Head chefs/cooks are responsible for overseeing the quality of food as it leaves the kitchen. They must ensure that their kitchens meet the health standards set in place by governmental agencies. Additionally, they are responsible for making sure that other kitchen personnel follow food safety guidelines and meet hygiene standards. Head chefs/cooks must understand how kitchen equipment functions and ensure that it is operable and in safe working condition. Additionally, a head chef/cook often supervises the rest of the kitchen staff. Head chefs/cooks are typically responsible for ordering, inventorying, and keeping detailed records of food items and their costs. They must have experience creating menus that assist owners in attracting and maintaining clientele. They also may be responsible for setting menu prices.
Head chefs/cooks' work environments vary widely; some work in small kitchens with a small number of staff, while others may work in multi-kitchen operations supervising a large number of kitchen staff. This job is usually salaried and offers benefits. Compensation varies depending on restaurant style, location, and the head chef/cook's job experience. This job often requires chefs to work on weekends and/or holidays. Depending on the restaurant's hours, they may work either very early in the morning or very late into the evening.
To be a head chef/cook, individuals must have previous experience with ordering, preparing, and cooking food in a professional setting and with managing a kitchen. Head chefs/cooks often possess either a culinary education obtained at a specialty school or years of experience working in kitchens. These individuals must have a high energy level, as the job demands that they spent a lot of time on their feet. This job also requires strong communication skills and the ability to solve problems quickly in high-pressure situations.
Head Chef/Cook Tasks
- Train employees in cooking methods, plate presentations, portions, and cost control.
- Manage kitchen operation including food purchases and preparation, record keeping, quality standards, and sanitation.