The sous chef is like the vice president of the kitchen. The sous chef may be second in command to the head chef but without the sous chef the kitchen would not operate efficiently or effectively. While being a sous chef is challenging and rewarding, many people stay in this position for a few years and then move on to become head chefs. Many famous chefs got their start as a sous chef: Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, and Hung Huynh just to name a few.
Sous chefs work under the direction of the head chef. They are familiar with all the activities involved in running a commercial kitchen and can do any of those jobs when required. The sous chefs prepare complex menu items and assist in basic food preparation. They also help to coordinate the duties of the other kitchen staff and servers to ensure that meals are prepared properly and promptly delivered to the customer. The sous chef also works closely with the head chef and management team to develop and implement processes that will help the kitchen to run more effectively and efficiently.
Sous chefs are responsible for so much more than just preparing a great meal. They must be able to multitask effectively in a fast paced environment. A sous chef also needs to be in good physical condition since they are on their feet for their entire shift and are often required to lift and transport items that weigh up to 50 pounds or more. A sous chef must also
- be committed to a high standard of cleanliness and sanitation;
- have good math skills for tracking inventory, ordering accurate amount of ingredients, and adjusting recipes;
- be able to communicate clearly verbally in a hectic environment; and
- have a great sense of taste and smell.