A sous chef is a leader in the kitchen, who works directly under the head chef and helps him manage the show. Read on for the salary and job description of a sous chef.
In French, the word “sous” means “under”. A sous chef is someone who works under the executive chef, who is the head chef, and helps him in managing the kitchen at a food establishment, such as a hotel or a restaurant. Thus, a sous chef, besides preparing food, is involved in planning the food menu, managing the supplies and inventory, preparing the working schedule of the kitchen staff, as well as ensuring that the staff follows all the safety procedures and food guidelines. As a sous chef is second only to a head chef and is responsible for ensuring a smooth working kitchen, this position is highly paid.
Sous Chef Job Description
As overlooking the kitchen staff is one of the prime responsibilities of a sous chef, he should be a master of all the work and activities that the staff undertakes in the kitchen. A sous chef should be efficient in cooking all kinds of cuisines that the restaurant offers. This is extremely essential as the staff looks up to the sous chef and head chef for guidance, while preparing food.
Cost and quality management are a part of sous chef’s job profile. A sous chef sees to it that the food which is being served to the guests is in accordance with the laid down procedures, and that the dishes that are being served are of standard quality and quantity. Overlooking the staff, so that they keep the food stations clean and maintain hygiene, is another job performed by a sous chef.
In case the executive head is absent or is unavailable, the responsibility of the entire kitchen falls on the sous chef. This means that he has to be a highly responsible person, who knows how to manage teams, lead, communicate and delegate work. Conflict management amongst the staff, quick decision-making, especially during the meal times, and creativity, both in terms of food preparations as well as the way things are done in the kitchen, are some of the other prerequisites to be a success as a sous chef.
Sous Chef Salary Range
A sous chef is expected to work for about twelve hours everyday, although he seldom gets paid for the extra hours he puts in. Presently, a sous chef’s salary can be anywhere between $30,000 to $55,000. On an hourly basis, it can go up to $15 per hour. The salary depends upon the kind of place the sous chef is employed in, the city where he is employed (big cities pay more), the number of years of experience he has, as well as the kind of setup he is working for. For instance, the salary of a pastry sous chef can be anywhere between $20,000 to $40,000, while an executive sous chef, who has considerable years of experience, can earn up to $65,000!
How to Become a Sous Chef
To become a sous chef, experience in the kitchen counts more than any educational qualification. A person usually starts at the junior-most position, like washing dishes in a kitchen, and then with experience and learning, works his way up to become a sous chef, and finally a head chef. Undertaking a program at a renowned culinary school can give a person a head start in this field. Besides this, to be a success, a sous chef should possess good leadership skills, communication skills, people’s skills, decision-making skills, as well as he should have the ability to work long hours and under pressure.
A sous chef has to be perfect in his job. He should know how to prepare delicious food, while adhering to the safety, sanitation, cost and quality guidelines. A sous chef is a leader and thus should be mentally and physically prepared to handle the pressure which comes with such a role. So, those people who have a passion for cooking, plus are prepared to handle such a responsibility, would be perfect for this job!