Duties & responsibilities of head chef

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Duties & responsibilities of head chef
Head chefs are usually employed in hotels or restuarants. (Restaurant image by René Schulz from Fotolia.com)

A head chef oversees kitchen activity in a restaurant or hotel. Head chefs are also employed by country clubs, on cruise ships and in leisure resorts. A head chef manages food inventories, rotates food menus and monitors kitchen staff, offering guidance to staff if they are failing to perform their duties efficiently. Candidates for head chef positions typically have extensive kitchen experience and have often attended culinary school. The average salary of a head chef as of July 2010 was £22,100, according to Simply Hired.


A head chef ensures kitchen cooking utensils, such as knives, plates and pans, are available to kitchen staff. Head chefs also make sure all necessary ingredients for a wide range of meals are fully stocked. A head chef deals with suppliers, controls stock levels and documents revenue and expenditure to ensure budgetary targets are met.


A head chef selects dishes for the menu and decides which “specials” to promote to customers. Head chefs decide how frequently to change the set menu, the portions of food provided and the price of each item.

Staff Supervision

A head chef is tasked with recruiting and dismissing staff as required, as stated on the Career Builder Salary website. Head chefs also document staff timesheets and payroll records and work alongside restaurant managers to ensure good working relations are maintained between kitchen and table waiting staff. They evaluate work schedules on a daily basis and distribute key tasks to kitchen and waiting staff. A head chef also makes sure all kitchen activity is performed within health and safety standards.

Customer Satisfaction

A head chef assesses the likely number of guests for each day, the likely popularity of different dish types and the food preparation time. Head chefs oversee the preparation of food and ensures they match menu specifications in terms of garnishes and arrangement, as stated on the Sample Job Descriptions website. Head chefs also ensure any specific customer requests for food preparation (i.e. a rare or well done steak dish) are met.

Personal Requirements

A head chef should be passionate about food and have a broad knowledge of different food preparations. Head chefs also require excellent communication skills to guide staff on their duties, field queries from the public on food quality and submit reports to management on kitchen expenditure and staff performance. A head chef should also have organizational skills to effectively manage work schedules and should work well within a fast-paced and pressurised environment.

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