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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

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $39,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Sous 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 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.

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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Sous Chef Career Paths

Sous Chef
Executive Chef General Manager
Director Of Food And Beverage
9 Yearsyrs
Executive Chef Kitchen Manager Restaurant Manager
Restaurant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Chef Kitchen Manager Store Manager
Multi-Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Chef Consultant General Manager
Operating Partner
8 Yearsyrs
Chef Consultant Store Manager
General Manager In Training
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager General Manager
Consultant General Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Driver Field Service Technician Service Manager
Culinary Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Team Leader Assistant Director
Director Of Catering
6 Yearsyrs
Corporate Trainer Store Manager Food Service Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
9 Yearsyrs
Corporate Trainer Kitchen Manager Dietary Manager
Certified Dietary Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Corporate Trainer Restaurant Manager Food Service Manager
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Chef/Catering Lead Line Cook Restaurant Manager
Hospitality Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Chef/Catering Lead Cook Food Service Manager
Food Production Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Chef/Catering Lead Cook Food Service Director
Nutrition Director
7 Yearsyrs
Pastry Chef Assistant Lead Cook Dietary Manager
Nutrition Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Corporate Executive Chef Chef/Kitchen Manager Food And Beverage Manager
Clubhouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Senior Technician Specialist Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Corporate Executive Chef Chef/Kitchen Manager Food Service Manager
General Service Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Corporate Executive Chef Chef/Kitchen Manager Bakery Manager
Cafeteria Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Culinary Arts Instructor Owner Owner And Sales
Restaurant Owner
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Executive Chef 5.6 years
Chef Instructor 3.4 years
Head Chef 3.2 years
Sous Chef 3.0 years
Cooking Chef 2.9 years
Chef/Catering 2.9 years
Pastry Chef 2.9 years
Chef De Cuisine 2.8 years
Banquet Chef 2.7 years
Culinary Chef 2.6 years
Chef 2.6 years
Sushi Chef 2.5 years
Chef De Partie 2.3 years
Assistant Chef 2.3 years
Kitchen Chef 2.1 years
Line Chef 2.1 years
Prep Chef 1.7 years
Pantry Chef 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Sous Chef
Line Cook 19.6%
Chef 11.2%
Cook 10.2%
Lead Cook 4.2%
Internship 3.2%
Prep Cook 2.9%
Head Chef 2.5%
Manager 1.8%
Top Careers After Sous Chef
Chef 14.1%
Line Cook 8.2%
Cook 5.9%
Head Chef 3.6%
Lead Cook 2.5%
Chef/Owner 2.0%
Manager 1.9%

Do you work as a Sous Chef?

Average Yearly Salary
$39,000
Show Salaries
$28,000
Min 10%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Sous Chef make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Sous Chef in the United States is $39,172 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $28,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $54,000.

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
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 May 20, 2016 $56,451
Pakistani Sous-Chef NAAN-N-Curry LLC Renton, WA Feb 05, 2016 $56,451
Sous Chef Washington Place LLC DBA Blue Hill New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $51,604 -
$60,000
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 -
$60,000
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 and Culinary Manager RAME, LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $50,000
Sous Chef Second Wind Programs Inc. CA Apr 15, 2013 $44,349
Sous Chef Dc Cap Hotelier, LLC Washington, DC Sep 17, 2015 $44,200
Sous Chef Seaboard Associates Limited Partnership Key West, FL Oct 01, 2012 $43,910
Sous Chef Le Mistral LLC Houston, TX Jan 01, 2014 $43,000
Sous Chef Le Mistral Ltd. Houston, TX Jan 01, 2011 $43,000
Sous Chef The Club at Admirals Cove Jupiter, FL Jun 02, 2015 $42,867
Pastry Sous Chef (Chefs and Head Cooks) The Dinex Group, LLC New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $42,575 -
$52,175

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Top Skills for A Sous Chef

  1. Kitchen Areas
  2. Food Preparation
  3. Banquet Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Inspected the daily maintenance and work order logs of the dining facility to include kitchen areas and dry storage areas.
  • Job included assisting and overseeing food preparation, implementing new safety and sanitation practices and organizing employees for services.
  • Prepared menus for banquet facility with capacity of 500
  • Orchestrated recipe/menu development based on guest trends/preferences/and seasonal considerations.
  • Prepared/organized weekly and daily preparation and execution of dinner service and events.

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Top 10 Best States for Sous Chefs

  1. Wisconsin
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Delaware
  5. Connecticut
  6. New Jersey
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Minnesota
  9. Nevada
  10. Indiana
  • (158 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (299 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (235 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)
  • (124 jobs)

Sous Chef Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 44,162 Sous Chef resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Sous Chef Resume

View Resume Examples

Sous Chef Demographics

Gender

Male

75.2%

Female

16.5%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.4%

French

18.7%

Italian

12.5%

German

4.2%

Japanese

2.8%

Chinese

2.1%

Portuguese

1.9%

Arabic

1.7%

Thai

1.3%

Russian

1.1%

Korean

1.0%

Mandarin

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Cantonese

0.6%

Hawaiian

0.5%

Hebrew

0.5%

Tagalog

0.4%

Hindi

0.3%

Dutch

0.3%

Filipino

0.3%
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Sous Chef Education

Schools

Johnson & Wales University

27.6%

Culinary Institute of America

24.1%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

9.4%

Arizona Culinary Institute

4.3%

New England Culinary Institute

4.0%

The Academy

3.3%

French Culinary Institute

2.9%

Art Institute of Atlanta

2.5%

Sullivan University

2.4%

Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago

2.3%

University of Phoenix

2.2%

Baltimore International College

2.2%

Kendall College

2.1%

Art Institute of Houston

1.8%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts - Scottsdale

1.8%

Johnson County Community College

1.5%

Culinary Academy of Austin

1.5%

The Institute of Culinary Education School

1.4%

New York Law School

1.4%

Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College

1.4%
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Majors

Culinary Arts

58.1%

Business

9.0%

Hospitality Management

7.6%

Management

3.5%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Food And Nutrition

2.8%

General Studies

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Education

1.5%

Psychology

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.1%

English

1.1%

Accounting

1.1%

Computer Science

1.0%

Communication

1.0%

Fine Arts

0.9%

Entertainment Business

0.9%

History

0.9%

Graphic Design

0.8%

Political Science

0.7%
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Degrees

Associate

35.5%

Other

31.5%

Bachelors

20.7%

Certificate

6.6%

Diploma

3.0%

Masters

2.3%

License

0.2%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Top Sous Chef Employers

Jobs From 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)

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