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.
Chef’s and head cook’s frequently 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
The job outlook for chefs is 9%, which is faster than average. This number represents the amount of growth in the number of jobs for chefs through 2024.
Chefs and head cooks work in restaurants, private households, and other establishments where food is served. They often work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic and fast paced. Most chefs and head cooks work full time.
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.
The median annual wage for chefs and head cooks was $41,610 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $73,720.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics