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Sous Chef Job Description
The sous chef is second in command in the kitchen, working alongside the executive chef to keep the kitchen running smoothly and all the plates spinning. The term means “under chef” in French. There’s some overlap with the executive chef position — the sous chef, for instance, may take over when the executive chef is off. But the primary responsibility of this position is to handle the day-to-day management of the kitchen. From ordering ingredients to supervising the line cooks, the sous chef gets into the nitty-gritty details to ensure the top toque has everything they need to create delectable dishes. This position oversees all elements of the kitchen “theater,” from the planning stage to the development of recipes and, finally, execution.
Responsibilities include supervising the kitchen team, cooking, creating menus and recipes, scheduling and training employees, and more. Candidates will be well-versed in all aspects of professional kitchens and have extensive experience in different types of restaurants. Most sous chefs have held positions on the line and risen through the ranks through hard work and dedication. While a degree from a culinary school is not required, many sous chefs have at least some professional training.
List of Duties for the Job
Supervise the kitchen team
Long to-do lists, tight turnarounds, and pressing tasks are all part of everyday life for a sous chef. To run a kitchen efficiently, the sous chef must delegate work to the rest of the kitchen team. They are the ones doling out cooking duties to whichever staff they choose and then overseeing each station to ensure that all dishes meet the head chef’s standards of quality. They also organize the cooks' schedules so all services are covered, and they might onboard and train new staff members as well. It’s a significant amount of supervisory responsibility, and sous chef candidates will have strong leadership skills with staff members from various backgrounds and experience levels.
Develop recipes and menus with the head chef
Sous chefs don’t settle for second place; they embrace it and love it! They hold an influential and important role, helping the head chef with many creative decisions. The sous chef works with the head chef to develop recipes, plan menus, and create daily specials. Beyond that, they turn these creative ideas into reality. The sous chef keeps inventory lists, monitors ingredient stocks, and makes sure all the correct pieces are in place for meal service. A sous chef must be creative and organized at the same time so that everything runs smoothly.
In addition to helping with menu development, a sous chef will likely prepare dishes themselves. They need to be familiar with each station in the kitchen, as they often jump in when another staff member is absent. Problem-solving skills are essential for this role as they must find solutions to sudden challenges, even if it means dropping other tasks for a few hours to help with a hectic dinner service.
Ultimately, it’s the sous chef who is responsible for ensuring that nothing goes wrong in the kitchen. The top candidates will possess a deep understanding of safety procedures, and, at the minimum, they typically have a ServSafe certification. They determine whether the kitchen meets health department regulations and follows food safety guidelines. Because sous chefs wear various hats and are constantly pulled in different directions, time management skills are crucial so that essential details, like safety, don’t fall by the wayside.
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Sous Chef Job Description Sample
To make creating a Sous Chef job description easier, here’s a sample you can use.
Job Title: Sous Chef
Salary: $50,000 - $70,000 per year
Tip Income: No
Schedule: Full-time (40 hours per week). Wednesday–Sunday
Role: As Sous Chef, you’ll work closely with the Head Chef to oversee all aspects of our kitchen productivity, from menu development to the budget and schedule. This includes managing our kitchen team, monitoring inventory, and ensuring all dishes are created to the high standards we are known for. We’re seeking candidates with experience in various roles in a professional kitchen who possess the ability to manage large teams effectively.
Prepare food items using various cooking methods. Observe and test food being cooked.
Ensure proper care, maintenance, and sanitation of work areas, equipment, and supplies
Ensure the kitchen operates efficiently and meets standards of quality
Fill in for Executive Chef as needed
Manage and train kitchen staff, coordinate schedules, and oversee their work.
Manage payroll for kitchen staff
Order supplies and stock inventory as needed
Deep knowledge of cooking methods, equipment, ingredients, and procedures
Formal culinary training is a plus
Ability to problem-solve on the spot and give clear directions
Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions
Highlight how the role of the sous chef will positively impact the restaurant. Employees want more than a paycheck; they want to matter to the business.
Clarify between required and preferred skills. Being transparent in your expectations will help attract candidates who will succeed at your business.
Include information about your restaurant or establishment that distinguishes you from all the rest, such as your visions, goals, and values. This will attract candidates aligned with your culture and give them an insight into what’s important to you.
The sous chef plays an important role in the future of your restaurant. Finding the right candidate for such a high-level position can be tricky, so you must have a strong hiring plan in place — including a detailed sous chef job description — before you start looking.
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