What is an executive chef?
One part creative, and another part managerial, executive chefs are in charge of the kitchen staff and the food that comes out of it.
Executive chefs have a wide range of duties and responsibilities. The most important responsibility is ensuring that dishes are served on schedule and to rectify any problems that may arise. Executive chefs review food and beverage purchases; develop and standardize recipes; maintain safety and sanitation, and plan and prepare menus.
In addition, executive chefs supervise the kitchen staff, giving them performance reviews, pay increases and disciplinary action when needed. They also perform administrative duties like ordering supplies and reporting to the head of the establishment.
Executive chefs often work long hours, with a 12-hour work day being very common. Professional kitchens employ chefs in a wide variety of environments including restaurants, resorts, convention centers, hotels, casinos, hospitals and cruise lines.
A bachelor’s degree in culinary arts or hospitality is recommended, although an associate’s degree is another popular option. Other chefs get their start through on-the-job training or apprenticeship programs. In any case, the most important requirement for executive chef positions is work experience.
Since executive chefs hold a high position in the culinary industry, in most cases, they are required to have around seven years of related experience. Valuable work experiences include managing food and labor costs; developing, implementing and pricing menus; leading a culinary team; maintaining inventory; and demonstrating food preparation skills.