Copyright

Head Chef: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

A head chef is a highly skilled professional cook who oversees the operations of a restaurant or dining facility. Head chefs are responsible for the products that come out of a kitchen from conception to execution. They also have a hand in many of the food service business affairs of their restaurant.

View 3 Popular Schools »

Job Description of a Head Chef

A head chef, also sometimes known as a head cook, oversees many diverse aspects of a restaurant or eatery. They are employed at a number of food service establishments or facilities, including universities, hospitals, residential care centers and catering companies. They may also work as personal chefs. They manage and work closely with other cooks, create menu items and determine food inventory needs.

Additional Duties

A head chef is often involved in staffing of the kitchen, developing menu offerings, forecasting supply needs and estimating costs. They are expected to make sure the restaurant meets all regulations, including sanitary and safety guidelines.

Head chefs mostly work in the back-of-house. They take part in the creation of recipes and the preparation of advanced items, while assigning less complicated tasks to sous chefs and cooks. A primary duty is the continued efficiency of the kitchen and production of consistent, quality food. But duties also extend to front-of-house and operational issues, including accounting and scheduling. Head chefs may also be called to weigh in on patron complaints.

Because they are held accountable for the success and failure of a restaurant, head chefs need to work long hours to ensure that the restaurant is functioning properly at all times. They work nights, weekends and holidays.

Education and Training Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), most head chefs begin their careers as line cooks or food preparation workers and advance to higher positions with time and experience. On-the-job training is a major component of most kitchens.

Formal training in culinary arts is available through vocational schools, community colleges, culinary schools and university degree programs in hospitality. O*Net reports that 41% of chefs and head cooks have a high school diploma or some college, while 44% hold an associate's degree (www.online.onetcenter.org). Many programs include an apprenticeship or internship to accompany coursework.

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) accredits training programs throughout the country. It also offers a number certification programs that allow chefs to demonstrate abilities and knowledge in culinary arts. Certification can help head chefs gain advancement and salary increases.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012, chefs and head cooks earned an annual median salary of $42,480. In 2010, the BLS predicted very little job growth in this profession through 2020. Competition will be strong, and creative chefs and head cooks with experience and business skills will have the best employment prospects, the BLS noted.

Show me popular schools

Related to Head Chef: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Chef Rudi Eichler Talks About Baking and Teaching with Education-Portal.com

Chef Rudi Eichler is a pastry and baking professor at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), which has a top-rated culinary arts...

Top Rated Culinary School for Becoming a Chef - Norfolk, VA

Norfolk, VA, has few schools with culinary programs. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' program offerings,...

Chef Training: Top Rated Culinary Arts Program - Pittsburgh, PA

Students interested in studying culinary arts in Pittsburgh, PA, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top...

Cooking Classes: Top Ranked Chef Training School - Houston, TX

Few schools in the Houston area have top ranking cooking programs. Read on to find out more about what these top schools have...

Top Culinary School for Becoming a Pastry Chef - Santa Ana, CA

Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Psychology and Human Behavior
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Psychology and Human Behavior
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Math

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics