There is always a demand for good cooks. The role of a cook is so valuable that, there is a saying in some countries that you should never argue with the cook because in the end, you’ll lose. While the power of a cooking position hopefully never extends to adding saliva to a hamburger, the ability to produce appetizing dishes is what marks the success of any food service establishment.
Cooks and chefs generally work together in planning a menu and in delivering food platters, but the chef oversees the production. In smaller restaurants, the chef manages the entire kitchen, while in others, they may have a specialized station.
There are several types of chef’s positions, such as sous chef, culinary chef, restaurant chef, or pastry chef, but they all perform similar functions. The chef is responsible for the efficiency of the kitchen. It’s their duty to ensure the kitchen is kept up to safety and food production standards. They give instructions to employees working directly under their supervision and seek to maintain good public relations.
Other Duties of the Chef
A chef’s job description requires a strong understanding of business management. The chef is responsible for ordering food products and supplies, for determining when cutlery, dishes, and pots and pans need replacing, and even for determining the portions of food that should go on each plate. The chef may also be responsible for the hiring and firing of employees.
In a small restaurant, the chef may also become involved with business promotions. Their job duties might involve social networking and, announcing the day’s specialty or an even coming up on the calendar. They might arrange special discounts for business luncheons, family dinners, or wedding affairs.
Their goal is to increase the economic aspects of the business while maintaining a professional atmosphere, sanitary conditions, and quality food service. It is the efficiency and productivity of the chef that creates a well-run kitchen. It’s the chef’s ability to consistently serve appetizing platters or dessert items that draws the public.
Expectations of a Chef’s Career
A chef’s job description can change according to the type of establishment. A bed and breakfast may want a graduate from culinary school to run all the basic duties of a cook and the duties of upper level management. You may be responsible for cooking meals, preparing a budget, supervising a small kitchen staff, and handling the promotion of the business.
If you are working for a major restaurant or a restaurant chain, your duties may center only aroundon the general job description for your station. If you are the executive chef, your management duties may be shared with the pastry chef. If you are a banquet chef, your specialization is in delivering meals to parties, conventions, and weddings that can have as many as two hundred or more guests. You must be able to prepare and serve meals within exact references to dates, time, and number of people.
A culinary degree will not immediately land you a job as a chef, as most chef positions require a great deal of experience as well, but it does train you in the requirements for management positions. It will also expose you to the many types of cooking techniques and broaden your overall expertise in food preparations. It will teach you safety, proper kitchen hygiene, and the more decorative aspects of the cooking experience.
As a chef, your career could begin modestly. It may begin in a little known restaurant, at a hunting lodge, or as one of several chefs in a high-end establishment. If you perform your chef duties well, your reputation will precede you. You could become the executive chef in a five- star restaurant, bringing home over $200,000 a year.