Head Chef Careers


If you are looking for a job in the culinary arts then you should share a passion for exciting the senses with good food. A career as a chef is more than just a job. Preparing a plating food that will be savored and appreciated by your customers requires both dedication and commitment.

The most important duty of an executive chef is to create and deliver a culinary delight that will be memorable long after the guest has left the table.

A job in the culinary arts field can vary from a short order cook to an executive chef. The culinary arts call for people from all walks of life. The minimum requirements to become a cook are the completion of high school. The remaining experience is taught at a culinary arts school or on the job. Vocational and technical schools, colleges and adult education programs as well as the armed forces all offer educational courses in the culinary arts. Some kitchens will only take on new staff if they have earned their diploma in the culinary arts.

All the necessary skills can be taught but a keen sense of taste and smell can only come from a palate that shares a passion for food. A culinary arts career requires not only a passion for food but also determination and drive to get through the stressful demands of the job. A kitchen under high demand can quickly become a stressful place to work and so you must have an ability to remain cool under pressure. Culinary careers are focused on the preparation of good food, however there are many parts of the job that also require business savvy and team management skills.

The specific culinary arts jobs skills you will need to master to become successful in your field include menu creation, food preparation, team leadership, employee management, establishing relationships with vendors, marketing and customer relations. Many culinary arts professionals become specialized in their fields going on to conquer pastry as a pastry chef or a sous chef. Other culinary career requirements include good communication skills and time management. You should also be a great team player because a successful busy kitchen can be a stressful environment and not all of the tasks are as glamorous as plating up a gourmet delight. Harmony in the kitchen is essential in the food preparation industry because time is of the essence and good communication is the key to keeping people from boiling over under pressure.

Standard culinary arts job duties will vary depending on your standing within the kitchen hierarchy. At the bottom end of the scale you may be assigned to kitchen duties such as dishwashing and food preparation. You only require to have completed a high school education to become a cook therefore the on the job training and kitchen experience will need to be gained whist working in the kitchen. Typical culinary arts job duties will include food handling and storage, food preparation, menu creation, cooking and food presentation. Often duties will extend to cleaning and dishwashing depending on the size of the kitchen. Many culinary jobs require weekend work and so dedication to the profession is a must. The days and evenings can be long and there is much time spent on your feet so it pays to be fit and healthy.

One of the interesting facts about culinary arts is that not all of the skills can be taught. In order to be successful and rocket to the top of your game you will need to have a creativity and flair with food that cannot be learned. A good chef will have a sensitive palate and a great sense of smell. The most interesting part about food preparation is that it involves all of the senses; it not only needs to taste sensational, it must also look appealing and smell great. It also takes great organizational skills to bring all of these elements together into a dish that will stimulate the senses.

There are many benefits to working in the culinary arts field apart from the ability to taste test on the job. An executive chef of a top restaurant will enjoy almost celebrity like status amongst the culinary world. The top executive chefs become bestselling authors and often can enjoy worldwide fame on the television. They may even have an opportunity to influence the health and well being of many by showing support for a movement such as healthy school lunches or reducing obesity. Top chefs have final say in their kitchens and have the ability to make influential business decisions or even own and run an operation all of their own.

All about Chef Training

Working within the field of the culinary arts is an attractive employment option for many people as it is open to entry level employees in a lot of cases. The minimum education requirement for an entry level position is a completed high school education.

This entry level position can offer on the job chef training and experience that may well lead to a future career of becoming a chef. For those that do not wish to pursue further education upon the completion of high school this can be an attractive opportunity.

There are no set rules on how to become a chef. Some people enter the vocation immediately upon leaving school; others fall into the career later in life as they realize that they have an immense enjoyment for fine food and dining. Others have their career path neatly mapped out for them and undertake graduate programs to ensure quick success. There are a few requirements to become a chef that are not solely reliant upon your education level. It can be a less than glamorous job at times and you will need to have a good temperament, possess excellent communication skills and above all be a team player.

Entry level positions do not require a high school diploma however this would be considered a necessity if you were to apply later in life to become a chef. For those who wish to enter the culinary world with an advantage could consider undertaking a culinary diploma or certificate program. The chef training varies from a few months in length to a few years or more. There are hundreds of these courses offered across the country and this is generally considered the quickest entry point to become a chef. This diploma or certificate program provides you with the training that you require for the job and some even specialize in specific interest areas. It is a good idea to seek out a culinary school that offers a certificate program that is best suited to the style of cooking you wish to work in. If you are interested in Thai cooking or becoming a pastry chef, you should look for a program that incorporates this into their chef training program.

Your culinary education may involve an associate diploma. Most of these programs offer more than just training in the culinary arts. Associate diplomas usually contain coursework in liberal arts education as well as chef training. These programs are designed to better prepare you to enter the workforce. Alternately, they make for a good stepping stone into a Bachelors degree if that is the way you wish to go. Once again, it is important to look at the culinary schools in your area and try to find a school that offers a program that best suits your cooking style and employment goals.

For those who choose to extend their education in the culinary world or want to ensure they have the best education needed to be a chef could consider a bachelorís degree. This may be a follow on from an associate diploma or could be commenced upon completion of high school. These degrees usually offer culinary training to meet all the requirements of becoming a chef as well as some business aspects as well. This coursework will extend into the business and finance sectors of the hospitality and catering industries as well as the culinary education requirements. This would be the most comprehensive chef education that is currently available however hands on training and experience will still be required before you secure a top level executive chefís job.

Accreditation as a chef may also be granted upon completion of an apprenticeship. Over 200 of these are granted each year. Regardless of the course or apprenticeship that you choose to undertake, most of the training will involve hands on cooking and food preparation within a kitchen environment. Job opportunities continue to rise as more people eat out in favor of preparing their own food. This fact coupled with the rising population should ensure long term growth within the industry.

Before embarking on any training courses, it is important to understand that there is a high turnover of staff in the culinary world. Over one third of employees that work in the food preparation industry are under the age of 24. The job prospects are good however because most of these people leave the industry soon after reaching this age in the pursuit of a full time job or a better paying career.  A positive aspect of working within this industry is that one third of all employees work on a part time position. This may suit you perfectly if you wish to gain some experience in the culinary arts whist completing your educational requirements.

Chef Salary – How much do they Earn?

A career as a chef can be rewarding in more ways than one. If you have a love for preparing delicious food and a discernable palate, then you may be set for a career in an industry that will reward you with a good income as well as job satisfaction.

For those that are just starting out with their career, working within the hospitality industry is a good way to make a living while you continue with your studies. Many positions offered are available as part time roles making it easier to balance your responsibilities to your studies with your workload. Further culinary arts and hospitality salary information can be found below.

The Chef Salary will depend on your level of training and experience. A starting Chef Salary working within the fast food industry will generally be greater than $12,000 per year with a median annual salary of around $15,000. The fast food industry is growing rapidly and the potential for finding a job is quite high. The staff turnover can also be high due to the age of the applicants. Many work in the industry until they complete their degree or further education and then leave to find more lucrative work with full time hours. These limited service food outlets generally require the worker to be proficient in food preparation, some basic cooking and cleaning. These skills can be taught on the job and generally no formal education or qualifications are required.

Outside of the fast food industry, the chef salaries vary greatly depending on the demands of the job and the type of kitchen you are employed by. The highest paying jobs will be in the most competitive demand and will be filled by those with the best reputation, skills and training. These top chefs can expect to earn up to $60,000 per year. If you are working in the culinary arts or hospitality industry and are looking to find higher paying work, the best thing that you can do is seek further education or training. This could be in the way of an associate diploma, associate degree or bachelor degree. You may also seek out training under a head chef at a reputable kitchen to gain experience. Many apprenticeships are offered each year and this could well make the difference to your job prospects as a chef.

Chefs working as short order cooks and food preparation workers can expect to earn a median annual wage of approximately $17,000 per year. The minimum wage for this type of work is generally around $14,000. For someone who has been working in the role for many years or has secured a job with a high paying kitchen could see themselves earning up to $22,000 per annum.

A chef salary will generally be slightly higher for those working within a restaurant, institute or cafeteria. The median salary will be within a range of $20,000 – $21,000 per annum with variation from as low as $13,000 – $30,000 per annum. In some cases a uniform and meals may be provided as part of the salary package. In other cases, these additional items will be offered but the employer may seek compensation as a deduction from the employeeís income to cover the costs.

The demand for private household employment is on the decline and it is not expected that private household cooks jobs will increase in the near future. Some people however still enjoy the ability to eat restaurant quality food within the confines of their own homes and in these cases, the chefs are paid a medium annual wage of around $22,000.

The highest paid chef jobs are within premium locations in the top restaurants. These jobs are also the most demanding and as such the staff turnover is quite high. This contributes to the amount of new job prospects within this salary bracket however the competition for these higher paying jobs will be much greater.

These top chef salary packages usually average $34,000 per annum with a range from $25,000 – $60,000. The fine dining restaurants will pay more for their top chefs in order to keep them in that position. Chefs that have specialized in their field, or who are working as managers, supervisors or executive chefs will be paid according to their experience and level of training and education. Pastry chef salaries will be different again and will depend on the type of restaurant the chef is employed by.

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Current Head Chef Job Postings

Executive Head Chef (Menla) - Phoenicia, NY

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Head Chef (Hobnob Neighborhood Tavern) - Atlanta, GA

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Executive Chef/Sous Chef (BKSQUARE) - Patchogue, NY 11772

Executive Chef/Assist Food Services Director - Salaried (Five Star Senior Living Inc.) - Wilmington, DE

Executive Chef (Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort) - Oak Brook, IL

EXECUTIVE CHEF (Compass Group) - Vancouver, WA

SOUS CHEF (Compass Group) - Fresno, CA

Head Chef (Gecko Hospitality) - Springfield, VA

Head Chef/Kitchen Manager () - Wichita, KS

School Chef (Iinlingua Language Centers) - Miami, FL

Head Chef (Snooze Clear Lake) - Webster, TX

Head Baker - Executive Pastry Chef (Gecko Hospitality) - Greenbrae, CA

Chef de Cuisine (Hyatt) - Atlanta, GA

Head Chef (Snooze Tustin) - Tustin, CA

Chef de Cuisine (Hyatt) - Seattle, WA

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