What Does it Take to Be a Chef or Head Cook?
Occupation Description Direct and may participate in the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.
Life As a Chef: What Do They Do?
- Demonstrate new cooking techniques or equipment to staff.
- Prepare and cook foods of all types, either on a regular basis or for special guests or functions.
- Instruct cooks or other workers in the preparation, cooking, garnishing, or presentation of food.
- Analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, based on food, labor, and overhead costs.
- Record production or operational data on specified forms.
- Arrange for equipment purchases or repairs.
Things a Chef Should Know How to Do
When polled, Chefs and Head Cooks say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Management of Personnel Resources: Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Cake Maker
- Cake Mixer
- Banquet Chef
- Kitchen Chef
- Cook Manager
Job Outlook for Chefs and Head Cooks
There were about 146,500 jobs for Chef or Head Cook in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 9.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 14,100 new jobs for Chef or Head Cook by 2026. There will be an estimated 20,300 positions for Chef per year.
The states with the most job growth for Chef are Utah, Arizona, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Maine, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Average Chefs and Head Cooks Salary
The typical yearly salary for Chefs and Head Cooks is somewhere between $26,320 and $81,150.
Chefs and Head Cooks who work in New Jersey, Hawaii, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.
How much do Chefs and Head Cooks make in each U.S. state?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$65,780|
What Tools & Technology do Chefs and Head Cooks Use?
Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Chefs and Head Cooks may use on a daily basis:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Email software
- Delphi Technology
- Internet browser software
- Culinary Software Services ChefTec
- Axxya Systems Nutritionist Pro
- SoftCafe MenuPro
- EGS CALCMENU
- ADP eTIME
- Menu planning software
- ReServe Interactive
- Sage MAS 90 ERP
- GNOME Gnutrition
- IPro Restaurant Inventory, Recipe & Menu Software
- Barrington Software CookenPro Commercial
Becoming a Chef
Are there Chefs and Head Cooks education requirements?
What work experience do I need to become a Chef?
Who Employs Chefs and Head Cooks?
Below are examples of industries where Chefs and Head Cooks work:
Other Jobs You May be Interested In
Career changers with experience as a Chef or Head Cook sometimes find work in one of the following fields:
Image Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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