Sous chef literally means under the chef, and this person is an assistant to the head chef. As second in command, the sous chef will oversee the kitchen when the head chef isn’t there, make sure that food is prepared correctly, and train the staff in new cooking skills. The sous chef serves as a liaison between the head chef and the rest of the kitchen staff.
You can start out with an entry level kitchen job, such as a dishwasher, line cook, or prep cook and work your way up the ranks. Another route to this career is to attend culinary school. The key is to gain the experience and knowledge needed to hold this position.
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Sous ChefsThe sous chef is always prepared to take over for the chef. In addition to preparing and cooking food, he or she needs to be familiar with the cooking style. The sous chef also oversees the kitchen staff, making their schedules and training them in cooking skills.
What they do
The sous chef is always prepared to take over for the chef. In addition to preparing and cooking food, he or she needs to be familiar with the cooking style. The sous chef also oversees the kitchen staff, making their schedules and training them in cooking skills.
Assist the Head Chef
One responsibility of the sous chef is to assist the head chef. He or she should be ready to take over in an emergency, so it is important to be familiar with the head chef’s cooking style. In addition, the sous chef helps the chef plan meals and makes sure that the kitchen has all of the necessary supplies for each dish being prepared.
The sous chef makes sure that the kitchen is fully stocked and staffed. Although the head chef is in charge of the kitchen, the sous chef is responsible for making sure that the head chef has everything he or she needs.
Hire and Train the Kitchen Staff
The sous chef also hires and trains the kitchen staff. He or she will provide guidance to all of the cooks and train them in skills for cooking, food preparation, and plating. The sous chef will check over each dish and make sure that it meets the standards of the head chef.
Essentially, the sous chef is the liaison between the head chef and the rest of the kitchen. The sous chef is responsible for making sure that everyone is working and has the skills to bring the creations of the head chef to life.
Organize and Stock the Kitchen
The sous chef is also responsible for making sure that the kitchen is organized and fully stocked. Once the menus are planned, it is up to the sous chef to make sure that the food is present. He or she will work with the restaurant manager to order supplies and food for the kitchen and then keep them organized.
Fill in When Head Chef Is Not Present
When the head chef is not present, the sous chef will take over as the head of the kitchen. He or she will be responsible for making sure that the menu items are prepared as they would be if the head chef were there. It is important that he or she knows what the head chef’s vision is so that there is no issue in taking over. The kitchen should run as if the head chef is present, and the customers should not notice anything different.
What is it like working as one
You gain valuable experience as second in command in the kitchen
As second in command, you will learn all of the skills you need to become the head chef one day.
You get to work in a clean and luxurious environment
Most of the time, a kitchen that needs a sous chef is going to be clean and have all of the latest gadgets. You will normally get to work in a nice kitchen with access to expensive equipment that makes cooking more pleasant.
You are in an environment where you can get recognition
If you want to be a head chef one day, being a sous chef puts you in a position to be noticed.
You can organize the kitchen how you want it
If you enjoy keeping the kitchen organized, you will get to do it in this position.
You might work long hours
During peak dining times, you might work long hours. There might be a large party that comes in. You will also likely work weekends and holidays, so you might miss spending time with your family.
You have a lot of responsibility and little recognition
As the assistant to the head chef, you will not always get the credit for all that you do. Not only do you assist the head chef, but you oversee the entire kitchen staff and inventory.
Where they work
Sous chefs can work anywhere that has a kitchen. Many sous chefs work in restaurants, but they can also work for catering companies, clubs, private organizations, or private families. They often work on weekends and holidays, and they can work late hours. They can work in any location, and they may work longer hours in a busy restaurant during peak times. Some sous chefs work in busy restaurants with a large staff, while others work in smaller private households.
How to become one
Step 1: Get an Entry Level Kitchen Position
You can enter this career by gaining experience in an entry level position in a kitchen. You might start out as a dishwasher, a line cook, or a prep cook. This will put you in a position to be considered when the sous chef position becomes available.
Step 2: Get a Degree
You can get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from a culinary school or community college. You will learn how to run a kitchen and develop valuable cooking skills. This is a great way to gain credentials and experience.
Step 3: Apply for a Sous Chef Job
Once you have experience or have gone to school to receive your degree, you can start applying for sous chef jobs. You can apply at restaurants, or you might know a head chef from school who can recommend you. Be sure to check with agencies if you are interested in a private job.
Should you become one
As a sous chef, you need to be quick-thinking and work well under pressure. You need to be able to adapt to changes because you are working under the head chef. You should have a good eye for detail, as the presentation of the meals is critical to this job. In addition, you should be organized and have great skills for managing the staff. Communication is critical, and you need to be able to delegate jobs to those working under you.