Chef Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Chef, also known as Chef de Cuisine, leads a restaurant kitchen in cooking food for customers. Their duties include creating and cooking meals unique to the restaurant and training and leading a kitchen staff. The Chef is someone capable of preparing uniform dishes. They are also responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. 


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Chef duties and responsibilities

A Chef’s duties depend on the size and style of the restaurant, but in general, important duties for the job and the responsibilities needed to excel include:

  • Preparing the food for cooking
  • Keeping up with industry trends and creating new recipes with the Sous Chef 
  • Reviewing the menu and doing inventory
  • Following the budget set by the Restaurant Manager
  • Ordering food for the kitchen  
  • Monitoring food production and food and staff costs
  • Training staff
  • Managing relationships with distributors and resolving any issues with vendors, promptly
  • Ensuring standard portions and quality of dishes
  • Maintaining a clean and safe kitchen and ensuring sanitation practices in the kitchen


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What does a Chef do?

A Chef is responsible for the dishes that are cooked and prepared at a restaurant. This can involve creating new recipes, or adhering to specific food preparation and standards set by the restaurant and local laws. A Chef also supervises and assigns work in the kitchen and interviews and trains staff. A Chef takes charge of the menu, changing and rotating dishes if necessary and managing the kitchen budget. 


Chef skills and qualifications

Skills and qualifications vary depending on the restaurant, but a successful Chef candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications needed for duties, including:

  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure and time constraints
  • Creativity to create dishes on brand with the restaurant
  • Knowledge of different varieties of foods and ingredients
  • Ability to accept criticism
  • Ability to maintain an extremely sanitary environment while working
  • Communication skills


Chef experience requirements

With restaurant jobs, the more experience a candidate has in the industry, the more qualified they are for the position. A Chef needs experience with food preparation, perhaps as a Line Cook or a Sous Chef. It’s also helpful to have food management experiences having worked as a Restaurant Manager or Kitchen Manager. At the very least, the ideal Chef closer to your hire has an understanding of how to efficiently and safely cook and prepare the type of food served at the particular establishment. 


Chef education and training requirements

There are quite a few ways educational and training requirements can be met for a Chef position. A person without formal education may have started working as a Kitchen Assistant or Commis Chef and worked their way up. They can also do an apprenticeship, which usually requires some GCSEs for an intermediate apprenticeship, or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship.

Some candidates may have completed college or university to study for this position. College courses include Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery, or Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts or a degree from university in Culinary Arts or Professional Cookery. 


Chef salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Chef is £32,190 per year. Chefs usually work a bit above the typical workweek, about 40 to 45 hours. They are also expected to work on weekends and bank holidays. A Chef’s salary is highly dependent on experience, location and company. 


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Chef job description FAQs


What's the difference between a Chef and Sous Chef?

A Sous Chef is the Chef’s second-in-command. Besides assisting the Chef with any necessary tasks, a Sous Chef is usually more involved with the hands-on aspects of food preparation and helping train the Cooks. This allows the Chef more freedom to oversee the entire kitchen and to focus on more details like menu changes, new dish creation and food inventory. 


Who does a Chef report to?

A Chef is a high-level job and usually only reports to the Restaurant Owner, also called a Restaurateur. Depending on the establishment, they may have to coordinate with a Kitchen Manager or Restaurant Manager in regards to scheduling inventory and other administrative tasks. A quality candidate should be prepared to work in either environment and communicate as necessary. 


What qualities make a good Chef?

A Chef is in charge of two important aspects of a restaurant: food quality and presentation. A good candidate has tried and tested methods of preparing an excellent dish. They know what it takes to run a kitchen efficiently and how to create an appetising dish that will satisfy all customers. 


Do Chefs have different responsibilities in different industries?

A Chef’s responsibilities can vary among different industries. The working environment can range from a traditional pub or restaurant, to something as large as an NHS hospital or university campus. A job advertisement needs to be clear about the exact working environment and should attract someone who has worked in a similar venue in some capacity.

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