Some people think the words "chef" and "cook" mean the same thing, but in the restaurant world, there's a big difference. Chefs are more highly skilled and better trained than most cooks, and have more responsibility for designing the meals that make a restaurant's reputation. But it's not just about the food. This job requires good organizational and management skills. Sometimes called a head cook, the chef supervises the entire kitchen staff and keeps track of supplies and schedules. A chef should have a highly refined and inventive sense of taste. He or she creates the menu items and often prices them too. Advancing in this field may depend as much on limiting food costs and supervising less-skilled workers, as it does on creating a memorable menu. To keep things running smoothly in a hot, noisy kitchen, chefs need to be expert multi-taskers. The work is fast-paced and a missed detail can result in time lost and wasted food, not to mention an unhappy customer. Chefs are on their feet for hours at a time, often working evenings, weekends and holidays. While many cooks learn skills on the job, chefs and head cooks usually hold degrees in the culinary arts from a recognized cooking school. Many employers look for safe food handling certificates as well. Chefs advance by moving to new jobs and learning new skills, sometimes opening their own restaurants. And while only a few ever get their own cooking show, they're always delighted to accept your compliments.
What they do:
Direct and may participate in the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.
On the job, you would:
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.
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Education and Training
teaching and course design
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
talking to others
changing what is done based on other people's actions
understanding people's reactions
managing your time and the time of other people
selecting and managing the best workers for a job
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
Barrington Software CookenPro Commercial
Analytical or scientific software
IPro Restaurant Inventory, Recipe & Menu Software
associate's degree or certificate after high school usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:
Baker (Hotel and Restaurant)
Chief, Cook (Water Transportation)
Cook, Pastry (Hotel & Restaurant)
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.