A chef assistant provides support to the head chef of a restaurant, bakery, catering business, or cafeteria. As a chef assistant, your job duties include keeping an updated inventory, ensuring that the kitchen meets food safety and cleanliness standards, and helping kitchen staff with food preparation. The qualifications for a career as a chef assistant vary by employer, but typically include training from a culinary school, proven cooking skills and experience of working in a kitchen. You need strong teamwork abilities and a willingness to work in a flexible schedule.
As the chef assistant is responsible to provide support to head chefs. So Chef Assistant works under the direct supervision of an executive chef. Chef assistants perform a variety of cooking duties, including preparing food, testing new recipes, cleaning the kitchen, plating dishes and maintaining kitchen supplies. Individuals in this role should have excellent communication skills and a focus on prompt, efficient, and courteous customer service. Chef assistants get an opportunity to work in high-pressure environments and enjoy being busy. Hours will vary based on the employer and on-the-job training is typically offered.
Chef Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
While the day-to-day duties of chef assistants are determined by their employer, there are many core tasks associated with the role. These include:
- Maintain Kitchen: Cook assistants ensure the kitchen, including all appliances and utensils, are clean. They clean and sanitise work areas and equipment according to establishment protocol, deep-cleaning equipment and work areas as needed. During food service, the chef assistant is responsible for keeping the kitchen fully stocked and in working order. They also maintain food production records, notify supervisors when supplies are less, unpack deliveries, and restock work areas.
- Prepare Ingredients: Chef assistants are responsible for preparing ingredients prior to meal service, such as chopping vegetables, butchering meat or cleaning seafood. They also assist the head chef in cooking dishes according to set recipes.
- Store and Dispose of Food: A chef assistant is usually responsible for the storage of food, both incoming stock and leftovers. They often unload delivery trucks and ensure that food is stored in the appropriate conditions. After food service, the chef assistant is responsible for determining if leftovers of either prepared or partially prepared food can be reused or if they must be disposed of.
Chef Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Chef assistants should have a passion for food and strong attention to detail. The ideal candidate for this role works well with different personality types, enjoys helping others and uphold a strong sense of cleanliness and organisation. Employers prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Communication skills: Chef assistants interact with many people, including the executive chef, establishment waiter staff, food vendors and delivery people. It is important to be a strong, detailed communicator in order for meal service to run smoothly.
- Attention to detail: Most chef assistants work in high-volume, fast-paced environments. It is important to perform well under pressure and multitask while paying close attention to details.
- Flexibility: Chef assistants may perform different tasks depending on the day. If the restaurant is very busy, for example, they may take charge with cooking to help the executive chef to accommodate all orders or work long hours.
Chef Assistant Education and Training
While no formal education is required for chef assistants, however, training at a community college or culinary school is preferred. Previous work experience as a chef assistant is strongly required by most employers. Preferred credentials vary by establishment but chef assistants are required to pass background checks or be certified in CPR and first aid. Employers typically offer on-the-job training and some provide written manuals on company protocols and procedures.
There are many helpful resources available for those interested in careers as chef assistants. Please review below for valuable information and the latest industry update:
- Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food with Advice from Top Culinary Professionals: Working in food service can mean cooking on the line in a restaurant but there are so many more career paths available. Tapping into that vast alumni network and beyond, Workers Direct the only career book that offers candid portraits of dozens of coveted jobs at all levels to help you find your dream job.
- Guide to Culinary Career Paths: Workers-Direct helps you discover your niche in the culinary services industry with information on programs offered around the country and discussions of different career paths.
- World Association of Chefs Societies: World chefs is a dynamic global network of more than 100 chefs associations representing chefs at all levels and across all specialities. You can find information on different chef clubs, certifications and challenges and network with other chefs worldwide.
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