Every restaurant’s reputation lies with the chef of the eatery. Therefore, responsibilities of a chef are quite significant to build or mar a food joint’s prestige.
The term ‘CHEF’ is synonymous with delicious cuisine, aromatic flavors and obviously a beautiful dish presentation that not only satisfies our gourmet desires but are also treat to the eyes.
A chef is 90% responsible for the accomplishments that a restaurant achieves. Besides the restaurant’s artistic beautification and other customer attractive features, the food it serves is the first element that adds to its recognition. Hence the chef ought to have exquisite culinary skills. He must have the abilities to set a new paradigm within the food joint with his intelligence. Thomas Keller (popular American chef and restaurateur) once remarked very aptly “A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
With his ultimate professionalism, the chef and his team members can assist the eatery to garner worldwide acclaim. In short, a chef and the restaurant both share a valuable and genuine collaboration.
As every occupation has a hierarchy, a restaurant also has different types of chefs and chef activities depend on their specific position.
Take a look at the different categories of chefs standard in most restaurants-
A. Executive Chef or Chef de cuisine
At the top of the kitchen management structure, is the position of executive chef or Chef de cuisine (French term). In most parts of the world, the position is popularly called ‘head chef’ or ‘master chef.’
Head chef duties and responsibilities:
- Cooking is not their function; their role primarily is in managing the overall kitchen
- They are responsible for operating multiple restaurant outlets.
- Their role also includes controlling kitchen costs.
- Another essential duty – liaising with suppliers and creating the menus.
Just to let you know, this position of ‘Executive Chef ‘ is found only at the large establishments.
B. The Sous-Chef
The Sous-Chef is the direct assistant of the Chef de Cuisine (head chef). He reports directly to the executive chef or head chef. Sous-chef is also a French term and if you want to know the sous-chef meaning, it stands for ‘under chef’ or ‘second chef.’ He works according to assigned the duties of the head chef.
Sous chef job description and important responsibilities of a chef.
- He is responsible for scheduling the kitchen staff.
- He works in place of the head chef when he is off-duty.
- Additionally, Sous chef also assists the Chef de Partie (line cook) as and when needed.
- Sous chef is responsible for the kitchen’s inventory management.
- He looks after the organization cleanliness.
- He also trains the entire staff.
- A sous-chef’s duties contain – conducting line checks and overseeing the timely rotation of all food products.
- Sous-chef is actively involved in the everyday operation of the kitchen.
Similar to the head chef, Sous chef is also not found in smaller operations.
C. Chef de partie
A chef de partie or “station chef” and sometimes also called “line cook” is in charge of a particular area of production. In large establishments, chef de partie have assistants and cooks, but in most normal level restaurants, the chef de partie is the only worker in that department. These line cooks are again divided into – “first cook,” “second cook” and so on.
Responsibilities of the chef de partie:
Running a specific section/department of the kitchen
Types of chef de partie:
- Fish chef
- roast chef
- Grill chef
- Fry chef
- Soup chef
- Vegetable chef
- Pantry chef
- Pastry chef
Commis – another categories of chef:
In larger restaurants, we also come across a commis, who is the basic chef and works under a chef de partie. He mainly learns the station’s responsibilities and operation.
Mentioned below are 10 key responsibilities of a chef in a restaurant:
1. Developing New Recipes
A chef is responsible for developing newer recipes. He experiments for days, months and even for years to present a new dish on your table.
2. Planning Menus
It is a tough job for a foodie to choose 2 or 3 dishes from the hundred of delicious ‘names’ printed on the menu card. But, believe me! It is tougher to decide what will be those hundred names on the menu card. The chef has the responsibility to analyze the performance of each of the dishes individually and review the dishes as a part of the whole menu.
3. Manage Customer Relations
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all” – Michael LeBoeuf. These words are true for every business on this earth and the restaurant business is no exception. So, nowadays, a chef does not keep himself locked up in the four walls of the kitchen; rather he interacts with customers to have honest feedback. He also takes care of the complaints, collected from the customers, regarding any food preparation or quality.
4. Train the Kitchen Staff
The chef is supposed to be the most experienced and knowledgeable person in the kitchen. So, one of his main responsibilities is to train the kitchen staff and to ensure that their duties are being carried out to the greatest extent of their potential.
5. Inventory Management
He is the key person to decide when and what (ingredients, equipment, etc.) to order from the suppliers. And in this regard, he also controls the budget and keeps accurate records to produce them before the restaurant administration.
6. Quality Control
A chef ensures that the food they are providing is of the best quality. He inspects the freshness of the ingredients. He also monitors the matters of cleanliness and sanitation in the kitchen. Another area of concern for a chef is to maintain timeliness. He needs to make sure that none of the guests have to wait for long to have his first round of food and beverages.
7. Monitoring Safety standards
The chef needs to strictly follow the kitchen safety standards and monitor that his subordinates are maintaining them too. He also looks after the functionality of the kitchen equipment to avoid any unwanted incident.
8. Coordinating with the purchasing department
The chef is also responsible for acquisition of required goods and services for the overall kitchen management.
9. Looks after the hygiene standards
As hygiene is one of the main criteria for the success of a food joint, is is the chef who ensures proper grooming and hygiene standards of all kitchen and its staffs.
10. Obtains feedback from the guests
A chef is also known to interacts with guests to receive their feedback on food quality, service levels, and presentation. He along with his team takes care to modify and develop those areas that require more attention.
A chef is known to have a personal influence on an eatery’s culinary world. Although his responsibility is strictly limited to his position in the hierarchy, yet he is equally trained to handle duties of his immediate supervisors or those who are ranked just below him. But it’s not easy to become a chef, you need years of hard labor and developing of your passion. After all, contributing to a chef’s unique perspective and leadership qualities, he undoubtedly holds a significant position in a restaurant for increasing its bottom line.