2nd Annual Million-Dollar Ideas

Personal Chef

Some of us are so busy, we need personal chefs. And some of us are so busy because we are personal chefs-like Raffaele Antonio Scullari, 26, who runs Chef Antonio's Kitchen Inc., a San Diego company that specializes in personal cooking and catering, with an emphasis on Southern Italian fare.

"I come into the house once a week and prepare the entire week's meals," explains Scullari, who has two part-time assistants-so far. He has been running his sun-drenched enterprise only since 1999, but he's certainly discovered a booming trend.

In 1992, the United States Personal Chef Association had 15 members; today, it's well over 3,000. Meanwhile, the 1,400-member American Personal Chef Association is adding 50 to 60 members a month. It can be profitable for the chef, yet reasonable for the consumer, depending on what tax bracket that consumer is in, and if you already eat out every night or so, 10 meals generally cost anywhere between $240 and $340.

Just 10 customers, and already your yearly income is doing quite nicely. In 2000, Scullari pulled in $105,000, and he expects $249,000 for 2002. Plus, the hours are kinder to the personal chef than they are to the caterer (good-bye, weekends) or restaurant owner (good-bye, nights and weekends). The only question that remains is, What do you do when you can afford your own personal chef? Hire yourself, or the competition?

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 2nd Annual Million-Dollar Ideas.

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