The culinary world has a number of different jobs available for those with experience along with some education or training. Pastry chefs create breads and sweet and savory dishes, while sous chefs prepare ingredients and follow the orders of an executive or head chef. Some chefs specialize in a specific type of cooking or ingredient, including those responsible for producing soups or working at the meat station. A regional chef is someone in charge of a large chain of restaurants or eateries in a specific region or location. Before searching for a job in this field, you need to look at what the job entails and other factors.
Description of the Job
A head chef, also known as an executive chef, is the person in charge of the kitchen or the back of the house. This chef plans the menu for the week, orders the ingredients needed to make those dishes and hands out assignments to each person working in the kitchen. A regional chef and a head chef share many things in common. A regional cook will often work behind the scenes to experiment with different ingredients and come up with new dishes for restaurants throughout a specific region. The chef also goes over the steps of each recipes with other chefs working in those locations to ensure everything comes out in the same way. Other duties may include sourcing ingredients, finding new restaurant equipment and planning new menus for each season.
How to Get Employment
The number of chefs working in the field without a college degree might outnumber the amount of chefs who have a college degree. Culinary arts programs are a good starting point for those future cooks. They learn knife skills, how to put ingredients together, the importance of safety in the kitchen and basic techniques for cooking simple and advanced dishes. Some culinary schools have on-site restaurants that teach students skills relating to both the front and back of the house. Most chefs working for a regional operation have a minimum of five to 10 years of experience running a kitchen and a college degree. A hospitality degree could give a chef the edge needed to succeed.
Where Will You Work?
Chefs can work in a variety of locations, but those working for regional operations usually work behind the scenes. Instead of working in a professional kitchen and preparing food for diners every day, they work in a restaurant test kitchen. They may also work in an office setting and spend long hours traveling between restaurants, conference centers and other locations to train other chefs on their recipes.
How Much do Chefs Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs make a median annual salary of $42,480 or just over $20 an hour. Some chefs just starting out can make just above minimum wage, and those working for regional companies can make much more. The BLS estimates that chef and cook positions will see an increase of approximately five percent in terms of new positions added by 2022.
Chefs working for restaurants often use recipes created by those working for the corporate office. The chefs in charge of those recipes are also responsible for finding new resources for the equipment, supplies and ingredients that a chain of kitchens needs. A regional chef usually has more freedom than a traditional chefs, but those working for regional organizations spend time teaching and training the cooks working in regional kitchens.