Chef job description

Summary

The top team in any restaurant, whether independent or hotel-based, is the combination of chefs, a job which depends largely on patience, endurance and a good measure of skill. To get to the top requires experience, stamina and creativity, but can be achieved with dedication. The role varies from hotel and general restaurant chefs to the renowned specialist chef, whose reputation is such that customers regard it as a privilege to eat in his restaurant.
Day-to-day tasks include arranging daily menus according to the availability of ingredients and sourcing the fresh ingredients at good prices as well as preparing the daily dishes along with the rest of the team. Long hours are part of the job, as are stressful busy periods, especially in the evenings. Most chefs will have trained at a vocational training college and worked their way up from a basic level, gaining further certification as they progress. Initially, two to four years vocational training plus some experience is required for the position. A chef in a pub restaurant can expect earnings of £30,000 per annum, with salaries rising to the heights for the top talents.

Description

Handling the preparation of food or meals is the responsibility of a Chef. These professionals may be in charge of several or dozens of workers such as waiters, cooks, washers and other service staff. They are sometimes referred to as kitchen managers, executive chefs or 'maitre de cuisine'. Chefs are usually promoted from lower positions, namely trainee chef, or kitchen assistant.
There are several types of chefs. They include Commis Chef, Section Chef, Sous Chef, Head Chef and Executive Head Chef. The higher your position, the more you are paid and the more responsibilities you have. Work hours are demanding, as Chefs may start very early and be the last ones to leave in the nights. As the holidays and public holidays are their most hectic times, they are expected to work then too.
Chefs do not just work in restaurant or hotels. They work in any setting or industry that requires them to prepare food for people. This includes hospitals, canteens, schools, offices, universities, or bars. Some may specialise in the preparation of vegetables, desserts, pastry, sauces, sea food or other meals.
A Chef usually performs many of the following tasks:
• Preparing meals
• Training staff
• Ordering supplies
• Planning menus
• Managing kitchen budget
• Enforcing health and safety regulations
• Preserving food quality
• Recruiting new staff

Skills

• Leadership
• Time management
• Being assertive
• Being creative and progressive
• Maintaining quality and hygiene
• Oral and written communication
• Teamwork and team management
• Multitasking
• Being professional
• Organization and administration
• Food preparation and presentation
• Managing budgets
• Stress management

Education

Due to the practical nature of a Chef's job, many opt to learn from working on the job. However employers of high end restaurants or hotels expect their Chefs to have studied for their qualifications but having excellent skills is the winning factor. There are several qualifications that are accepted. These include:
•    City & Guilds
•    EDI
•    BTEC
•    GCSE
•    SQA
•    NVQ/SVQ
•    HNC/HND
•    ASET
These qualifications may be in all the respective food preparation areas such as Catering Principles, Hospitality, Hospitality Management, Professional Cookery, Culinary Arts Management, Food Processing and Cooking, International Cuisine, Hospitality Supervision, Pastry or Baking. Some professionals choose to be apprentices and learn from experienced chefs directly.

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