Learn about the roles, the salaries, the responsibilities and much more
Working in a professional kitchen can sometimes feel like a battle. At other times, it can be an elegant symphony. In certain kitchens, it can feel like both things at once. At the center of it all is one person commanding the troops or calmly conducting the orchestra with sweat dripping down their face.
Welcome to the life and career of a professional chef.
Every incredible meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant was prepared by a chef and a kitchen team who poured their heart and soul into the food on your plate.
Whenever Michelin-star winning chefs talk about the recipe for success in the culinary world, they all mention the same thing: passion. All great chefs have a contagious passion for food that spreads to their kitchen staff and the clientele they serve.
Top-quality chefs are always in demand. If you love being in the kitchen and are looking for a career that is full of possibilities, then keep reading to find out if becoming a chef is the right path for you.
What Does a Chef Do?
The head chef has many different responsibilities in a kitchen. They need to have a clear vision for the menu and be able to communicate those ideas to the sous chef and cooks in a simple way.
They also know every station in a kitchen like the back of their hand. This is because they’ve probably worked every kitchen job at some point in their career.
If a line-cook calls in sick at the last minute, they might need to cover their shift and work the grill. If the new prep-cook doesn’t know how to properly dice an onion, they have to pick up a knife and show them how it’s done.
But the job involves much more than working hard to prepare delicious meals. A chef needs strong leadership skills and must be able to calmly lead their back of house team during high pressure dinner services. And they are constantly thinking of creative ways to get the most out of their budget and turn a profit.
While the responsibilities of the role will differ depending on the environment you work in, they generally include:
- Setting shift schedules for the kitchen staff
- Keeping up-to-date with food the latest trends
- Creating new menu items
- Hitting business goals set by management
- Training new employees
- Ordering ingredients
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with vendors
What Skills/Experience Does a Chef Need?
While passion is the most important soft skill, to become a successful chef you will need extensive training and experience in a professional kitchen. The best chefs train for years to hone their skills and are always learning new techniques to remain at the top of their field.
Many start as a commis chef, where they chop vegetables and prepare sauces. They then move up to line cook and learn how to prepare every dish on the menu to perfection while working under pressure. If a line cook shows dedication and potential they will become a sous chef and work closely with the head chef to design the menu and lead the kitchen.
Formal training from a respected culinary school like this course from ALMA will teach you many of the basic skills and techniques you need to succeed in a professional kitchen. Hosco’s platform offers a range of courses to help you develop your chef skills and bolster your CV.
If you land an entry level position without a formal education, you can learn many of these skills on the job.
The Different Career Paths for a Chef
Once you add professional kitchen experience to your CV and work your way up to the role of head chef, the possibilities are endless.
Are you interested in perfecting the techniques for a specific type of cuisine? Search for jobs in restaurants that serve it. If you think that you would be a good business owner, you could try to find financial support and open your own restaurant. You could even launch a food truck if you have a great culinary concept but don’t have the budget to open a full service dining experience.
If a high-pressure work environment isn’t your speed, you could always become a private chef. Although, the duties of a private chef are much different than in a restaurant. They often work alone and prepare meals for the same people every day while always taking the food preferences of their clients into consideration.
How Much Does a Chef Make?
The average salary for a chef varies depending on where you work. If you have professional kitchen experience on your CV, you should earn a higher salary.
According to Salary Explorer, the average salaries are:
● €48,500 in the United States ($57,500)
● €51,100 in the United Kingdom ($60,600)
● €32,600 in United Arab Emirates ($38,700)
● €30,200 in France ($35,800)
● €28,300 in Italy ($33,600)
● €22,500 in Spain ($26,700)
Becoming a professional chef means choosing a career full of excitement and opportunities. Now that you know all you need to know about the different career paths a chef can follow, why not upload your CV to Hosco and check out our open job offers in kitchens around the world.