The executive chef, also known as the executive chef or chef manager, is the person in charge of the kitchen. Everything that goes out of the kitchen is the responsibility of the executive chef in the eyes of the employer; therefore, it is essential for the person with this job to be able to maintain complete control of the kitchen at all times and to command the respect of his or her kitchen staff.
Executive chefs are found in a wide variety of work settings, from tiny restaurant kitchens staffed by a handful of chefs to large industrial kitchens staffed by a large number of chefs, culinary assistants, and apprentices. In all work settings, however, an executive chef must be able to spot problems and resolve them quickly and efficiently, maintain a level head, and delegate many kitchen tasks simultaneously.
An executive chef is also charged with maximizing the productivity of the kitchen staff, as well as managing the sous chef and chef de partie, whom are directly below them in the chef’s chain of command.
Maintaining impeccable personal hygiene as well as high work and safety standards in the workplace is incredibly important for all chefs, and the executive chef is expected to set an example for the chefs below him or her. An executive chef will have worked their way up the kitchen hierarchy in many different chef roles before assuming this particular chef title.
An executive chef has a huge range of duties and responsibilities within the kitchen. The most important of these is to ensure that quality culinary dishes are served on schedule and to see that any problems that arise are rectified. As such, the executive chef is responsible for approving all prepared food items that leave his or her kitchen.
When the restaurant is not occupied with actively serving patrons, as in between meal times, the executive chef is expected to modify and create new menus as needed so that they remain effective for the purposes for the restaurant or other establishment. The executive chef may also be called upon to use this time to create a wide variety of new dishes for his or her kitchen. In addition, the head chef also performs many administrative duties, including ordering supplies and reporting to the head of the establishment.
Starting salaries for executive chefs range from $30,000 to $60,000 or higher depending on the experience level of the executive chef and the size of the employer. To reach the higher end of the pay scale, a head chef will typically need to have accrued at least 20 years of professional experience as a chef.