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A Sous Chef is the culinary chef located just below the executive or head chef in a kitchen’s chain of command. Therefore, the Sous Chef has a vital role in any commercial kitchen. As second-in-command, he/she has a large amount of responsibility in the kitchen.
As seconds in command in a kitchen, Sous-chefs are in charge of making sure all kitchen equipment is in working order. They must thoroughly understand how to use and troubleshoot all appliances and cooking instruments in the event of a malfunctioning cooking device. Sous-chefs are in charge of disciplining any kitchen staff who may have acted against restaurant policy. Incentive programs are commonly used among sous-chefs to encourage their staff to abide by rules and regulations, and motivate them to work efficiently at all times. Under the oversight of the sous-chef, downtime should be used for prepping, cleaning and other kitchen duties.
They are responsible for inventory, product and supply rotation, and menu tasting. Sous-chefs need to be responsive and have the ability to improvise when a problem arises while the restaurant is busy. They must also ensure safety precautions and sanitary provisions are taken to ensure a safe and clean working environment.
1) Planning and directing the preparation and design of all food and drinks menus
As the second in command, the Sous Chef is most often responsible for managing kitchen staff to ensure food is prepared properly. The Sous Chef must be a problem solver, ready to come up with on the spot solutions for problems that may occur in the kitchen.
2) Managing kitchen staff
The Sous Chef will often have the task of ensuring that all kitchen workers are performing at the level required by a professional kitchen. He or she may be asked to discipline workers who are not performing their job correctly or professionally, and may come up with incentives to ensure that workers are putting their best effort forth.
3) Ensuring that the kitchen operates in a timely way that meets the company quality standards
The Sous Chef is responsible for ensuring that food that leaves the kitchen is of the highest quality and will make diners happy. The Sous Chef will often be asked to ensure that portions are correct and the food is plated in an attractive manner.
Like most chefs, a Sous Chef is no different and the hours can be 40-60 hours per week, normally carried out over split service shifts covering breakfast/lunch and dinner service.
What can you expect to earn being a Sous Chef? The position of Sous Chef has a great deal of responsibilities and as a key part of the team you will spend most of your time cooking and preparing food in the kitchen.
Sous Chef salaries will vary depending on experience in the kitchen, but will typically be in the region of £19,000 to £25,000 per year depending on experience. As of July 2017, the average salary for a Sous Chef in the UK is £21,358 (Source: PayScale). If you have graduated or have a culinary degree and high skill set with lots of experience you will be in high demand and hit the higher end of the salary bracket. It also depends largely on the type of restaurant you are working for and the available budget they have.