This depends a bit on you and how excited you are to try new things. We suggest you put in a fairly general request (maybe just specify the cuisines you like e.g. Italian, anything specific you don’t e.g. shellfish, and some context e.g. its a birthday) and then see which proposal you like best. Once you have found a chef you like, feel free to work with them to adjust the menu (e.g.change the desert they proposed). You can message them through the platform to discuss this, and they just then need to update the proposal before you accept it.
Of course! Often customers will be inspired by a picture on our Inspirations page or see a profile they like. After you submit a meal request, you can specifically invite any chef on our platform to propose on your meal request by pressing the ‘invite’ button on their profile.
More than a week is recommend, especially for popular times like a Saturday night or if you want to book a in-demand chef. That being said, last minute ‘day before’ requests can often get picked up by chefs who decide to work last minute.
Generally, a reasonable number of chefs will respond the same day you post your request. Most customers make a decision after getting 2-4 proposals. The key is to make a decision fairly quickly as otherwise there is a greater chance the chef has already accepted another job
There is no charge or commitment if you cancel a request before confirming a booking with a chef through our site
If you cancel after confirmation, there are cancellation charges - 30% of the meal price up until 3 weeks before the meal, 50% for cancellations made between 3 weeks and 48 hours before the meal, and a 100% charge for any cancellation made less than 48 hours before the meal booking time. These charges are to compensate chefs for lost work opportunities and ingredients purchased, and the platform for booking management.
If this needs to be done before a Chef has been booked, you can edit your request by clicking on the Edit button while viewing your Meal Request on our site. Any Chefs who have already submitted proposals will be automatically informed that they need to update their proposal.
If you need to change a booking after a Chef has been confirmed, then this needs to be done with the agreement of the chef. The chef has the right to propose a new price, which should be done through the platform. In general, customers are strongly advised not to make last minute changes as it is makes it harder for the chef to deliver a great experience.
As a guest in your home, chefs are advised to take good care of your kitchen and belongings. Accidents can and do happen. Chefs should not be held responsible for accidental breakages like dropped dishes, however they should be held responsible for any deliberate breakages resulting from misuse. If there is a dispute, Table at Home can mediate upon request. All requests for this should be made within 12 hours of the Meal date and time.
The chef is responsible for cleaning up after preparing the meal, leaving the customer's kitchen in the same state as they found it. This means wiping down kitchen surfaces, putting pots and plates in the dishwasher. Sometimes customers prefer to wash certain delicate items themselves, or not have a dinner party interrupted with plate collection. You should discuss this with your chef.
The experience in your home should be all about the food. Table at Home collects payment from you on our site via credit card on the chefs behalf, and then organizes for the chef to be paid out. You do not, and should not, pay any monies directly to the chef. The agreed price is all inclusive of ingredients, tips, travel, etc.
No. Table at Home has an all inclusive pricing policy so as to make the in home experience as pleasant as possible. The price you paid on our site is the full price to you, no tips or extra payments are needed. Chefs cannot solicit any tips or extra payments. Lack of adherence to this will have the chef immediately removed from the platform.
The chefs that you book through Table at Home are independent private chefs - not catering companies.
The expectation is that they will use your kitchen and cooking equipment, and that you will provide suitable plates, cutlery, etc. for the meal. If you do require the chef to provide or organize these things, then that should be outlined in your request.
After you have confirmed a chef, they will contact you to get an understanding of what cooking and serving equipment you have, and if they need to bring any specialist cooking equipment.
Customer reviews really help chefs build their reputation on the platform, and of course give other customers a sense of what the chef is like.
The day after the meal you will be texted a link to provide a review. Click on this link, and you should be taken to a summary page for your booking (if you are logged on). Press the 'Review chef' button on this page to provide both a star rating and comment for the chef.
If you get stuck, click here for more detailed instrucutions.
Table at Home offers a feature called Group Pay, where a group of friends or colleagues can split the bill for a booking.
The person who submitted the request is required to first confirm the booking, at which time they will receive a 5 digit Order ID in their Meal Confirmation email.
- Share this 5 digit Order ID with the friends whom you want to split bill and have them go to our Group Pay page to provide their payment details. Both you and your friends will receive text confirmations for all confirmed payments
- The confirmed payments from your friends is deducted from the total order value. You pay the remainder (e.g. you confirm a meal for $600 and your friends confirm payments of $400 - you will then be charged just $200)
- All Group Pay bill splits need to be finalized 5 days before the meal
- Payments for all orders are processed the day before the meal
- Note - your friends do not need your username and login to use Group Pay. Just the 5 digit Order ID
Table at Home offers 2 ways to hire a Private Chef:
- Select and request a Set Menu offered by a Chef
- Request proposals from multiple chefs
For Set Menus; you can browse the Set Menus offered by Chefs in your city. Each Set Menu has a standard price per person and a minimum number of people for a booking. When you select a Set Menu you need to enter a date for the meal and the number of people, plus any explain any changes you may want. The Chef will then respond with a final proposal to confirm their availability and any price adjustments for changes. To confirm the booking you just need to Accept this proposal.
For Request Proposal bookings; you just need to enter a few key details like a date for the meal, your budget and any food preferences. Chefs near you will then compete for your business by submitting proposed menus with pricing. To confirm a chef, you just need to Accept the proposal you like.
Table at Home is a booking and communication platform that facilitates you finding and hiring a chef. When you confirm a Chef through our site, you are contracting directly with the Chef.
With this in mind, if you have a problem with the experience, in the first instance you should raise it directly with the chef at the time. If required, Table at Home can mediate. All requests for mediation need to be made within 12 hours of the event time or the Chef will be automatically paid out.
If in any way the food or experience provided by the Chef is not as agreed then you should raise it directly with your Chef at the time of the event. Remember, you are contracting directly with the Chef for the provision of Private Chef services.
If required, Table at Home can mediate any issues between Chef and Customer. All requests for mediation need to be made within 12 hours of the event time or the Chef will be automatically paid out and booking considered closed. You can reach Table at Home by either replying to one of our texts or emailing email@example.com
Customer Tips and Tricks
Tips for success choosing a great chef
Many of the top rated chefs get booked out in advance, so try put your request in at least a week in advance, especially for a special occasion. However, last minute requests can often get picked up by chefs who decide to work last minute, so don’t hesitate to try your luck on a Monday morning for that Tuesday night dinner date you have planned.
All chefs are encouraged to post photos of their work. Many have amazing photo portfolios that will make your mouth water. Check out the ‘food porn’ to get inspired on a food style for your next dinner party or find your dream chef.
Chefs are creatives at heart. We have found that you get the best results when you give them a fairly free rein to propose a menu. So tell them you want vegetarian or have a craving for lamb, but don’t give them your grandma’s risotto recipe. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask them to suggest another desert when you like the main they have proposed.
Who better to tell you what a chef is really like than a fellow customer. When trying to pick between 2 chefs, often the comments from other customers can help you work out who you want.
Hiring a Private Chef to come to your home and just cook for you is a very special experience. Remember Chefs needs to cover the cost of not only ingredients but also their time to go shopping, drive to your house, cook, serve and clean up.
By all means, work with Chefs to customize a menu to fit within your budget ... but please be respectful of the time and effort they will need to put in to your event when working with them on price.
Tips for successfully hosting a chef in your home
This will give them the canvas to create their magic. Plus, also remember to take them through where things are kept so they don’t have to ask during the meal.
Your Chef should organize a call with you after the booking is confirmed to align how you would like things to run. It is also a good idea to quickly go over what has been agreed when the Chef first arrives at your home.
Generally, it is expected that you will help the Chef carry some of the plates out to the table. Often people love to have the chef explain the dishes being served at the table or even be involved with the cooking. Some people want a dish served like a photo they saw. Whatever it is, the key is to talk about it beforehand so the Chef can successfully deliver the experience.
Your chef has put his or her creative heart into your meal. Don't put them in a position where they feel they can't succeed to their own standards.
This means no big sink of unwashed dishes or a stove that doesnt work. Set them up for success so that your meal is a success.
They are a guest in your home and sharing something special with you - their cooking. Be nice, offer them a welcome drink, and make it a special experience for both of you.
We have an agreed full price policy that aims to make pricing and payment clear and simple. Chefs are not allowed to accept additional payment (like tips) at the home.
Table at Home organizes payment on your behalf from the customer via credit card. We use a company called Braintree (part of Paypal) that charges your customers credit card then transfer the funds to you (minus our booking fee) through Venmo. Transfers generally take 2-5 business days from the date of the booking.
IMPORTANT - To ensure your Venmo account is set up correctly and payments go through smoothly, please make sure the email, full name and and date of birth you have on file with us is accurate.
Table at home charges a 15% booking fee for all jobs based off the price being charged to the customer. There is a minimum fee of $30.
Yes you can, but you need to just specify one price. For example, you could propose to cook either a roast lamb or baked fish for a dinner menu, however you need to propose the same price for both options (i.e. make just the one proposal with a single price).
Yes you can, and most Chefs do bring help for bookings when the party size is greater than 8 people. However, Table at Home has 2 conditions: (1) You must always be present and leading all meal experiences, and (2) You need to include the cost of any help in your proposed price (i.e. you cannot charge extra than your quoted price for help).
Customers need to make the first move after you have sent them a proposal. After a Customer has sent you a Message, you are able to respond and follow-up with them as often as you like.
We have this 'first move' rule so that Customers do not receive multiple solicitations from Chefs that they are not interested in.
Go to My Work, and click on the Edit button for the particular proposal. The Customer will be informed when you have updated your proposal.
Note - Only the Customer can change the date, party size or budget of their request. When a Customer edits a request that you have already proposed on, you will be informed via text that they have done this so that you can update your proposal.
You will receive a text message notification when a Customer requests one of your Set Menus. You should click on the link to see the date of the request, party size and any changes the customer may want.
If you are interested in the gig, you should submit a proposal to confirm your interest and the final price after any requested changes have been incorporated.
Once the customer has accepted this proposal, you will receive a final request to confirm the booking. You then have 2 hours to confirm the booking.
When a Customer Accepts your proposal through the site, you are sent a text message to either Confirm or Decline the job.
You have a 2 hour window to Confirm the job. If you do not confirm the job within this 2 hour window, the Customer is informed that you are no longer available / interested, and the job is reopened for the Customer to select another Chefs proposal.
If for some reason you missed the 2 hour window but are still interested in the job, we suggest that you message the Customer immediately. If they have not yet chosen another Chef then you can ask them to re-accept your proposal on the site. You will then be given another 2 hour window to Confirm the job.
Committing to cook for a customer is a serious commitment. Imagine if you were hosting 6 guests for dinner, and at the last moment your chef cancelled. Our rules are that if you cancel more than 1 confirmed job in a 6 month period you will be removed from the platform. A no show results in immediate removal. Obviously, if there are exceptional circumstances like a serious accident or death of a family member, we will make exceptions.
If a customer cancels after a booking is confirmed, there are cancellation charges - 30% of the meal price up until 3 weeks before the meal, 50% for cancellations made between 3 weeks and 48 hours before the meal, and a 100% charge for any cancellation made less than 48 hours before the meal booking time.
You will receive the funds from any cancellation charges Table at Home is able to charge the Customer, less our 15% booking fee (based off the original booking total). This is to compensate you for lost work opportunities and ingredients purchased.
Any change needs to be mutually agreed between Chef and Customer.
If the agreed changes result in either a change in the price or date of the booking, the Chef MUST inform Table at Home so that billing can be updated. Table at Home will send a booking update text to the Customer to confirm the changes.
Punctuality is a serious reflection on your professionalism as a private chef, so try not to be late. If for some reason you are running late then first contact the customer to let them know. If you are unable to reach them via phone, text or email, then please let us know so we can try to help.
Accidents can and do happen. You should not be held responsible for accidental breakages like dropped dishes, however you should of course be held responsible for any deliberate breakages resulting from misuse. If there is a dispute, Table at Home will mediate.
Occasionally, a Customer will be unhappy with the experience provided by a Chef or the Chef will be unhappy with the situation the Customer has placed them in. As a first response, Customers and Chefs are instructed to raise any issue immediately with each other. It is in your best interest to proactively manage this with your Customers so as to manage your reputation.
In the event that any issues between Customer and Chef cannot be directly resolved, Table at Home can mediate upon request. All requests for mediation need to be made within 12 hours of the booking date and time, and as per our terms of service, the mediation decision of Table at Home is binding and final.
You are an independent contractor, and thus are responsible for any liabilities that accrue from the work you book through the Table at Home platform. Please make sure you safely operate within the law.
Customers Reviews are critical to your success on the platform. Both your average 5 star Review Score and Customers comments are displayed on your Profile and to Customers whenever you submit a proposal.
The day after a booking, your Customer is sent a link to provide a review of your services. It is also a good practice to gently remind your Customer to give you a review with a thank you text or email.
To give you a review, Customers either need to be click on the link in the text message we send them or log on to their booking on our site and click on the 'Review Chef' button.
If your customer is finding it hard to give you a review, we have instructions you can share with them at https://tableathome.com/2018/05/table-home-submit-review-chef/
Yes, is is your duty as an independent private chef to declare this income to the government. You can also generally declare the expenses you had in making this income (ingredients purchased, travel costs, etc.) as a tax deduction. So, save those receipts!
In addition - please note - gigs booked through the Table at Home platform are a direct contract between you (the chef) and the Customer. Table at Home does not collect or pay any taxes on your behalf.
No - you are not employed in any way by Table at Home. We act as a communication and booking platform for you to find gigs as Private Chef. Bookings made through the Table at Home platform are a direct contract between yourself (the chef) and the customer. Table at Home charges you a fee (our 15% booking fee) for providing the platform for you to find and manage these gigs.
Please note - Table at Home - as a communication and booking platform, does not collect or pay any taxes on your behalf.
All gigs booked through Table at Home are a direct contract between yourself (the Chef) and your Customer. As such, you are responsible for providing a receipt if the Customer requests it.
Chef Tips and Tricks
Top tips to get established
When you start and don't yet have any reviews, the #1 thing to give you the best chance of winning jobs is to get your proposals in quickly (within 1-4 hours after the job has been posted) and be one of the first 3 chefs to propose. You do not want to be the 4th or 5th chef to propose on a job, as if the first couple of chefs to propose have great customer reviews it will be harder to get your foot in the door. In addition, we always follow up with Customers straight after they have 2-3 proposals to try confirm the booking, so if you are one of the first 2-3 chefs you get the benefit of this follow-up. Given our site has functionality for you to copy and paste from old proposals as a base, you should be able to propose on the majority of jobs from your cell phone.
We have a whole set of tips for doing good proposals (see on this page), however 2 things are most critical: (1) a well written menu with mouth watering and succinct descriptions for each dish, written in a style similar to a high end restaurant menu, (2) attaching several good photos so people can visualize what their dinner will look like.
Remember, unlike a restaurant where people can look in the door and get a sense of the chefs style, the only thing customers have to go on is your proposal and profile.
Finally, make sure your proposal is specific and relevant to the customers request - no meat dishes for a vegetarian request 🙂
When you first start, it can take a bit of time to win your first few jobs when you don't yet have Customer Reviews. Remember, you are in general competing against 3-4 other chefs (so a 1 in 4 to 1 in 5 chance), and your odds are a little worse when you start (expect success every 1 in 10 times you propose). Given this, the best approach is to propose on as many jobs as possible when you start, to quickly win your first 3-4 jobs and get some good customer reviews. Chefs with great Customer Reviews have a MUCH higher rate of success, so the quicker you can build a reputation the better.
A strong profile is crucial for you to be able to win work on the platform. Until you have Customer Reviews, really only 2 things matter on your profile: Your 'About Me' and your photo portfolio.
Your About Me description on your profile is just as important as your photo portfolio, especially when you don't have many Customer Reviews. It does not need to be long (2-5 paragraphs is enough) but it does need to capture 3 things: (1) your experience, (2) your cooking style and passion, and (3) a sense of who you are as a person. Try to keep it conversational and friendly, and avoid as much as possible chef cliches like 'farm to table' 'seasonal', etc. unless it is truly core to your value proposition. You want to be memorable.
Make sure your photos have good light and the food is nicely presented. As the majority of requests we get are for dinner parties, nice shots of individual plates tend to do best. Please no shots of food in take out containers or types of foods people are unlikely to request with a private chef (e.g. burgers, fries, etc.). Have a looked some of the selected photos on our home page to see the style and quality that works best.
You have the option to add some Set Menus to your profile. It is a good idea to have 3-4 Set Menus on your profile to show what you can do for various price points and event types.
A good mix could be several Dinner Party menus, a Cooking Lesson and a Brunch or BBQ.
Top tips to do winning proposals
Give your menu a memorable and interesting title that makes the Customer want to click and learn more. Sometimes this can mean a title that relates to something specific mentioned in their request (e.g. “Girl last supper’ for a Bachelorette party) or a title that relates to the menu (e.g. Classic French Bistro for a French menu). Remember, the customers summary page for a Meal Request just shows the Title, Chef Name and Price for each proposal. If your proposal has a particularly bad title, the customer may not even click on it.
Write up the menu in a clear and attractive manner so that Customers can easily understand and imagine what you will cook them. Specifically 3 things help: (a) A concise name for each dish, (b) A description for each dish on a separate line underneath the name of the dish, and (c) Use a row space between dishes.
See 2 examples below:
Winter Citrus Salad
Tangerines, Grapefruit and Oranges tossed with a Sherry and Honey Vinaigrette
Pan Seared Diver Scallops over a Yukon Mash
Also - you may want to offer the customer several dish options for each course, and have them choose the one they like. You can do this, but need to have just the one price - similar to a fixed price menu in a restaurant. You could detail this as follows:
MAIN COURSE (choose 1)
Braised lamb shanks with winter vegetables
Seared scallops with Saffron Risotto
Crispy Skin Duck Breast over Dijon Mash and Buck Choy
Finally - put yourself in the customers shoes – if you expect people to spend $80 to $150 per head on a dinner, take the time and care to write up your menu nicely so that people can see the value.
Remember - unlike a restaurant where potential customers can look at what other diners are eating, in an online environment, customers rely on the description in your menus and the photos you provide. A higher level of description is required.
This section is open for you to give some more explanation to your menu or why they should choose you as their chef. Most successful chefs use this to introduce themselves with a short personal note covering who they are and why the customer should choose them. This could range from talking about your credentials to mentioning that one of the dishes is your specialty.
As a checklist, make sure your note covers 3 things:
(1) Introduces you, giving a brief sense of who you are as a chef, and guiding the customer to click on your profile to learn more and see what other customers have said about you in your reviews
(2) Gives your thinking behind the the menu you have proposed
(3) Mentions that you are open to changes and ideas, and that they can click on the message button to ask you any questions or discuss any changes.
Chefs set their own prices, at least within within the customers budget. Design a menu that you can profitably deliver within the budget. This does not necessarily mean you need to have the cheapest proposal – maybe you are offering a more upmarket experience. The most consistently successful chefs, price competitively on value rather than opportunity. Sure the opportunistic chef will snag the odd job, but this is more by fluke. Value always wins over the long term, especially when you take in to account Customer Reviews.
Photos help bring your proposal to life. It is very rare that a proposal without photos is selected by a Customer. You should always add 2-5 relevant photos to your proposal. Please make sure these photos meet our quality requirements (good lighting, food nicely plated, no writing) so that they are not flagged and the proposal suspended. Proposal photos are shared with the customer over multiple channels – site, email and text.
Top tips to deliver a great meal experience in a customer’s home
Everyone has their ideas on how the perfect meal should run. Avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings by having a alignment conversation with your Customers to agree things like who will bring the plates out, do they want you to describe each plate, and of course understand their kitchen setup.
We suggest that you have 3 key alignment conversations with a Customer:
1. A quick telephone call straight after the Customer has made the booking through the site and contacts are exchanged (this is actually a Rule)
2. Several days before the meal to check that all is OK and no plans have changed
3. When you arrive at the Customers home to quickly go over what has been agreed and how you plan to run the experience
The most common underlying reason for a Chef delivering a experience deemed unsatisfactory by a Customer (and receiving a poor review) is a lack of pre-alignment. It is the Chefs responsibility to make sure this alignment occurs.
This is the first impression that you will make with your customer. Make it positive and turn up at their home at the agreed time. If you will be late, let them know. It’s basic good manners and professionalism.
You were chosen based on the menu you proposed, so stick to it unless you have organised changes with your customer. It is up to you to manage sourcing the ingredients, so be careful with certain in season foods that may not always be readily available.
No grumpy chefs please! Creating a good impression will go a long way to receiving a good review score and referral work.
Take care of your customers kitchen and equipment as if it was your own. You will not be held responsible for accidental breakages, but please no Greek plate throwing.
This is actually a rule. Payment is collected through tableathome.com so as to make the in-home experience as pleasant as possible. The price you quote needs to be the full price, including all ingredients, our fees, your travel costs, etc. You cannot ask the customer for any additional money, including tips. Lack of adherence to this will have you immediately removed from the platform.
You must clean up after you have cooked your meal, leaving the customer's kitchen in the same state as you found it. Remember, this is the last impression that customers will have of you, so make it a good one and don't ruin all your good work from earlier in the night.”
Tips to build your business
With countless well qualified and reviewed chefs on the platform, one of the best ways to be noticed is with great photos. Some may call it ‘food porn’, however you want to describe it, the enticing nature of mouth-watering pictures of food is hard to ignore.
At its core, the Table at Home experience is built on trust. One of the strongest pillars of that trust is customers trusting what other customers have to say about you. Customer reviews are a key criteria for selecting (or not selecting) a chef. Make sure that every customer gives you a review so you can build a robust profile!
You are able to have up to 7 Set Menus on your profile. Offer a range of Menus at different price points and for different events so as to capture as many opportunities as possible. For example offer both a lower end dinner party menu for $40-$60 per person, and a high end dinner party menu for $90-$150 per person.
Also - offer cooking related experiences such as pasta making or sushi rolling.
Just as in the restaurant world, the chefs on our platform that really stand out (and have work coming to them) have built a signature style. It starts with having a signature dish but can go so much farther. Build a consistent theme in your photo portfolio, showcase a signature menu, etc. It can take time to find something that resonates with customers, but when you do, your success is assured.
You cannot ask the customer for any additional money, including tips. Lack of adherence to this will have you immediately removed from the platform.
For most Customers, choosing a Private Chef solely through online interaction is a big deal. Often a quick re-assuring call from the Chef after the booking has been confirmed (and phone contacts exchanged) puts their mind at ease.
For this reason, it is a rule that Chefs reach out to Customers via telephone within 24 hours of a booking being confirmed. This call is a good time to learn about their kitchen setup, and align any last details to ensure expectations are aligned for a great meal experience.
If you cancel more than 1 job in a 6-month period you will be removed from the platform. If you are a no show, you are immediately removed.
You must inform us of any changes to a booking agreed between you and the Customer after the original booking confirmation. This includes both date and price changes. We will update the billing to reflect this and message a confirmation to the Customer.
It is up to you to manage sourcing the ingredients, so be careful with certain in season foods that may not always be readily available.
You also need to arrive at the customers home on time to serve the meal at the scheduled and agreed time.
We continue to invest a lot in building Table at Home as a active and fair marketplace for Chefs to find gigs to work as a Private Chef. We are protective of our baby 🙂
As a result, Chefs are not allowed to direct Customers off the Table at Home platform or complete bookings outside of the platform where Table at Home has provided the introduction.
- Chefs cannot reference their external websites or catering businesses or provide emails or phone numbers in their profile, proposals, set menus or messages
- Chefs cannot accept bookings or accept payments from customers outside of the platform where Table at Home has provided the introduction
Chefs who do not adhere to these rules will be removed from the platform.
You must handle ingredients and cook in a safe and hygienic manner that meets or exceeds local requirements. Above all else, don't let your reputation be ruined by poor standards.
Remember, this is the last impression that customers will have of you, so make it a good one and don't ruin all your good work from earlier in the night.
Table at Home is only interested in supporting chefs who actively propose on the opportunities we send them. Reflecting this, we require a minimum activity level of 5 proposals per month to stay on the platform.
PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTACTING US BELOW:
- All booking requests need to be done through our site by clicking on Request Meal. It takes less than a minute, and you will then get 2-5 proposals from our vetted chefs. Its free and there is no commitment, so why not give it a go!
- Want to get a idea of menus and pricing? Check out our How We Work page and also our Sample Menu page to get a sense of typical pricing and menus
- Want to know if we serve your area? Please enter your zip code on our registration page and will tell you / not let you proceed if you are not within our service area. As a high level guide, we only serve the following metro areas: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington D.C.
- Want to be a chef on our platform? Click here to find out more and apply
Anything else, feel free to message us below.
NOTE - We will not reply to messages that clearly relate to one of the 4 points above.
Thanks for your message! We’ll be in touch soon.