A Head Chef is the highest ranking member of the restaurant kitchen and is responsible for coordinating the activities therein. The Head Chef is the brains of the entire culinary operation, and the final quality of the food rests on his/her abilities to create sumptuous meals to impress and delight.
Education and Training
Most Head Chefs have either studied in a Culinary Arts Academy or have extensive culinary skills. The most basic requirement to become a Head Chef is a Culinary Arts degree. It will be easier to become a Head Chef if one has undergone study but skills are also gained through practice. If one has undergone apprenticeship and worked his/her way up the ranks then they will be certified and have enough reputation in the industry to become a Head Chef.
Most Head Chefs are familiar with a wide range of national cuisines so experience with many ethnic styles of cooking is also highly valued.
Head Chefs are the masters of culinary arts and they are responsible with a wide range of tasks from selecting ingredients, kitchen management, team management, as well as liaising with clients and ingredient wholesalers. A Head Chef’s choice of ingredients and team will have a big influence on the final culinary output.
To qualify as a head chef one must either have a Bachelor of Culinary Arts or Business Management degree. It is also possible to become a head chef without education but one must have undergone equivalent internship and training. Through years of hard work, some chefs have worked their way up to be certified and qualified to be a Head Chef.
You must have good people skills to properly fill the role of head chef because you will be at the helm regarding the entire kitchen staff and culinary production process. You must have an eye for detail for you will be responsible for checking the quality of the cuisine.
The most important traits you must possess are good problem solving skills and keeping cool under the pressured work environment of the restaurant kitchen.
Most Head Chefs earn between $40,000 – $100,000 USD. The salary of a Head Chef depends on many factors like the size and scale of the kitchen and crew he/she is working with. The larger and the more upscale the restaurant is, the more responsibilities there will be for a Head Chef the higher salary the will earn. A larger and more famous restaurant also pulls in many patrons, thus influencing the money a Head Chef makes. Many restaurants also pay based on performance so if you are likely a good chef, the guests will flock from all around. You will get a cut of the profits too. Health care benefits are standard in most establishments, but this will also depend on the area.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
If you are passionate about making good food then becoming a Head Chef will be financially rewarding and also seeing the looks of satisfied customers’ faces will make any Chef’s hard work worthwhile.