Sous chefs have one of the most coveted jobs in the culinary industry. Working toward a career as a sous chef takes years of dedication, solid culinary skills, managerial skills, and a headstrong nature. If you feel all of that appeals to you and you're not one to shy away from hard work, then you may sizzle as a sous chef.
What Does A Sous Chef Do?
A sous chef has a lot of things to do: You’ll be second in command in the kitchen, falling just below the head chef, or executive chef. Your title, "sous chef," is French; its literal translation is "under the chef." Because a sous chef has more responsibility than everyone else in the kitchen, you're directly liable for the quality of all food that goes out.
The exact duties of a sous chef can vary depending on the restaurant or venue and how large the kitchen staff is. Tasks range from plating/staging dishes to cooking, building the menu, and taking charge of all shipments and ingredient providers. Accordingly, the position requires not only great culinary expertise but managerial skills. You may also train other members of the kitchen staff to handle events like banquets and corporate dinners.
Since many established restaurants stay busy, the kitchen environment can be hectic. Between jumping from one station to the next and overseeing the entrees, side dishes, soups, desserts, appetizers, sous chefs don't have the time to sit around and relax. During busy times, you'll be cooking food, making sure all cooking equipment is in good working order, managing the inventory, and ensuring all staff members have what they need to do their jobs, down to the last plate. No day will be boring or typical.
How To Become A Sous Chef
You can become one by climbing the culinary ladder. Others are brought in after attending culinary school, although even then candidates must have a few years of experience under their belts. Most sous chefs typically need at least five to ten years of experience as a junior chef. Actual on-the-job training will be based on the vision of the restaurant. Things you will learn on the job will include how to efficiently work all kitchen equipment, how to contact the ingredient providers, oversee scheduling, and learn the ins and outs of all menu items. Sous chefs will also be trained on how to manage the kitchen staff.
Tips For Success
Training and experience are essential for success as a chef, particularly as a sous chef. It is the next step to becoming head of the kitchen; therefore, you must be prepared to be second in command. Cooking skills will truly only get you so far; managerial skills are also necessary for this role. Advancing through a solid culinary school is going to add major points to your resume, and the more experience you have, the better: Fill your drawer with the essential tools for an award-winning culinary arts career.