What a Sous Chef Do:

The role of a sous chef represents a progression from an entry-level cook, involving the day-to-day management of kitchen operations. This includes menu planning, ingredient procurement, and supervision of line cooks.

Due to their proven diligence, reliability, and ability to handle additional responsibilities, sous chefs often receive more significant tasks compared to other entry-level staff.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assisting in planning menus for special events or restaurants, encompassing food preparation techniques and ingredient lists.
  • Managing kitchen inventory by ordering necessary supplies.
  • Executing food preparation based on recipes and guidelines, involving measuring, mixing, and cooking.
  • Stocking pantries with essential ingredients and equipment.
  • Performing tasks directed by the head chef.
  • Preparing meat, poultry, fish, and other items according to the chef’s instructions.
  • Creating meals for staff meetings and special events.
  • Preparing ingredients for cooking.
  • Coordinating tasks with kitchen staff to ensure timely food preparation.

Job Requirements:

  • Education: Most sous chefs hold at least an associate’s degree in culinary arts.
  • Training & Experience: Typically starting as line cooks, sous chefs receive on-the-job training and may undergo internships for industry insights.
  • Certifications: While not mandatory, certifications can enhance knowledge and career advancement.


  • Leadership: Essential for leading a kitchen team, involving task delegation, feedback, and motivation.
  • Communication: Crucial for clear conveyance of ideas and instructions to kitchen staff.
  • Organisation: Important for effective time and task management, ensuring smooth kitchen operations.
  • Time Management: Vital for completing tasks on schedule and prioritising duties.
  • Adaptability: Necessary for handling changing circumstances and diverse responsibilities.

Work Environment:

Sous chefs typically work in commercial kitchens, enduring long hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. The environment may be hot, noisy, and fast-paced, with physical demands such as lifting and standing for extended periods.

Trends Impacting Sous Chefs:

  1. The Rise of the Celebrity Chef: Opportunities for sous chefs to build reputation and network by working with renowned chefs.
  2. Focus on Healthier Options: Increased demand for chefs skilled in preparing healthy dishes.
  3. Desire for Local Ingredients: Growing demand for junior sous chefs experienced in working with local produce.

How to Become a Sous Chef:

  • Start as a junior sous chef to gain experience.
  • Consider specialising in a specific area of cooking.
  • Progress by taking on more responsibility and leadership roles.

Advancement Prospects:

Sous chefs typically advance to Head chef positions, overseeing kitchen staff and aiding in menu development. Some may become Executive head chefs or open their own restaurants.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Assist the Head Chef in kitchen operations, menu development, and food preparation.
  • Adhere to company recipes, preparation methods, and sanitation standards.
  • Train new kitchen staff and ensure fresh and timely food preparation.
  • Monitor food quality and address issues promptly.
  • Assist with inventory management and ordering supplies.
  • Maintain a clean and organised work area.
  • Cover for the Head Chef during absences.
  • Work flexible hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Required Skills and Qualifications:

  • Proven experience as a junior sous chef.
  • Excellent understanding of cooking methods, ingredients, and procedures.
  • Accuracy and speed in task execution.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Culinary school diploma (preferred).
  • Knowledge of advanced cooking techniques and food safety standards.

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