In Summary - Sous Chef
The Work - Sous Chef
The Sous Chef is the second in command in a professional kitchen, after the Executive Chef.
S/he answers to the chef, but also has a level of authority over the other kitchen staff.
The terms that relate to cooking and cuisine in a professional setting are usully French. 'Sous' is a French word meaning 'under' - so as the title implies, the Sous Chef works directly under the leader of the kitchen.
If the Chef is unavailable or on a night off, the Sous Chef is in command. The kitchen staff are expected to offer the same respect to the Sous Chef as they would to the Chef.
A Sous Chef may work in the role for several years with the aim of moving up to become an Executive Chef. The role is considered practical training for career progression.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Monitor sanitation practices to ensure that employees follow standards and regulations.
- Check the quality of raw or cooked food products to ensure that standards are met.
- Estimate amounts and costs of required supplies, such as food and ingredients.
- Instruct cooks or other workers in the preparation, cooking, garnishing, or presentation of food.
- Supervise or coordinate activities of cooks or workers engaged in food preparation.
- Inspect supplies, equipment, or work areas to ensure conformance to established standards.
- Order or requisition food or other supplies needed to ensure efficient operation.
- Determine production schedules and staff requirements necessary to ensure timely delivery of services.
- Check the quantity and quality of received products.
- Determine how food should be presented and create decorative food displays.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Developing and Building Teams Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Interests - Sous Chef
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Entry Requirements - Sous Chef
The official entry route for a Sous Chef is through undertaking an apprenticeship.
Pay & Salary - Sous Chef
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 34k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Sous Chef
Employment growth was high for this occupation; while chefs are employed across a variety of sectors, issues in attracting chefs relate to the hospitality sector. Employment permits have been expanded to allow for certain chef occupations. There is also evidence of issues with retention for entry level chefs. There has been a substantial increase in supply in recent years (+80% compared to 2012) but this has not been sufficient to offset demand.
National Skills Bulletin 2018