Many cooks come to the realization very early in their careers that there is no predetermined path through the ranks of a kitchen.
While some line cooks advance their careers by moving laterally from one restaurant to another, others make rapid progress within the same company, moving from line cook to lead cook to sous chef in a relatively short amount of time.
Many people who are studying to become chefs have their sights set on reaching the highest level of the profession, which is known as executive chef.
It is an exciting objective to have the possibility of expressing your creativity while working in the kitchen, in addition to the possibility of earning more money.
In the end, the position of executive chef is one of leadership. They are accountable for the management of the overall kitchen operations, as well as the oversight of a team of other chefs, the creation of new menus, and the instruction of kitchen workers.
Although the road may appear to be winding, most executive chefs share a number of experiences and skills in common, despite the fact that the path may appear to be twisting.
As you advance in your profession as a chef, you can put yourself in a position to be successful by polishing these characteristics and keeping these accomplishments in the forefront of your mind.
How do you grow into an executive chef?
Aspiring executive chefs have a number of different options available to them to get them to their destination. There are many different degrees of academic achievement that are required for professional training in culinary arts and pastry arts.
The most fundamental accomplishments are diplomas and certificates, both of which are granted upon completion of academic programs that last just one year.
These accomplishments are ideal for positions that require little to no experience. An Associate’s Degree is the next level up, and it may be earned in just two years through a program that provides a more in-depth degree of instruction as well as practical experience in business administration.
A bachelor’s degree is offered to students who have successfully completed a four-year curriculum that not only offers a more in-depth education in the culinary arts but also expands on other aspects of running a business, such as cost-analysis and budgeting.
A master’s degree is the final and most advanced level of education. This degree can either concentrate on a particular business field or move into further advanced training for chefs. Both options are available.
It is recommended, but not needed, that you earn a Bachelor’s Degree in addition to gaining some relevant work experience in the industry if your ultimate objective is to work your way up to the position of Executive Chef.
The combination of these two will qualify you for managerial positions in kitchens as well as more advanced hospitality responsibilities.
It is important not to become disheartened if you are unable to obtain the position of Executive Chef immediately after obtaining your Bachelor’s Degree because it will take more than just a degree to get there.
Nevertheless, getting this degree or one that is quite close to it is likely to get the ball rolling for your professional life. It is common practice for persons to advance from the post of Sous Chef to the position of Executive Chef.
What exactly is it that an executive chef is responsible for?
An executive chef is the person in charge of the kitchen, both in terms of the duties that are assigned to the personnel and the food that is produced there.
An executive chef might run the kitchen of a modest restaurant with only a handful of staff members, or the kitchen of a huge industrial facility with a large number of assistant chefs, chefs, and other staff members.
To be a successful executive chef, you need to be able to solve problems while also coming up with delicious menu options.
The following is a list of the specific duties that the majority of executive chefs are responsible for:
putting together restaurant menus and deciding how much each item should cost.
purchasing goods from many sellers, including food and supplies.
Taking measures to ensure that the kitchen is clean and that personnel adhere to all of the health code standards.
Recruiting, instructing, and overseeing employees working in the kitchen.
Maintaining current knowledge of emerging trends in the hospitality business and creating innovative approaches to cooking are two important goals.
Taking part in the preparation of food and coming up with new dishes.
What characteristics make an excellent executive chef?
To be successful as an executive chef, it is beneficial to have the following qualities:
- A strong interest in the kitchen.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required.
- Multitasking and time-management skills.
- Attention to details.
Earning Potential for an Executive Chef
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that chefs and head cooks make a median annual income of $53,380 in its 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics report.
The wage range was quite broad, ranging from $30,300 or less for the 10 percent with the lowest earnings to $90,790 per year or more for the 10 percent with the greatest earnings. However, these statistics do not only include senior chefs in their scope.
According to the wages that users have self-reported on Salary.com, head chefs have the potential to make the following amount as of November 29, 2021. According to the findings of their survey, head chefs make a median annual pay of $73,000.
The 10 percent of workers with the lowest annual income make less than $52,367, while the 10 percent of workers with the greatest annual income make more than $102,039.