A Head Chef is a highly skilled professional cook who overlooks the operations of a restaurant or dining facility. They are responsible for the food that comes out of a kitchen, from conception to execution. While many of these professionals gain the necessary skills through work experience as line cooks, college programs in the culinary arts are widely available. Some chefs learn through apprenticeships.
A head chef, also sometimes known as a head cook, who is responsible to overlook many diverse aspects of a restaurant or eatery. They manage and work closely with other cooks, create menu items and determine food inventory needs. They are employed at a number of food service establishments or facilities, including universities, hospitals, residential care centres and catering companies. They may also work as personal chef.
Head Chef Responsibilities Include
- Control and direct the food preparation process and any other relative activities
- Construct menus with new or existing culinary creations ensuring the variety and quality of the servings
- Approve and polish dishes before they reach the customer
- Plan orders of equipment or ingredients according to identified shortages
- Arrange for repairs when necessary
- Look for any problems or defects
- Be fully in charge of hiring, managing and training kitchen staff
- Overlook the work of subordinates
- Estimate staff’s workload and compensations
- Maintain records of payroll and attendance
- Comply with nutrition and sanitation regulations and safety standards
- Foster a climate of co-operation and respect between co-workers
- Proven experience as Head Chef
- Exceptional proven ability of kitchen management
- Ability in dividing responsibilities and monitoring progress
- Outstanding communication and leadership skills
- Up-to-date with culinary trends and optimised kitchen processes
- Good understanding of useful computer programs (MS Office, restaurant management software)
- Credentials in health and safety training
- Degree in Culinary science or related certificate or qualification
How To Become A Good Head Chef?
There are certain qualities you need to be an excellent leader, here’s how to be a good head chef.
- Be an inspiring leader: The most important quality of a head chef is leadership. Head chefs need to be able to lead and direct their team successfully. Have a plan in place so all your chefs know what they are doing when it’s time to work. Some of those chefs will want to be a head chef too one day, they will be watching and learning from you. In the future, you want them to look back and think you were an exceptional teacher and leader.
- Encourage Teamwork: Get your chefs to talk to each other. Working 40 hours a week means chefs will get to know each other very well but they need to work together as a team. During your rounds, you should see which chefs work best together. Perhaps there is one chef who struggles to get their voice heard. Work with every team and encourage everyone to get involved and work together effectively.
- Don’t Shout! : While it’s common for a Head Chef to shout and curse at their chefs, you shouldn’t. You will lose respect very quickly if you swear and yell at your team. Even when the kitchen is busy with orders and there are problems to fix, it’s important to keep calm. Getting stressed and shouting at your colleagues will only cause more problems and radically decrease morale.
- Delegate Tasks: Some head chefs fail because they put all their responsibilities on their own shoulders. The weight stresses them out and they do a bad job. Having meetings with your junior chefs can help you delegate important tasks so you can focus on other things. That’s why there are junior chefs, they are there to help you.
- Take time to get to know your staff: It’s understandable you have a lot on your plate. But taking the chance to know your staff will help you become an effective head chef. Getting to know them as people will help you become a better leader because you will know what their strengths and weaknesses are. You will know what stations they enjoy working at and what they want to improve at. When you know your staff better, it’s easier to talk to them and they will find it easier to talk to you.
- Listen to ideas: While most of the time, all the chefs will have to follow recipes in the kitchen, there are opportunities to change the menu up a bit. While it’s the responsibility of the head chef and junior chefs to plan the menu, a good head chef listens to suggestions from the entire team. They may be aware of new food trends people like to order. Asking for other chef’s opinions increases morale because they will feel like they have the opportunity to get involved in big decisions.
- Set an example as a Head Chef: As chefs are on their feet for long hours, they need work shoes that are comfortable and supportive. Along with support, they need safety features that will help reduce the chance of them slipping or falling at work. Kitchens have plenty of slip hazards thanks to water, sauces and grease. Our chef shoes are specially designed for chefs. They are comfortable, supportive and the incredible slip-resistant grip helps keep you on your feet. Remember, when your boss or critic comes into the kitchen, they will be looking at your chefs and if they are inappropriately dressed or not wearing the correct uniform, it will cast a negative impression on you. That’s why you should set an example. On every shift you should wear the correct chef uniform and work shoes.
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