A restaurant works with different people managing and running it. One chef cannot handle all the responsibilities of running the restaurant. That is where the sous chef comes in. Big restaurants like Marea in New York City have a sous chef. But what is a sous chef? Don’t worry because we will share what a sous chef does and how you can be one.
What is a Sous Chef?
You must have heard something about sous chef, and it made you wonder how it differs from a chef. If you want to know what is a sous chef, then you came to the right place. Sous Chef or Sous Chef de Cuisine is the term used for the second-in-command chef in the restaurant. The head chef or executive chef has the overall control of the restaurant, but of course, they cannot manage everything every day. That’s where the sous chef comes in.
The sous chef is the right-hand man of the executive chef. The sous chef can do the responsibility of the head chef to help in running the restaurant. Sous chefs can hire and train staff, coordinate with the management or cook in the kitchen.
Responsibilities of a Sous Chef
As a sous chef, there are many things you can do in the restaurant to help your executive chef. To know more about what is a sous chef, let us check each responsibility a sous chef can take. Some sous chefs do all of this stuff but not every time. Others can do some of this stuff now and then.
Running the Kitchen
Most executive or head chef does not stick inside the restaurants every day, so they need someone to oversee the daily operation of the kitchen. Sous chefs should know every function of the kitchen, so they know what they have to check. A sous chef needs the ability to think on their feet to resolve any problems that will arise while the head chef is out.
One of the responsibilities a sous chef can take is hiring the staff. Running a restaurant is not easy, and you need as much help as you need to do it successfully. The head chef is busy with many things, and sometimes, he just doesn’t have the time to hire to do other tasks like hiring staff. One thing a sous chef can do is to do the hiring process. Interview possible applicants, do the tests necessary, and coordinate with the management for the hiring.
As the sous chef, you are already capable of determining the right criteria for hiring someone to be part of the kitchen crew. You still need to get the final approval of the head chef for the final decision, but at least the whole process is off his shoulder.
Training the staff is also a necessary job that a sous chef can do instead of the head chef. The sous chef needs to train the staff properly to do the tasks required to help the head chef. A sous chef should be confident that all of the restaurant staff can do their respective jobs because they know that the team is properly trained. Discipline is also part of training the staff. The sous chef also implements some disciplinary actions against anyone who fails to do their job.
Coordinating With Management
The sous chef can also coordinate with the management. Overseeing the restaurant’s day-to-day operations, you will know most of the needs of the staff, the equipment needed, the tools you need, ingredients to buy like pasta or condiments for cooking, and all other stuff you need to coordinate with the management. This can also be part of your job since this will make the head chef’s life easier.
Requirements to be a Sous Chef
Now that we know the responsibilities of being a sous chef, the next step in knowing what is a sous chef is to know how you can be one. Being a sous chef is not easy, so there are some things you need to have before becoming a sous chef. Here are some requirements that can help you in becoming a sous chef.
Kitchen skills are necessary for being a sous chef since you are still a chef, after all. Doing your job requires you to know everything that is happening in the kitchen. You cannot oversee the daily operation of the kitchen if you don’t know what you are looking at. You also cannot train the staff if you don’t know what to teach them.
Since sous chefs are the last step before being a head chef, you must have wide knowledge about the kitchen and vast experience in the restaurant industry. Having great kitchen skills definitely helps in becoming a sous chef.
In this job, you are dealing with a lot of types of people. You need to be able to deal with all of them because you will have a hard time doing your job if you cannot deal with them. Some of the people you have to deal with are the head chef, the management, your staff, and the customers.
The head chef can request some things from you, and since he is your boss, you have to deal with his work-related requests. Work politics cannot be avoided, especially when dealing with management. Requesting new equipment like new coffee machines can be difficult if you don’t get along well with your bosses. The staff needs to have a good relationship with you so you can deal with them properly. Treat them fairly even during punishments, so they know that you are just doing your job of disciplining them. Lastly, you have to deal with customers properly to avoid bad images for the restaurant.
We hope this article answered some of your questions regarding what is a sous chef. Being a sous chef can be a daunting job since it is one step closer to becoming the head chef. You are trusted with a lot of responsibilities since this can be your test if you can be a head chef someday. Learn more about careers in the food industry here!