Art Institute of Washington, 1820 N Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209-1802. The Art Institute of Washington is a small school located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,871 students and an admission rate of 56%. The Art Institute of Washington has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated thirteen and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

L'Academie de Cuisine - Gaithersburg, MD

L'Academie de Cuisine, 16006 Industrial Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-1414. L'Academie de Cuisine is a small school located in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 53 students and an admission rate of 83%. L'Academie de Cuisine has a two to four year program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated seventy-four 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: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.