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Become A Pantry Chef

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Working As A Pantry 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

  • $40,248

    Average Salary

What Does A Pantry 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 A Pantry 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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Pantry Chef Jobs

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Pantry Chef Career Paths

Pantry Chef
Baker Pastry Chef Executive Chef
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Chef Assistant General Manager Restaurant Manager
Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Pastry Chef Chef Dietary Manager
Certified Dietary Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Cook Kitchen Manager Director Of Food And Beverage
Clubhouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Cook Sous Chef Executive Chef
Culinary Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Pastry Chef Kitchen Manager
Dietary Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Baker Sous Chef Restaurant Manager
Director Of Catering
7 Yearsyrs
Chef Head Chef Executive Chef
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Executive Chef Food Service Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
9 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Self-Employed Kitchen Manager
FOH Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Sous Chef Chef Executive Chef
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
General Manager Business Owner Chef
Food Production Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Prep Chef Head Chef Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
9 Yearsyrs
Chef Executive Chef
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Chef/Kitchen Manager Chef Manager Executive Chef
Food Service Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Executive General Sales Manager
General Manager/Partner
7 Yearsyrs
Head Chef Food And Beverage Manager
Hospitality Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Head Chef General Manager Food Service Director
Nutrition Director
7 Yearsyrs
Chef/Kitchen Manager Food Service Director Clinical Dietitian
Nutrition Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sous Chef Executive Chef General Manager
Restaurant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Pantry Chef?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Head Chef 3.0 years
Chef 2.5 years
Sushi Chef 2.4 years
Assistant Chef 2.2 years
Pantry Chef 2.0 years
Line Chef 1.9 years
Prep Chef 1.6 years
Pantry Cook 1.3 years
Salad Chef 1.1 years
Top Employers Before
Line Cook 14.2%
Cook 9.8%
Prep Cook 8.4%
Cashier 7.7%
Chef 6.2%
Sous Chef 5.3%
Server 4.5%
Grill Cook 3.3%
Internship 2.9%
Manager 2.9%
Lead Cook 2.5%
Top Employers After
Line Cook 14.8%
Cook 12.8%
Sous Chef 9.5%
Chef 9.4%
Manager 4.6%
Server 4.3%
Prep Cook 4.1%
Cashier 3.9%
Lead Cook 3.1%
Supervisor 2.1%
Baker 2.1%

Do you work as a Pantry Chef?

Pantry Chef Demographics

Gender

Male

57.3%

Female

41.6%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

63.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.9%

French

8.8%

Italian

8.8%

Japanese

5.9%

Russian

5.9%

Danish

2.9%

Chinese

2.9%

German

2.9%

Polish

2.9%

Thai

2.9%

Sinhala

2.9%
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Pantry Chef Education

Schools

Johnson & Wales University

20.5%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

17.0%

Culinary Institute of America

8.0%

Kaplan University

4.5%

Sullivan University

3.6%

Westmoreland County Community College

3.6%

Indian River State College

3.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.6%

Johnson County Community College

3.6%

University of Phoenix

3.6%

Sinclair Community College

3.6%

Montgomery County Community College

3.6%

University of North Florida

2.7%

Western Washington University

2.7%

Henry Ford College

2.7%

University of Montana

2.7%

The Academy

2.7%

Arizona Culinary Institute

2.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.7%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Art - Portland

2.7%
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Majors

Culinary Arts

42.8%

Business

13.0%

Hospitality Management

6.5%

General Studies

3.7%

Criminal Justice

3.2%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Communication

2.5%

Psychology

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Food And Nutrition

2.3%

Management

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Fine Arts

2.1%

English

2.1%

Marketing

1.9%

Photography

1.6%

Political Science

1.6%

Education

1.4%

Biology

1.4%

History

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

41.2%

Associate

27.9%

Bachelors

22.5%

Certificate

5.4%

Diploma

1.6%

Masters

1.1%

Doctorate

0.3%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Pantry Chef?

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Top Skills for A Pantry Chef

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  1. Salads
  2. Desserts
  3. Kitchen Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created innovative salads, dressing, desserts, and cold sandwiches that catered to a variety of different tastes.
  • Make salads & sandwiches to order * Plate desserts as outlined by company * Clearing and sanitizing tables
  • Clean any kitchen equipment used immediately following its use.
  • Followed recipe directions closely in the preparation of regular menu items.
  • Prepared all foods for day including all desserts, sauces, soups, dressings, salads.

How Would You Rate Working As a Pantry Chef?

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Top Pantry Chef Employers

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Jobs From Top Pantry Chef Employers

Pantry Chef Videos

The Modern Pantry, Fusion Cooking

Seasonal Pantry Chef Daniel O'Brien

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