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Become An Executive Chef

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Working As An Executive Chef

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $47,500

    Average Salary

What Does An Executive Chef Do

The primary duty of an Executive Chef is to ensure that the dishes served meet all quality standards. They also supervise the kitchen staff’s activites, plan and direct food preparation, and recruit and manage kitchen staff.

How To Become An Executive Chef

Most chefs and head cooks learn their skills through work experience. Others receive training at a community college, technical school, culinary arts school, or 4-year college. A small number learn through apprenticeship programs or in the Armed Forces.


Although postsecondary education is not required for chefs and head cooks, many attend programs at community colleges, technical schools, culinary arts schools, and 4-year colleges. Candidates are typically required to have a high school diploma or equivalent to enter these programs.

Students in culinary programs spend most of their time in kitchens, practicing their cooking skills. Programs cover all aspects of kitchen work, including menu planning, food sanitation procedures, and purchasing and inventory methods. Most training programs also require students to gain experience in a commercial kitchen through an internship or apprenticeship program.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

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 gaining enough experience to be promoted to chef or head cook positions.


Some chefs and head cooks train on the job, where they learn the same skills as in a formal education program. Some train in mentorship programs, where they work under the direction of an experienced chef. Executive chefs, head cooks, and sous chefs who work in upscale restaurants often have many years of training and experience.

Some chefs and head cooks learn through apprenticeship programs sponsored by professional culinary institutes, industry associations, or trade unions in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprenticeship programs generally last 2 years and combine instructions and on-the-job training. Apprentices must complete at least 1,000 hours of both instructions and paid on-the-job training. Courses typically cover food sanitation and safety, basic knife skills, and equipment operation. Apprentices spend the rest of their training learning practical skills in a commercial kitchen under a chef's supervision.

The American Culinary Federation accredits more than 200 academic training programs at postsecondary schools and sponsors apprenticeships around the country. The basic qualifications required for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 17
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Passing grade in substance abuse screening

Some chefs and head cooks receive formal training in the Armed Forces or from individual hotel or restaurant chains.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can show competence and lead to advancement and higher pay. The American Culinary Federation certifies personal chefs, in addition to various levels of chefs, such as certified sous chefs or certified executive chefs. Certification standards are based primarily on work-related experience and formal training. Minimum work experience for certification can range from 6 months to 5 years, depending on the level of certification.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Executive chefs and chefs who run their own restaurant need to understand the restaurant business. They should know how to budget for supplies, set prices, and manage workers so that the restaurant is profitable.

Communication skills. Chefs must communicate their instructions clearly and effectively to staff so that customers’ orders are prepared correctly.

Creativity. Chefs and head cooks need to be creative in order to develop and prepare interesting and innovative recipes. They should be able to use various ingredients to create appealing meals for their customers.

Dexterity. Chefs and head cooks need excellent manual dexterity, including proper knife techniques for cutting, chopping, and dicing.

Leadership skills. Chefs and head cooks must have the ability to motivate kitchen staff and develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with them.

Physical stamina. Chefs and head cooks often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings on their feet, overseeing the preparation and serving of meals.

Sense of taste and smell. Chefs and head cooks must have a keen sense of taste and smell in order to inspect food quality and to design meals that their customers enjoy.

Time-management skills. Chefs and head cooks must efficiently manage their time and the time of their staff. They ensure that meals are prepared correctly and that customers are served on time, especially during busy hours.

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Executive Chef jobs

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Executive Chef Career Paths

Executive Chef
Food Service Supervisor Food Service Manager
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Assistant Director Director Of Food And Beverage
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Director Of Food And Beverage Assistant General Manager
Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Director Of Food And Beverage Assistant General Manager Operations Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Office Manager Event Coordinator
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Assistant Director Food Service Director
Certified Dietary Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Catering Manager Catering Sales Manager
Director Of Catering
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Restaurant Manager Food And Beverage Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Food Prep Food Service Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Food And Beverage General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Kitchen Manager Restaurant Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Food Service Supervisor Chef Food Service Manager
Food Production Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Food And Beverage Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Instructor Trainer Kitchen Manager
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Food And Beverage Manager Director Of Food And Beverage
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Controller Assistant General Manager
Multi-Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Food Prep Kitchen Manager Restaurant Manager
Restaurant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Sales And Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Executive Chef Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • German

  • Chinese

  • Thai

  • Arabic

  • Portuguese

  • Korean

  • Hawaiian

  • Russian

  • Greek

  • Mandarin

  • Cantonese

  • Tagalog

  • Irish

  • Turkish

  • Hindi

  • Dutch

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Executive Chef Education

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Real Executive Chef Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Executive Chef SMB Management LLC Miami Beach, FL Apr 20, 2015 $128,750
Executive Chef Patria Shorecrest Inc. Miami Beach, FL Jan 05, 2015 $120,467
Chief Culinary Operations & Executive Chef 603 N La Cienega LLC West Hollywood, CA Jan 07, 2016 $119,943
Executive Chef Hilton Worldwide, Inc. New York, NY Jun 20, 2015 $111,000
Latin [Cuisine] Executive Chef Botika, LLC San Antonio, TX Dec 13, 2016 $100,000
Executive Chef Columbia Hospitality, Inc. Snoqualmie, WA Feb 26, 2015 $100,000
Executive Chef/Cantonese Hakkasan Holdings, LLC San Francisco, CA Oct 25, 2016 $100,000
Executive Chef Entre Amis, LLC Seattle, WA Sep 27, 2015 $100,000
Executive Chef Mc Miami Enterprises, LLC Miami Beach, FL Nov 17, 2015 $95,272
Executive Sous Chef Setai Hotel Acquisition LLC Miami Beach, FL Sep 02, 2015 $93,600
Executive Sous Chef Setai Hotel Acquisition LLC Miami Beach, FL Dec 09, 2016 $90,355
Executive Sous Chef SMB Management LLC Miami Beach, FL Apr 23, 2015 $90,000
Executive Sous Chef SMB Management LLC Miami Beach, FL Jul 10, 2015 $90,000
Executive Chef Rubys 3Rd St. LLC Los Angeles, CA Jul 30, 2016 $90,000
Specialty Indian Executive Chef Amber India Enterprise, Inc. San Jose, CA Jun 09, 2016 $70,000
Executive Chef Misoya (Ny) Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $67,413
Executive Chef/Mediterranean Specialty RIZE Market LLC DBA Gourmetpark New York, NY Jul 10, 2015 $66,518
Italian Executive Chef MacElleria Restaurant Inc. New York, NY Apr 10, 2015 $66,518
Executive Chef Moulin LLC DBA Moulin Bistro CAFE & Bakery Newport Beach, CA Mar 06, 2016 $66,000
Executive Catering Chef Iavarone Brothers Wantagh, NY Aug 03, 2016 $65,894
Specialty Executive Chef Amber India Corporation San Francisco, CA Sep 24, 2015 $65,000
Executive Chef Gerasimos Enterprises, Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2015 $65,000
Executive Chef PJ Honolulu, LLC Urban Honolulu, HI Mar 13, 2015 $58,760
Executive Chef Curzon Hospitality, Inc. Newport Beach, CA Sep 09, 2015 $58,436
Executive Chef, Thai Cuisine SIAM Group, Inc. Newton, MA Sep 03, 2015 $58,115
Executive Chef Casa Tua Management LLC Miami Beach, FL Mar 23, 2016 $58,000
Executive Chef Old Lisbon Restaurant & Bar, LLC Miami, FL May 10, 2016 $57,500
Executive Chef-Sushi Restaurant Japanese Restaurant 'Shima' Inc. Hialeah, FL Dec 19, 2016 $57,283
Executive Chef Rudraaksh LLC Washington, DC Jan 20, 2016 $57,096
Executive Chef Muskan, Inc. Birmingham, AL Feb 09, 2016 $56,500 -

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Top Skills for An Executive Chef


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Top Executive Chef Skills

  1. Menu Development
  2. Kitchen Operations
  3. Banquet Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Partnered with the culinary leadership which streamlined the overall menu development and approval process.
  • Oversee all kitchen operations in a high volume setting, including quality, execution and financial responsibility.
  • Garden Manor Banquet Facility, Aberdeen, NJ * Sous Chef, 1993-1998
  • Have consulted 4 independent restaurants having food cost and quality control issues.
  • Created menus Controlled food and labor costs

Top Executive Chef Employers

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