Chefs are in charge of all food offerings in hospitality venues. In smaller cafes, kitchens may only have a few chefs and other members of kitchen staff to help with food preparation, presentation and service. However, as the establishment gets bigger, professional kitchens require a larger team of chefs, kitchen assistants, kitchen porters and other staff to keep everything running efficiently!
The term chef is therefore used widely to describe a variety of roles and specialisms within the kitchen. Most commonly known are the roles of Commis Chef, Grill Chef, Demi Chef, Chef de Partie, Sous Chef and Head Chef. However, kitchens may also have specific Breakfast Chefs, Sushi Chefs, Pizza Chefs, Pastry Chefs and more!
A diverse knowledge of food products, skills and techniques, preparation and presentation can be learnt on the job, and chefs have excellent opportunities for career progression - moving up within their own kitchen, or between venues. Passion for food (and beverage) are a must, as well as the ability to multi-task, work in a team and work well under pressure. Although many key skills overlap between chef roles, more senior chef positions such as the Head Chef also require managerial skills, including HR and accountancy.
In addition to food preparation, chefs of various levels often maintain responsibility for kitchen cleaning, menu and recipe creation, stock taking and ordering, as well as working closely with front of house staff on other administrative tasks that keep the venue running day-to-day.
Dependent on Chef position
Depending on the venue and performance, Chefs can move swiftly through the ranks of a professional kitchen. Progression often flows as follows: Pot Wash/Kitchen Porter > Kitchen Assistant/Commis Chef > Chef de Partie > Sous Chef > Head Chef/Executive Chef.