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What’s the Difference Between A Personal Chef and A Caterer?

Hi friends, 


Chef Ken Boucher from Aspen Catering Company here. I’ve been a professional in the food business for decades and my love for creating dishes started even before that. After having worked in restaurants in and around Aspen for many years, I made the move over to private chef in the year 2000 and what a fulfilling ride it’s been so far. Based in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado, I’ve helped people from A-listers to my next door neighbor experience gourmet meals in intimate and large event settings. I’ve taught the finer points of making fresh pasta, prepared more Beef Wellingtons than I can count and even catered a birthday meal for a 100 year old!


If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a personal chef and a caterer, let me tell you:

Personal Chef vs. Caterer

In general, a personal chef is an individual (like me) who comes to your home and prepares a meal for an event or party. Personal chefs can also give direct cooking classes at your home or a different venue. In simple terms, a personal chef brings the restaurant to you. 


I provide personal chef services throughout Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley by working out the meal plan you want, sourcing the ingredients, preparing the meal, cooking the meal and cleaning up everything afterwards. Almost sounds too good to be true, right? While you can use a personal chef for something like a big dinner party, you can also call on my services just for a cozy night in or to make a family night extra special.


A caterer is someone, or usually more than one person, who can prepare meals for much larger events such as weddings, corporate and charity events, graduations etc. Usually the meals for these events are prepared off-site and brought to the venue with just some heating or minimal prepwork to do. As a larger operation, catering companies also usually provide service staff to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the occasion. Aspen Catering Company should be your go-to for large events in the Roaring Fork Valley. Check out some of my sample menusfor ideas about your next event!


OK, I know I’ve used the term “private chef” and “personal chef” somewhat interchangeably but do they mean the same thing or not? Let’s find out.


Personal Chef vs. Private Chef

We’ve gone over the definition of a personal chef already so let’s see what the technical definition of a private chef is.


While a personal chef can prepare meals for a household, a private chef is someone who does this more regularly for a smaller number of clients, more like they are an employee of one family or household. A private chef will spend time setting up meal plans for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the coming week and take care of all the grocery shopping and meal prep. 


So basically:

•  If you are a busy individual or family looking for someone to take care of your meals, that’s a private chef. 

• If you need someone to cook a restaurant quality meal at your home for you or a small number of people, that’s a personal chef. 

• If you require meals or a buffet for a large number of people, you probably need a caterer. If you’re in Aspen or the Roaring Fork Valley, may I suggest Aspen Catering Company?


Even though the terms “private chef” and “personal chef” do technically refer to slightly different roles, you can call me either as I’m more than up to the task and happy to help out in whatever way I can! 


If you need to hire a chef for a dinner party in Aspen, find a caterer for your big anniversary party or are looking for a chef to cook your meals while you’re on vacation in the Roaring Fork Valley, please get in touch with Aspen Catering Company.


Have a great week,


Chef Ken

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