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Become A Sous Chef

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Working As A Sous 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

  • $52,758

    Average Salary

What Does A Sous Chef Do

A Sous Chef helps in the preparation and design of all food and drinks menus. They supervise and organize kitchen stock and ingredients, and keep cooking stations stocked.

How To Become A Sous 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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Sous Chef jobs

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Sous Chef Career Paths

Sous Chef
Assistant General Manager Kitchen Manager Executive Chef
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Chef Director Of Food And Beverage
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Director Of Food And Beverage Assistant General Manager Restaurant Manager
Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Food And Beverage Manager Catering Manager
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Banquet Chef Kitchen Manager Dietary Manager
Certified Dietary Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant General Manager Restaurant Manager Catering Manager
Director Of Catering
7 Yearsyrs
Chef Head Chef Executive Chef
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Chef Manager Food Service Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
10 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Manager Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Executive Chef General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Banquet Chef Chef Executive Chef
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Food Prep Food Service Manager
Food Production Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Chef De Cuisine Executive Chef
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Chef/Catering Chef Executive Chef
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Chef Executive Chef
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Night Auditor Assistant General Manager
Multi-Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Manager Sales Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Chef Manager General Manager Area Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Restaurant Manager Director Of Food And Beverage Assistant General Manager
Restaurant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
General Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Sous Chef Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Japanese

  • Chinese

  • Portuguese

  • Korean

  • Thai

  • Arabic

  • Mandarin

  • Hawaiian

  • Russian

  • Vietnamese

  • Dutch

  • Cantonese

  • Hindi

  • Greek

  • Polish

  • Swedish

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Sous Chef Education

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Real Sous Chef Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Exectuive Sous Chef Hakkasan NYC, LLC New York, NY Jan 03, 2013 $110,000
Sous Chef David Bouley LLC New York, NY May 16, 2016 $80,000
Sous Chef Tutto II Giorno II D/B/A Tutto Il Giorno Sag Harbor, NY Oct 05, 2011 $71,906
Sous Chef Founding Farmers LLC Washington, DC Jan 07, 2015 $70,000
Sous Chef Wellfleet Harbor Seafood Company Wellfleet, MA Jul 14, 2016 $67,891
Sous Chef Astor Chocolate Lakewood, NJ Jan 08, 2016 $65,000
Assistant Kitchen Manager/Sous Chef Chefs Choice, LLC Orem, UT Apr 07, 2015 $60,091
Sous Chef Sagome Aspen, CO Sep 17, 2013 $60,000
Senior Sous Chef Fontainebleau Florida Hotel, LLC Miami Beach, FL Sep 01, 2014 $60,000
Sous Chef Don Miller Development Corporation Bradenton, FL Jan 12, 2015 $58,053
Sous Chef Five Leaves New York, NY Oct 05, 2016 $58,000
Sous Chef 18 Bedford Ave LLC New York, NY Oct 05, 2016 $58,000
Pakistani Sous-Chef NAAN-N-Curry LLC Renton, WA Feb 16, 2016 $56,451
Pakistani Sous-Chef NAAN-N-Curry LLC Renton, WA May 20, 2016 $56,451
Sous Chef Washington Place LLC DBA Blue Hill New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $51,604 -
Sous Chef SMB Management LLC Miami, FL Sep 12, 2014 $51,272
Sous Chef 103W77 Partners, LLC New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $51,236
Sous Chef 116 West Houston Street LLC New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $51,064 -
Hotel Sous Chef (Assistant Manager, Culinary Opera Sheraton Operating Corp Dana Point, CA Mar 01, 2011 $50,533
Sous Chef Gaylord Entertainment Nashville, TN Jul 26, 2012 $50,360
Sous Chef Gaylord Entertainment Nashville, TN Nov 13, 2011 $50,360
Sous Chef SMB Management LLC Miami, FL Sep 27, 2013 $50,003
Sous Chef 603 N La Cienega LLC West Hollywood, CA Nov 01, 2014 $45,000
Sous Chef Amber India Corporation San Francisco, CA Jul 01, 2013 $45,000 -
Specialty Sous Chef Fontainebleau Florida Hotel, LLC Miami Beach, FL Oct 01, 2011 $45,000
Pastry Sous Chef The Dinex Group, LLC New York, NY Sep 03, 2014 $45,000 -
Pastry Sous Chef MGM Grand Hotel, LLC Las Vegas, NV Oct 01, 2011 $45,000
Sous Chef FCLA LP Los Angeles, CA Jun 01, 2012 $45,000
Sous Chef Setai Hotel Acquisition LLC Miami Beach, FL Feb 09, 2016 $45,000

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Top Skills for A Sous Chef


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Top Sous Chef Skills

  1. Kitchen Operations
  2. Banquet Functions
  3. Food Preparation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed kitchen operations, trained new employees, used various kitchen equipment, completed inventory and meal preparation
  • Executed plated meal banquet functions for up to 1,600 attendees and buffet / reception style for more than 2,000.
  • Line cooking at the bistro, hosting wine dinners, food preparation and leading all banquet events.
  • Prepared and executed lunch and dinner service.
  • Reduced food cost from 40% to 26% troubleshoot for guest concerns

Top Sous Chef Employers

Sous Chef Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Sous Chef by Steven T (Highlights)

Becoming a Top Chef : How to Become a Sous Chef

Career Advice on becoming a Sous Chef by Craig B (Full Version)