Written by Shirley Parker

USPCA is one of the solidly established personal chef networks. It was founded in 1991 by David and Susan MacKay and has grown to the point where more than 5,500 personal chef businesses incorporate the MacKay's approach to running those businesses. The MacKays' own personal chef business had been founded in 1987 in San Diego, California. Not all innovative ideas come out of California but many do, and creating a support system for personal chefs was one of the best.

USPCA (or the United States Personal Chef Association) publishes Personal Chef magazine in collaboration with the Canadian Personal Chef Association and the Australian Personal Chef Association. Members contribute articles, photographs, recipes, hints, and more, and attend conferences from an increasing number of places around the globe. A sample online issue is available on the website.

If a personal chef is operating a business far from peers, the opportunity to meet with others at a USPCA conference creates friendships, opens up great new ideas, and helps with knotty problems. There's nothing like talking late into the night, then crawling out of bed at dawn, so as not to miss special presentations the next day. If another person can register for the conference with you, they can attend other educational sessions that might conflict with a "have-to." And there's usually lots of literature to bring back home.

Other Benefits of USPCA Membership

Access to a solid liability insurance policy brings peace of mind for those rare occasions when something does go wrong when cooking for a client in their home. The forums and course work, the good prices on menu software and cookware are all indispensable for serious personal chefs. Those just dipping their toes in the water will welcome the security of a safety net when panic suddenly hits over an event that has shape-shifted into something entirely different.