Executive Chefs plan and direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods; they also participate in cooking, plan menus, create new dishes, and oversee kitchen staff. They are employed in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions, central food commissaries, clubs and similar establishments, and on ships.
Some Chefs may specialize in a certain type of cuisine (e.g. Asian, Ethnic, Mediterranean, and American) or they might prefer a certain type of specialty (e.g. pastry, meat, poultry, fish, and pasta). However, versatility is certainly an asset in the culinary world.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Executive Chefs are required to complete.
- Planning and directing food preparation and cooking activities of a restaurant, a hospital, a hotel, or any other establishment with food services:
- Planning menus and ensuring the food meets the establishment’s quality standards;
- checking freshness of food and ingredients;
- preparing and cooking food on a regular basis or for special guests or functions, according to the orders given by customers;
- instructing cooks in preparation, cooking, garnishing, and presentation of food;
- ensuring uniform serving sizes and quality of dishes is met before they go out to the customers; and
- operating and using various equipment, including pans, pots, cutlery, ovens, grills, slicers, boilers, grinders, and blenders.
- Analyzing recipes to assign prices to menu items, based on food, labour, and overhead costs:
- Creating new recipes taking into account factors such as seasonal availability of ingredients and the likely number of customers.
- Consulting with customers regarding weddings, banquets, and specialty functions in order to select the food to be served and plan the appropriate service.
- Overseeing all the activities in the kitchen:
- Inspecting the kitchen area and the supplies, as well as all the kitchen equipment in use and storage areas for organization, cleanliness, and to ensure conformance with established standards;
- estimating food costs and requirements;
- ordering the necessary food supplies and kitchen equipment repairs or purchases for the kitchen to run smoothly;
- checking groceries that come in daily;
- maintaining an inventory of food and supplies; and
- ensuring the highest quality of standards are met for service, quality of food, cleanliness, and profitability.
- Supervising kitchen staff:
- Supervising activities of Sous-Chefs, Specialized Chefs, and Cooks, as well as other kitchen staff;
- managing and coordinating the duties of kitchen staff;
- preparing work schedules;
- interviewing candidates for kitchen positions (e.g. dishwasher, cook, and sous chef), as well as training new employees;
- solving any issues that may arise among kitchen staff; and
- promoting teamwork to ensure optimum service and that customers’ needs are met.
- Greeting customers and doing public relations, as needed.
- Being aware of changing culinary trends, being open to new ideas and applying them in the kitchen.
- Managing administrative operations:
- Keeping track of financial statements and records to ensure safe-keeping;
- reviewing food and beverage purchases;
- using scheduling and purchasing software to keep track of administrative tasks;
- managing and submitting periodic reports regarding costs and expenses; and
- balancing books, as needed.
- Developing a business network of vendors:
- Meeting with sales representatives in order to negotiate prices and order supplies.
- Following all of the establishment’s safety, hygiene, and security policies and procedures at all times:
- Maintaining the hygiene of the kitchen according to the health inspector’s standards;
- monitoring sanitation practices to ensure that employees follow standards and regulations;
- reporting any incidents or injuries to the manager; and
- following all safety and sanitation policies when handling food and beverages.
- Supervising and managing kitchen staff.
- Planning, directing, and sometimes preparing different dishes.
- Building a network of vendors.
- Taking care of food inventory and making respective orders.
- Inspecting supplies, equipment, and work areas for cleanliness and functionality.
- Applying industry appropriate safety and hygiene standards in the kitchen.
The average Executive Chef salary is $49,745 per year or $26 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $35,000 while most experienced workers make up to $70,000. These results are based on 107 salaries extracted from job descriptions.