What Are the Job Duties of a Chef?

What Are the Job Duties of a Chef?

Oct 1, 2014 | 10:00 am

When considering a career in the culinary arts field, it is important to understand the chef job duties in a variety of settings. A chef’s job duties vary quite a bit, depending on experience level, title, work environment, and specialty area. A pastry chef will have a completely different set of chef job duties than that of an executive chef. In addition, a chef working as a caterer or personal chef will have a different set of responsibilities than an executive chef in a fast-paced kitchen. So, what are the job duties of chefs in a typical workday?

Line Cook Duties

Entry-level chef job duties are generally handed to line cooks to complete. Line cooks are the heart of any good kitchen and the duties they perform make it possible for executive and sous chefs to focus on more important issues. Line cook duties include things like setting up stations, collecting and preparing ingredients for service, supplying sauces and garnishes, closing the kitchen after service, and cleaning the kitchen area to meet sanitary standards.

Sous Chef Job Duties

Sous chef job duties include planning and directing food preparation, supervising line cooks and other kitchen staff, training and scheduling, expediting, and quality control before and during service. A sous chef is the right arm of the chef in charge (executive chef). When an executive chef is unavailable, all of the responsibility of running a kitchen falls on the shoulders of a sous chef. Even with the executive chef present, a lot is expected of a sous chef and both an exceptional executive chef and competent sous chef pilot all great kitchens.

Pastry Chef Job Duties

Pastry chefs are the dessert gurus of the culinary world. While a lot of food critics and culinary snobs see pastry chefs as something a little less than an executive chef or sous chef that simply isn’t true. Pastry chefs have to be twice as precise and talented as their savory counterparts in order to produce quality desserts service after service. Pastry chef job duties include planning and execution of the dessert menu, creating new dessert recipes, working with inventory and ingredient management, training other staff members, and coordinating with the executive and sous chefs to create a cohesive menu.

Executive Chef Job Duties

The executive chef in any kitchen is the boss. Executive chef job duties include supervision of kitchen staff, scheduling, budgeting, inventory management, training and instruction of less experienced staff, and monitoring sanitary practices in the kitchen. Working as an executive chef is stressful and it takes a high level of commitment and dedication to succeed in such a high-pressure role. However, an executive chef often brings home a nice salary and has earned the respect of his or her culinary peers. Of course, it takes some time to become an executive chef and only those with a fierce determination to be the best chef possible should embark on the path to becoming an executive chef.