Name: Sheryl Gorsuch, 52
Salary: It varies. Roughly $1,000 a week.
Position: Certified Personal Chef and owner of The Season’s Fare (703-231-7550)
What She Does: Gorsuch puts a different spin on the term “home-cooked food.” The personal chef prepares an agreed-upon number of customized dishes for her clients in their kitchens and then stows the meals in the fridge and freezer with reheating instructions. All the client needs to do is fire up the grill and heat the meal.
Most of her clients are “busy professionals who appreciate good food and want to eat healthy,” she says. Many are new parents — she is often hired as a baby shower gift.
Gorsuch creates personalized, seasonal menus based on her clients’ time restrictions and dietary needs. She meets with new clients to learn whether they are vegetarians or diabetics, have a food allergy, or love any particular foods.
She likes to cook with fresh ingredients and loves international flavors. “Right now, I’m exploring Mediterranean and Spanish cuisines,” Gorsuch says.
How She Got the Job: Gorsuch waitressed to pay for college, where she studied liberal arts. After graduating, she stayed in the restaurant business and worked her way up to become general manager at a series of restaurants including Philips Seafood, 700 Waterside Grill and Ardeo.
Gorsuch learned more than just management skills: “Whenever I hired new chefs, I made them teach me everything they knew,” she says.
In search of a more family-friendly career, Gorsuch decided to start her own business. She turned to the United States Personal Chef Association for guidance and completed a self-study course.
Who Would Want This Job? Being a personal chef offers a flexible schedule with control over your calendar. Gorsuch’s career gives her the ability to better manage her time and get involved in her community and her kids’ lives.
Gorsuch likes the fact that cooking for people makes her feel like she’s giving something back. “Being a personal chef is hard work and you won’t get rich off of it,” she says, “but if you love to cook and to help people, it’s a good job.”
How You Can Get This Job: You don’t need culinary training to become a personal chef. “A business background helps and a cooking background helps,” Gorsuch says, “but if you have one or the other, I think you could be successful.”
Such organizations as the USPCA or the American Personal and Private Chef Association are great resources for new and seasoned (pardon the pun) personal chefs. Memberships can include training and certification. Those associations also generate client leads for members, but Gorsuch says she finds the majority of new clients through her contacts in the community.