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CHEFS AND HEAD COOKS CAREER INFORMATION

Chef


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Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants or other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.

Duties: Chefs and head cooks typically do the following:

  • Check freshness of food and ingredients
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of cooks and other food preparation workers
  • Develop recipes and determine how to present the food
  • Plan menus and ensure uniform serving sizes and quality of meals
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas for cleanliness and functionality
  • Hire, train, and supervise cooks and other food preparation workers
  • Order and maintain inventory of food and supplies needed to ensure efficient operations
  • Monitor sanitation practices and ensure that kitchen safety standards are followed 

Chefs use a variety of kitchen and cooking equipment, including step-in coolers, high-quality knives, meat slicers, and grinders. They also have access to large quantities of meats, spices, and produce. Some chefs use scheduling and purchasing software to help them in their administrative duties.

Chefs might also be a restaurant’s owner. Some may be busy with kitchen and office work and not have time to interact with diners.
The following are types of chefs and head cooks:

  • Executive chefs, head cooks, and chefs de cuisine are primarily responsible for overseeing the operation of a kitchen. They coordinate the work of sous chefs and other cooks, who prepare most of the meals. Executive chefs also have many duties beyond the kitchen. They design the menu, review food and beverage purchases, and often train employees. Some executive chefs are primarily occupied by administrative tasks and spend little time in the kitchen.
  • Sous chefs are a kitchen’s second-in-command. They supervise the restaurant’s cooks, do some meal preparation tasks, and report results to the head chefs. In the absence of the head chef, sous chefs run the kitchen.
  • Personal chefs plan and prepare meals in private homes. They also may order groceries and supplies, serve meals, and wash dishes and utensils. Personal chefs are often self-employed or employed by a private cooking company, preparing food for a variety of customers.  
  • Private household chefs typically work full time for one client, such as a corporate executive, university president, or diplomat, who regularly entertains as part of his or her official duties.

 

OUTLOOK & WAGE DATA

United States

Employment

Percent 
Change

Job Openings

2010

2020

Chefs and Head Cooks

100,600

99,800

-1%

1,800

California

Employment

Percent 
Change

Job Openings

2008

2018

Chefs and Head Cooks

11,500

11,900

+4%

150

Wage Data

Pay
Period

2010

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States

Hourly

$11.18

$14.69

$19.53

$26.13

$34.11

Yearly

$23,300

$30,600

$40,600

$54,400

$70,900

California

Hourly

$13.15

$16.83

$21.33

$27.91

$36.50

Yearly

$27,400

$35,000

$44,400

$58,100

$75,900


Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

Occupation Wages FAQs

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RESOURCES:

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Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Associations

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State and National Trends
Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.
Note: The data for the State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for state data is 2008-2018, while the projections period for national data is 2010-2020.

Occupation Trends FAQs
Employment Trends by Occupation Across States
Compare Employment Trends by Occupation
Employment Trends by Industry and Occupation

 

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National Data Source: 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections

 CA.gov logo State Data Source: 
California Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division

Gainful Employment Data

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Last updated: 6/28/2013 11:33:24 AM