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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

  • $59,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Executive Chef Do

Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.

Duties

Chefs and head cooks typically do the following:

  • Check the freshness of food and ingredients
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of cooks and other food preparation workers
  • Develop recipes and determine how to present dishes
  • Plan menus and ensure the 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 an 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. Some chefs use scheduling and purchasing software to help them in their administrative tasks.

Chefs who run their own restaurant or catering business are often busy with kitchen and office work. Some chefs use social media to promote their business by advertising new menu items or addressing customer reviews.

The following are examples of types of chefs and head cooks:

Executive chefs, head cooks, and chefs de cuisine are responsible primarily 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. Some executive chefs primarily handle administrative tasks and may spend less time in the kitchen.

Sous chefs are a kitchen’s second-in-command. They supervise the restaurant’s cooks, prepare meals, and report results to the head chefs. In the absence of the head chef, sous chefs run the kitchen.

Private household chefs typically work full time for one client, such as a corporate executive, university president, or diplomat, who regularly entertains as part of his or her official duties.

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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.

Education

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.

Training

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 Career Paths

Executive Chef
Kitchen Manager General Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Kitchen Manager Manager General Manager
Regional General Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Kitchen Manager Restaurant Manager
Restaurant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Manager Store Manager
Multi-Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Owner/Manager General Manager
Operating Partner
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Sales Manager Store Manager
General Manager In Training
5 Yearsyrs
Chef Manager Food Service Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Restaurant Manager Catering Manager
Director Of Catering
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Store Manager Service Manager
Culinary Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Food Service Manager Dietary Manager
Certified Dietary Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Restaurant Manager Food Service Manager
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Food Production Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Food And Beverage Manager
Clubhouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager District Manager Food Service Director
Nutrition Director
7 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Food Service Manager Dietary Manager
Nutrition Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Office Manager Practice Manager
Hospitality Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Supervisor District Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Cook Food Service Supervisor
Cafeteria Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Operations Manager General Manager Of Operations
Consultant General Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Owner Owner And Sales
Restaurant Owner
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Executive Chef 6.0 years
Chef/Owner 5.4 years
Chef Manager 3.7 years
Head Chef 3.2 years
Chef/Catering 2.9 years
Sous Chef 2.9 years
Pastry Chef 2.9 years
Chef De Cuisine 2.8 years
Banquet Chef 2.7 years
Chef 2.6 years
Culinary Chef 2.6 years
Sushi Chef 2.5 years
Assistant Chef 2.3 years
Chef De Partie 2.3 years
Line Chef 2.1 years
Kitchen Chef 2.1 years
Prep Chef 1.7 years
Top Careers Before Executive Chef
Sous Chef 26.4%
Chef 15.2%
Line Cook 8.3%
Cook 4.2%
Head Chef 2.5%
Internship 2.1%
Chef/Owner 2.1%
Lead Cook 2.0%
Top Careers After Executive Chef
Chef 17.7%
Sous Chef 14.3%
Chef/Owner 4.2%
Line Cook 2.7%
Owner 2.5%
Head Chef 2.4%
Cook 2.3%
Consultant 2.1%

Do you work as an Executive Chef?

Executive Chef Demographics

Gender

Male

80.1%

Female

11.9%

Unknown

8.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

7.9%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.2%

French

22.1%

Italian

16.2%

German

3.9%

Japanese

3.1%

Chinese

2.7%

Thai

1.9%

Portuguese

1.5%

Arabic

1.4%

Korean

0.8%

Russian

0.8%

Hawaiian

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Mandarin

0.5%

Irish

0.5%

Turkish

0.4%

Dutch

0.4%

Cantonese

0.4%

Hebrew

0.4%

Polish

0.4%
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Executive Chef Education

Schools

Culinary Institute of America

33.2%

Johnson & Wales University

27.8%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

5.1%

Arizona Culinary Institute

4.1%

New England Culinary Institute

3.4%

The Academy

2.5%

French Culinary Institute

2.5%

Baltimore International College

2.4%

Sullivan University

2.1%

University of Phoenix

2.0%

Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago

2.0%

Art Institute of Atlanta

1.9%

Kendall College

1.8%

Johnson County Community College

1.7%

Art Institute of Houston

1.4%

New York Law School

1.3%

Cornell University

1.3%

Schoolcraft College

1.2%

Florida International University

1.2%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts - Scottsdale

1.2%
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Majors

Culinary Arts

57.6%

Business

9.6%

Hospitality Management

8.6%

Management

4.1%

Health Care Administration

3.6%

Food And Nutrition

3.4%

Education

2.0%

Criminal Justice

1.2%

General Studies

1.0%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Communication

0.9%

Accounting

0.9%

Entertainment Business

0.8%

English

0.8%

Fine Arts

0.8%

Psychology

0.8%

Food Science

0.8%

Marketing

0.7%

Finance

0.7%

History

0.7%
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Degrees

Associate

35.5%

Other

32.5%

Bachelors

19.7%

Certificate

5.9%

Masters

3.3%

Diploma

2.5%

Doctorate

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$59,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$35,000
Min 10%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$97,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Radisson Hotel
Highest Paying City
Denver, CO
Highest Paying State
Colorado
Avg Experience Level
5.6 years
How much does an Executive Chef make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Executive Chef in the United States is $59,141 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $35,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $97,000.

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
Executive Chef Entre Amis, LLC Seattle, WA Sep 27, 2015 $100,000
Executive Chef Columbia Hospitality, Inc. Snoqualmie, WA Feb 26, 2015 $100,000
Latin [Cuisine] Executive Chef Botika, LLC San Antonio, TX Dec 13, 2016 $100,000
Executive Chef/Cantonese Hakkasan Holdings, LLC San Francisco, CA Oct 25, 2016 $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
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
Executive Chef Success Foods LLC Orlando, FL Nov 07, 2016 $65,000
Executive Chef Gerasimos Enterprises, Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2015 $65,000
Specialty Executive Chef Amber India Corporation San Francisco, CA Sep 24, 2015 $65,000
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 -
$60,000
Executive Chef & Manager Ranazul LLC Fulton, MD Sep 28, 2015 $56,400

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Top Skills for An Executive Chef

  1. Menu Items
  2. Food Safety
  3. Kitchen Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Researched culinary heritage of ingredients for recipes, evaluated recipes for menu items.
  • Participate in developing and implementing policies and procedures for smooth operations and food safety.
  • Preformed daily inventory, and kitchen equipment inspection.
  • Managed multiple locations, including banquet facility, restaurant, catering department.
  • Prepare and administer budgets, covering food, beverage and labor costs and analyze/identify opportunities for reduction in operating costs.

What is it like to work as an Executive Chef

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Being an executive chef

March 27, 2019 on Zippia

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Executive Chef.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Executive Chef?

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Lazy workers who do not care about the products that they are working with and their teammates.. Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Executive Chefs

  1. Hawaii
  2. Nevada
  3. Tennessee
  4. Wyoming
  5. Delaware
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. District of Columbia
  8. New York
  9. Illinois
  10. Alaska
  • (36 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (253 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (328 jobs)
  • (220 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)

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