Median pay: $42,480 per year
$20.42 per hour
Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent
Duties: Chefs and head cooks typically do the following:
Check freshness of food and ingredients
Supervise and coordinate activities of cooks and other food preparation workers
Develop recipes and determine how to present the food
Plan menus and ensure uniform serving sizes and quality of meals
Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas for cleanliness and functionality
Hire, train, and supervise cooks and other food preparation workers
Order and maintain inventory of food and supplies
Monitor sanitation practices and follow kitchen safety standards
Chefs and head cooks use a variety of kitchen and cooking equipment, including step-in coolers, high-quality knives, meat slicers, and grinders. They also have access to large quantities of meats, spices, and produce.
Executive chefs, head cooks, and chefs de cuisine are primarily responsible for overseeing the operation of a kitchen. They coordinate the work of sous chefs and other cooks, who prepare most of the meals. Executive chefs also have many duties beyond the kitchen. They design the menu, review food and beverage purchases, and often train cooks and other food preparation workers.
Sous chefs are a kitchen’s second-in-command. They supervise the restaurant’s cooks, prepare meals, and report results to the head chefs.
Chefs and head cooks work in restaurants, hotels, private households, and other food service facilities, all of which must be kept clean and sanitary. Chefs and head cooks usually stand for long periods and work in a fast-paced environment.
Most chefs and head cooks work full time, including early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Many executive chefs work 12-hour days, because they oversee the delivery of food supplies early in the day and use the afternoon to prepare special menu items.
Traveler accommodation $48,210
Other amusement and recreation industries other amusement and recreation industries $ 47,490
Special food services $ 42,960
Restaurants and other eating places $ 39,790
Education: A growing number of chefs and head cooks receive formal training at community colleges, technical schools, culinary arts schools, and 4-year colleges.
Work Experience: Most chefs and head cooks start working in other positions, such as line cooks, learning cooking skills from the chefs they work for. Many spend years working in kitchens before learning enough to get promoted to chef or head cook positions.
Training: Some chefs and head cooks train on the job, where they learn the same skills as in a formal