Executive Sous Chef Job Description

Executive sous chefs run commercial kitchens. They have culinary, leadership, and human resource skills. Along with the executive chef, executive sous chefs do everything necessary to ensure a dining establishment operates at maximum efficiency. This is a job for people who love food. Executive sous chefs are always on their feet and busy throughout their shift. Employed by dining establishments and cruise ships, they may have slightly different responsibilities and areas of knowledge depending on the type of dining establishment. Executive sous chefs generally specialize in a type of cuisine.

Executive sous chefs are second-in-command to executive chefs. They handle more of the operational aspects of the kitchen, such as managing line cooks and waitstaff. They also hire, train, and discipline employees. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for chefs and head cooks, which includes executive sous chefs, is set to rise 10 percent through 2026.


Executive Sous Chef Duties and Responsibilities

Making sure a commercial kitchen operates efficiently involves a mix of culinary and supervisory tasks. We researched dozens of executive sous chef job descriptions to come up with the following list of executive sous chef duties and responsibilities:

Collaborate with Executive Chef on Menu Planning

Executive sous chefs help the executive chef plan the core menu and daily specials based on current food inventory, staff capabilities, and customer feedback.

Supervise Chefs and Food Preparation Workers

Executive sous chefs manage the kitchen employees. They are responsible for giving directives to line cooks, food prep workers, and waitstaff. This involves disciplining workers as necessary.

Enforce All Food Safety Policies and Procedures

Strict food safety and general health policies are set by a national board of food and safety. It is the responsibility of the executive sous chef to make sure all kitchen and waitstaff follow these regulations.

Hire and Train Kitchen Staff

In many dining establishments, there is no official human resource department. Instead, the executive sous chef handles the human resource functions. The executive sous chef is responsible for interviewing and evaluating candidates and training new hires on the establishment’s kitchen rules.

Check Freshness of Food and Maintain Supplies

One of the most important duties of the executive sous chef is creating and following a regular daily routine to check the freshness of all perishable items. This requires a keen attention to detail and strong organizational skills. Executive sous chefs are also responsible for ordering and facilitating the delivery of food and supplies.


Executive Sous Chef Skills

Commercial kitchens are hectic, especially during busy dining hours. Running a commercial kitchen requires successful executive sous chefs to possess the ability to think on their feet and make quick decisions under pressure. Sometimes this means hopping on the line to help out the line cooks or doing other tasks that are technically below their job description. Versatility combined with leadership skills and the ability to remain calm in a chaotic environment are the trademarks of a good executive sous chef. Additionally, executive sous chefs need the following skills to find employment:

  • Collaborating with the executive chef to create menu options and daily specials based on expertise with specific cuisines
  • Managing finances and resources
  • With a strong attention to detail, making sure hygiene and food safety standards are met in all stages of food preparation
  • Following a strict regimen to check freshness of food and ordering supplies as necessary
  • Overseeing the control and maintenance of all equipment and report any damages or malfunctions doing the necessary follow up
  • Displaying good team spirit and organization skills for an efficient flow of production
  • Produce high-quality dishes
  • Create tasting menus for clients interested in contracting the food for different events


Executive Sous Chef Tools of the Trade

Executive sous chefs should familiarize be familiar with the following:

  • Commercial Kitchen Equipment – such as commercial stoves, grills, ovens, fryers, broilers, and other specific machinery used for cooking
  • Computers and computer software programs – MS Office, POS, and restaurant management software to keep in touch with the providers via the internet, to introduce information on the computer, to manage inventory, etc.


Executive Sous Chef Education and Training

Most executive sous chefs complete an associates or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from a school accredited by the American Culinary Foundation. They learn all of the basic culinary techniques, as well as advanced techniques relevant to their specialization. They also receive a fair amount of on-the-job training.


Executive Sous Chef Salary

According to Payscale, the national median salary for executive sous chefs is $51,997. Those in the top 10 percent make above $74,103, while those in the bottom 10 percent make below $39,498.


Executive Sous Chef Resources

If you are ready to make a career out of your love for the culinary arts, then check out the list of resources below:

American Culinary Federation – Established in 1929, the American Culinary Federation has more than 17,500 members in more than 150 chapters across North America. This is the go-to organization for the culinary industry. Not only does it accredit schools, but it offers certifications that are highly regarded in the industry.

International Association for Culinary Professionals – Founded in 1978, the International Association for Culinary Professionals has grown into a global culinary presence. It has a great list professional development resources and hosts regular conferences that provide networking opportunities.

Chefs Feed – This website is the go-to resource for recipes and cooking techniques sent in by some of the world’s best chefs. The blog is also updated with all types of food articles from the best food writers in journalism.

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line – Told in personal narrative style, this book gives tips through the context of a 24-hour span running an upscale restaurant in New York. It is both entertaining and educational.


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