In every high-end restaurant, there must be a head chef. Think of them as the conductor of an orchestra. They provide instructions to each staff and direct them on what to do. Just like a conductor is able to direct his orchestra to make beautiful music, the head chef’s role is to get his kitchen staff to work together. So when lunch or dinner shift, everyone is able to work harmoniously in the kitchen to create memorable meals for customers.

In 2020, the head chef workforce reached 112,391. This field should continue to grow as restaurants return to normal operations. Head chefs may not necessarily be limited to big restaurants. They can also be hired as a personal chef to work in households or hired by other businesses in the hospitality like cruise ships or hotels.

If you need to hire a a head chef then you’ll want to get your role published on job boards and sent to recruiters as soon as possible. The current job market is tight for these roles and you can expect things to take a few weeks to fill the role.

Below is a sample template you can use for a head chef job description. Feel free to copy, paste, or edit this description based on your unique requirements.

Introduction

Find the right head chef for the job.

Head chefs direct the cooking operations inside a restaurant. Responsibilities may include making the recipes, teaching line cooks how-to prepare dishes, and improve presentation of plates. They’re in charge of the quality of the food and ensure that everyone practices safe and healthy cooking procedures while working.

Aside from cooking, head chefs have managerial duties. Head chefs manage and supervise the kitchen staff working alongside them. Head Chefs also manage the inventory of their supplies regularly so they order ingredients as needed.

As for their team, the prep cooks answer to the head chef. Before a shift starts, the head chef delegates all food preparation to the team such as what vegetables to chop, seafood to wash, and meats to tenderize. The head chef also coordinates with the servers or waiters and the restaurant manager to provide a smooth day of service inside the restaurant.

Job Description Summary of Head Chef

These are a head chef’s responsibilities.

When you post a job ad, remember to start it off with a summary before getting into the details. Summaries help the applicants understand what your restaurant is all about. From there, prospects can decide if it’s a job they would like to apply for.

Here is an example of a job description summary:

The Sunset Lounge is a restaurant that sits alongside Tahoe Bay specializing in serving the freshest catch with the most beautiful views. For five years it has been a local favorite for having the best and most delicious cuisine and excellent dining service.

We are looking for a head chef to join and lead our team. The head chef must have prior management experience at a restaurant. They must also know how to handle kitchen staff, ensure that safety protocols and health standards are met. Most of all, they must be a team player and leader. Passionate about the job and must have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.

You may not have given out much detail in this summary. But there is enough information in there to dissuade or persuade someone to apply.

Primary Responsibilities for a Head Chef

The head chef has a lot of responsibilities. This is an important hire for any restaurant. These responsibilities also depend on the size and workflow of the establishment.

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To make expectations clear, write down the responsibilities in a bulleted list so the applicant knows what to expect from the job. Below are the primary responsibilities of a head chef:

  • In-charge of the workflow and operations in the kitchen including food preparation and delegation of tasks to prep cooks and other kitchen staff
  • Must train kitchen staff
  • Must provide the highest quality of food and service to the customers
  • Checks the food supplies and inventory
  • Knows how to create recipes and develop dishes
  • Must practice safe and healthy protocols in the kitchen
  • Coordinates with the restaurant manager and waiters regarding stocks and specials for the day

You may add more to this list if your restaurant or establishment has a different workflow for head chefs. But the list above is the basic responsibilities that are expected.

Desired Skills / Role Requirements

It’s also important to list down the skills and requirements you expect your applicants have before they apply for the position of head chef. This role can be considered a top management level position since they’ll be handling the operations as well as a team so there are some qualifications to consider.

Below is a standard list of skills you can expect for a head chef:

  • Minimum 2 years of experience relevant to the position
  • Has a health certificate
  • Knows how to use kitchen equipment
  • Excellent knowledge of food and cooking
  • Knows how to do inventory
  • Has an attention to detail
  • Good communication skills
  • Knows how to train people
  • Can be a leader and a team player
  • Must be passionate about the job

You can also add more to this list such as certain basic cooking certification courses if you like.

Head Chef Sample Job Description Template 

Now that you have the major details down, you can now organize them into a job description that’s ready to be posted on job boards and sent to ad agencies. But to get the big picture, here is a sample job description that you can use as your template. Copy, paste and edit to this sample to your liking.

The Sunset Lounge – Head Chef Position

The Sunset Lounge is a restaurant by the bay that specializes in serving the freshest catch with the most beautiful views. For five years it has been a local favorite for having the best and most delicious cuisine and excellent dining service.

We are looking for a head chef to join us. They must have prior experience in working at a restaurant. They must also know how to handle kitchen staff, ensure that safety protocols and health standards are met, and knows how to create recipes. Most of all, they must be a team player, passionate about the job, and can work in a fast-paced environment.

Head Chef Job Responsibilities:

  • In-charge of the workflow and operations in the kitchen including food preparation and delegation of tasks to prep cooks and other kitchen staff
  • Must train kitchen staff
  • Must provide the highest quality of food and service to the customers
  • Checks the food supplies and inventory
  • Knows how to create recipes and develop dishes
  • Must practice safe and healthy protocols in the kitchen
  • Coordinates with the restaurant manager and waiters regarding stocks and specials for the day

Skills and Experiences:

  • Minimum 2 years of experience relevant to the position
  • Has a health certificate
  • Knows how to use kitchen equipment
  • Excellent knowledge of food and cooking
  • Knows how to do inventory
  • Has an attention to detail
  • Good communication skills
  • Knows how to train people
  • Can be a leader and a team player
  • Must be passionate about the job

Job Type: Full Time

Schedule: Tuesdays to Sundays; 3 pm to 11 pm

Salary rate: $40 per hour

Benefits:

  • Employee discount
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off after a 1-year service (Details will be disclosed once hired)
  • 401 K

Contact information: (insert both your email and number)

Apply now and join us at The Sunset Lounge. Send us your resume at the email address provided with the subject line “Joining the Sunset family!”

Questions to Ask During an Interview

Here are some questions to ask a chef during the interview.

Don’t wait for the replies to come to start preparing for the next step. Get ready with your interview questions so you can have them ready by the time you call in a few applicants.

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Here are some interview questions you can ask prospective head chefs:

    1. Have you ever experienced leading a team before? Tell me what that was like.
    2. What is the most important part of being a head chef?
    3. What is a favorite dish from your original recipe?
    4. If there are miscommunications in the workplace, especially in your kitchen, how would you resolve this issue?
    5. Tell me about a time in your previous job where you experienced a problem and how did you handle it.
    6. Will you be able to work overtime and holidays?
    7. Have you ever made a recipe that was a flop? How did you correct it?
    8. If there is something you can do to improve or change in this kitchen, what would it be?
    9. In your opinion, does food cost affect creating a menu? How?
    10. Have you ever fired someone? Can you tell us how that went?
    11. What is your ideal work team?
    12. Why did you choose to become a chef?
    13. What are your future plans?
    14. How much do you know about dietary requirements and food allergens?
    15. Do you follow food trends?

You may add more questions but keep in mind to make things professional and refrain from asking personal questions about religion, sexual orientation, age, and previous salaries.

Average Salary Job Statistics

Learn more about head chefs with these statistics.

Keep yourself up to date with the key data points about head chefs, including salary expectations.

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  • According to Salary.com, the average hourly wage of a Head Chef is between $29 to $42.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor, these are the roles and responsibilities of a Head Chef:
    • Checking the ingredients and their freshness
    • Supervise cooks and food preparation works
    • Create and develop recipes and how to present these dishes
    • Plan the menus accordingly
    • Ensure the quality of meals
    • Regularly inspects the equipment, supplies, cleanliness of work areas and their functionality
    • Order food supplies and maintain an inventory
    • Follow safety standards in the kitchen and practice sanitation rules
  • There is an estimated 9.62% job growth for Head Chefs.
  • The average age for Head Chefs is 40 years old.
  • There are more male Head Chefs than females.
  • The most common degree for Head Chefs is an associate degree.
  • Most Head Chefs are employed in restaurants, with special food services coming in second and traveler accommodations coming in third.
  • 1.6 million jobs will be added to the restaurant industry in the next 10 years.

Now that you have all the information you need to begin the hiring process for this role. To get the biggest pool of applicants possible be sure to share this job opening far and wide. Post your ad on community boards, share the role with friends, family, and staff. You can also share this on your social media page to let folks know you’re hiring.

Make sure to properly sift through the resumes you receive and read through their skills before calling them in for an interview. I trust this sample job description will help you find the right head chef for your establishment.