Chef Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Chef, or Chief Cook, is a trained professional who has high proficiency in all food preparation aspects and often focuses on a particular cuisine. Their duties involve overseeing a restaurant’s kitchen, planning the menu, and maintaining the budget.

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What does a Chef do?

A Chef is responsible for the preparation of food that a restaurant serves. They are assigned different tasks based on their skill level. For instance, an Executive Chef would be tasked with overseeing the kitchen staff and creating the menu. A Sous Chef, on the other hand, would be responsible for ensuring that all kitchen equipment is functional. A good Chef will prepare unique dishes that will make your restaurant an outstanding one. An ideal Chef candidate should understand the roles that are specific to your business level.

Chef duties and responsibilities

A Chef collaborates with other members of the kitchen staff to effectively run a kitchen. They should be experts at maintaining kitchen equipment and ensuring food quality. Other responsibilities and duties of a good Chef include:

  • Establishing staff and production schedules to ensure there is sufficient help throughout and to enable timely delivery of food items
  • Determining when there is a need for additional help to maintain satisfactory service
  • Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring staff, including cooks and kitchen employees when there is a need
  • Inspecting work areas, supplies, ingredients, and cooking equipment to ensure constant conformance to regulatory standards
  • Meeting with clients as may be necessary to negotiate prices and arrange menu items for banquets, weddings, and other special occasions
  • Analyzing recipes and making menu changes when necessary to minimize overhead costs while still keeping customers happy
  • Coordinating all food budgeting, purchasing, and planning operations with other members of the staff
  • Monitoring and overseeing sanitation practices to ensure that employees strictly adhere to the standards and regulations of cleanliness

Chef skills and qualifications

The most important skill for a Chef is the ability to use various recipes and strictly follow a menu plan in the preparation of food daily. They require many other skills and qualifications as well, including:

  • Ability to use common kitchen tools, including ranges, graters, and cutlery
  • Knowledge of the standards and regulations for food preparation
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Understanding of quality control, raw materials, and other techniques for the effective creation and distribution of food products
  • Knowledge of food-related training techniques and curriculum
  • Understanding of different culinary techniques and profiles and a desire to learn new techniques and flavours
  • Ability to work neatly, efficiently, and safely
  • Ability to follow instructions without variations

Chef experience requirements

A Chef should typically have five years of work experience. However, depending on the educational background of the Chef and the type of experience they have, some exceptions may be made. A Chef primarily gains real-world experience through junior level roles or Cook positions. It is advisable to have the Chef work with the senior members of the culinary team to enable them to acquaint themselves with skills that are related to your establishment.

Chef education and training requirements

Before entering a workforce, a Chef should have at least a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts or its equivalent. Having advanced knowledge of pastry techniques, baking, and varied culinary styles is an added advantage.

Chef salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Chef is $19.68 per hour. The pay rate may vary depending on the geographical location and the education and experience of the Chef.

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Chef job description FAQs

What are the examples of job specifications that you may consider adding to your Chef position advert?

When advertising for the position of a Chef, consider adding job specifications that are specific to your establishment. These may include proven creativity in recipe creation and menu planning, an associate degree in a culinary field, experience in hiring and training Sous Chefs among other kitchen staff, and the ability to multitask and work efficiently in a fast-paced environment.

What is the difference between a Sous Chef and an Executive Chef?

A Sous Chef is also known as Assistant Chef. They create dishes for the menu and manage a staff of kitchen staff, Cooks and Assistant Chefs. An Executive Chef, also known as a Chef de Cuisine, is a professional pinnacle. Their scope of responsibility includes overseeing menu creation and managing personnel, food cost, and payroll.

What is a Roast Chef?

A Roast Chef, or Rotisserie, is primarily in charge of preparing any braised or roasted meat on the menu, including veal and steaks. They may also arrange deliveries from other retailers or get meat from local suppliers. Their style of cooking is focused on simmering the meats to hold in as much flavour as possible.

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