Sous Chef: job description, salary, training, and latest mission offers
In any restaurant, hotel, or catering service, including hotel food and beverage (F&B) operations, the Sous Chef serves as the right hand and day-to-day operational manager of the kitchen, working under the Head Chef.
In this article, we will outline the job description, salary ranges, career progression potential, and working hours of a Sous Chef, along with the latest mission offers from Brigad.
What is a Sous Chef ?
A Sous Chef plays a vital role in any professional kitchen team, assuming a hands-on, managerial, and cooking role under the Head Chef. When the kitchen operates under an Executive Chef, the Sous Chef ranks third in the chain of command.
They are tasked with ensuring that all food is prepared to the highest standards, managing quality control, hygiene, ingredients, staff, and work schedules.
Essentially, the Sous Chef is a crucial member of the kitchen team, required to excel under pressure and possess a passion for the quality of food produced by their staff.
The quality of food emanating from a kitchen directly influences the reputation of any restaurant, pub, or hotel, impacting revenue, profits, and customer retention
What does a Sous Chef do ?
A Sous Chef plays an important role in the kitchen's daily operations, working alongside the Head Chef to ensure that every dish is prepared and cooked to the highest standards.
They are also responsible for ordering kitchen supplies, managing inventory, maintaining food safety, health and safety (HSE), and hygiene standards, and training and supervising kitchen staff.
Alongside a head chef, a sous chef might develop menus and recipes and manage suppliers and supplier budgets.
What Qualities Define a Sous Chef ?
A successful Sous Chef needs a variety of qualities, qualifications (although formal training, such as a diploma, isn’t always essential), and skills.
Experienced Sous Chefs must have experience in the culinary industry and a strong knowledge of food preparation and cooking techniques.
Excellent leadership, organizational, and people management skills are necessary to effectively oversee kitchen staff and delegate tasks.
Creativity is crucial for devising new and innovative dishes to maintain customer interest, especially when responsible for daily specials.
A skilled Sous Chef should also demonstrate flexibility, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and adapt to changing demands.
Attention to detail is paramount when it comes to cooking, plating, and presenting dishes."
The latest freelance missions offers for Sous Chef’s across London
If you're a Head Chef seeking short-term work and flexibility, follow these three simple steps to begin receiving mission proposals:
- Register as self-employed Sous Chef before signing up for Brigad.
- Download the app and sign up in minutes; it's free, and there's no commitment required.
- Create and personalize your profile to start receiving mission proposals. You're free to decide whether to accept or decline them.
How to find a Sous Chef with Brigad ?
Whether it's for a wedding, a special evening, or even to strengthen your restaurant team, hiring a reliable Sous Chef can sometimes be a tedious task.
To find a qualified Sous Chef with the Brigad app, 3 steps are sufficient:
- Create an account on the Brigad app or website (free registration and no commitment)
- Set up your missions in a few clicks specify the required skills, dress code, equipment, duration, payment method, and more.
- Submit your mission and let the algorithm handle the rest!
Once you set up a mission, it's sent to talents with the relevant skills in your area.
When a Sous Chef accepts, you'll be notified and can then connect with them directly.
All Sous Chefs undergo a strict vetting process to ensure the best match.
UK companies that are hiring Sous Chef’s through Brigad
Trusted by over 10,000 businesses to reinforce their teams, Brigad is widely used by both large groups and independent businesses in every sector of the hospitality industry.
The platform offers a connection with thousands of highly qualified, self-employed Sous Chefs and other hospitality professionals.
UK Sous Chef salary ranges
The salary of a Sous Chef in the UK varies depending on your experience, location, and the type of establishment. In London and Birmingham, and chain restaurants and hotels, Sous Chefs will earn more than working for smaller pubs or restaurants in the countryside.
On average, a Sous Chef can earn anywhere from £27,000 to £33,000, although in some cases, you can earn more.
How to become a Sous Chef?
To become a successful Sous Chef, you need to accumulate experience in a range of kitchen roles (working your way up and showing a flair for cooking), and it’s also helpful to take qualifications in hospitality management (but not always essential).
Working as an assistant or apprentice in a professional kitchen is a great way to gain experience and become familiar with the latest kitchen trends and techniques.
For those looking to take their career in professional cooking to the next level, the role of Sous Chef is an exciting and rewarding one. You can become a successful Sous Chef and lead a busy kitchen team with the right dedication and training.
How to become a self-employed Sous Chef ?
Self-employment is becoming increasingly popular among professionals in various sectors, including Sous Chefs in catering and hospitality.
To become a freelance Sous Chef, follow these essential steps:
- Register as a Sole Trader with HMRC: This is a crucial first step, requiring minimal paperwork and enabling legal self-employment.
- Obtain a UTR Number from HMRC: Secure your Unique Taxpayer Reference number, necessary for tax purposes and identification as a sole trader.
- Meet Eligibility Requirements: Ensure you're eligible for self-employment in the UK, especially important for non-EU international students who may face restrictions.
- Manage Your Tax Affairs: Be responsible for submitting an annual self-assessment tax return based on your income and expenses.
- Maintain Accurate Financial Records: Keep detailed records of all your income and expenses for tax purposes.
- Understand Tax Obligations: Familiarize yourself with tax bands and VAT requirements as they apply to self-employed professionals.
As a self-employed Sous Chef, you have the opportunity to explore diverse working options. This includes the ability to combine freelance projects with long-term contracts, providing a varied and dynamic career path. You also enjoy significant work flexibility, allowing you to select your work schedule and locations that best align with your personal goals and preferences.
Additionally, it's important to stay informed by regularly consulting official government resources for any updates or new information related to self-employment.
Why choose the position of Sous Chef ?
A Sous Chef is a great opportunity for those looking to progress their career in the hospitality and catering industry.
As the second-in-command in the kitchen, the Sous Chef manages staff, ensures food quality, and makes a name for your kitchen and establishment. Becoming a Sous Chef is also the most sensible step up to Head Chef, Executive Chef, and even owning and operating your own restaurant.
How to be a good Sous Chef ?
As Sous Chef, you’re responsible for overseeing the kitchen's daily operations. You will also be responsible for preparing and cooking dishes in accordance with recipes and guidelines; even if other team members are cooking parts of the dishes, the final result always needs to be checked by the Sous Chef.
Being a good Sous Chef also involves training and developing junior kitchen staff, recruiting and firing, and managing supplies within budgetary guidelines the Head Chef prepares and monitors.
What are the working conditions and hours for a Sous Chef ?
Working conditions for Sous Chefs vary depending on the establishment. However, long hours are quite normal. On average, it’s not unusual to work from before a kitchen opens until after closing, up to 12 hours or more.
Weekend work is normal, too as that’s when restaurants, pubs, and hotel F&B operations are usually busiest, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
What career progression is possible for a Sous Chef ?
A Sous Chef, typically the second-in-command in a kitchen, has several potential career progression paths within the culinary industry. Here are some possibilities:
- Head Chef: Many Sous Chefs aim to become Head Chefs. This progression involves taking on the full responsibility of running the kitchen, creating menus, managing staff, and overseeing daily operations.
- Executive Chef: Some Sous Chefs aspire to become Executive Chefs, which is a higher-ranking position responsible for overseeing multiple kitchens, often within a restaurant group or hotel chain. Executive Chefs have a more strategic role in menu development and culinary standards.
- Culinary Instructor or Educator: Sous Chefs with extensive experience and knowledge may choose to become culinary instructors at cooking schools or colleges. They can share their expertise with aspiring chefs and culinary students.
- Private Chef: Private Chefs work for individuals or families, preparing meals in private residences. This path offers more autonomy and creativity in menu planning.
- Consultant Chef: Some Sous Chefs become culinary consultants, advising restaurants and food businesses on menu development, kitchen design, and operational efficiency.
- Food Writer or Critic: For those with strong writing skills and a passion for food, a career in food journalism or criticism is an option. Sous Chefs can become food writers, cookbook authors, or restaurant critics.
- Restaurant Owner: Ambitious Sous Chefs may dream of opening their own restaurants, where they have full creative control over the menu and dining experience.
- Specialized Cuisine: Sous Chefs can specialize in a particular type of cuisine (e.g., French, Italian, Asian) and become experts in that area, leading to opportunities in high-end restaurants or culinary television shows.
- Culinary Research and Development: Working for food manufacturers or large restaurant chains, Sous Chefs can focus on culinary research and development, creating new dishes and products.
- Corporate Dining: Some Sous Chefs transition to corporate dining, where they oversee the culinary operations of companies, universities, or healthcare facilities.
These are just a few examples of the career progression options available to Sous Chefs. The path chosen often depends on individual interests, goals, and the culinary experiences gained along the way.
Sous Chef Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Sous Chef and Chef de partie : what’s the difference ?
The main difference between a Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie lies in their roles and responsibilities in the kitchen hierarchy. A Sous Chef is second-in-command, directly under the Head Chef. They are responsible for overall kitchen operations, supervising staff, assisting in menu preparation, and stepping in for the Head Chef when needed. A Chef de Partie, also known as a Station Chef or Line Cook, is responsible for a specific area of production in the kitchen, like grilling, sautéing, or pastry. They focus on preparing and cooking food in their particular station, following the instructions of the Sous Chef or Head Chef.
Is a Sous Chef a manager ?
Yes, a Sous Chef can be considered a manager in the kitchen. They play a key managerial role, overseeing kitchen staff, managing day-to-day kitchen operations, and ensuring food quality and consistency. Sous Chefs also often handle administrative tasks like inventory management, scheduling, and sometimes even training and mentoring junior chefs. They act as a bridge between the kitchen staff and the Head Chef, often taking charge in the absence of the Head Chef.
What’s the difference between a Head Chef and Sous Chef ?
The main difference between a Head Chef and a Sous Chef is their level of responsibility and position in the kitchen hierarchy. The Head Chef is the top-ranking individual, responsible for overall kitchen management, menu creation, and culinary direction. The Sous Chef, second-in-command, handles day-to-day kitchen operations, staff supervision, and steps in for the Head Chef when necessary.
What’s the difference between Sous Chef and Commis Chef ?
The key difference between a Sous Chef and a Commis Chef lies in their experience and responsibilities. A Sous Chef is a senior position, acting as the second-in-command in the kitchen, responsible for managing kitchen staff, overseeing food preparation, and stepping in for the Head Chef when needed. A Commis Chef, on the other hand, is a junior role, often one of the lowest in the kitchen hierarchy. They assist in basic food preparation, learn various aspects of cooking, and typically work under the guidance of a Chef de Partie or Sous Chef.
Line Chef vs Sous Chef : what is the difference ?
The difference between a Line Chef (also known as Chef de Partie) and a Sous Chef is primarily in their roles and rank within the kitchen hierarchy. A Line Chef is responsible for a specific area or line in the kitchen, such as grilling, sautéing, or pastries, and focuses on preparing and cooking food in their specialized section. A Sous Chef, however, holds a more senior position, overseeing the entire kitchen operation, managing staff across all areas, and often handling administrative tasks. They also act as the second-in-command, stepping in for the Head Chef as needed.
What Equipment and work attire Does a Sous Chef Need ?
A Sous Chef typically needs professional kitchen equipment such as knives, thermometers, and possibly personal cooking tools, depending on the kitchen's policy. For work attire, they usually wear a chef's jacket, apron, non-slip kitchen shoes, and a hat or hairnet for hygiene. The specific requirements can vary based on the restaurant's standards and regulations.