How To Become An Executive Chef

What does it take to become an executive chef? Let’s find out.

Whether you’re fascinated by the way food delicacies are being prepared or posses superb cooking skills, you can have a great career by becoming an executive chef. This can be a personally rewarding activity if you’re passionate about it.

Plus, it becomes much easier to attain your goals.

We want to show you how to become an executive chef.

Who’s An Executive Chef

The logical thing to do will be to define or explain who an executive chef is as well as the responsibilities the role demands. Simply put, an executive chef oversees the everyday operations and functioning of hotel and restaurant kitchens. This is an influential, yet challenging role.

As an executive chef, you are required to hire and train kitchen staff.

There are lots of other responsibilities you must perform as an executive chef. These include coordinating the cooking process, ensuring that dishes are fresh, of the highest quality and timely. Maintaining hygiene is another responsibility.

Others include menu planning, designing new recipes, taking stock of food supplies, setting performance standards and so on.

Becoming An Executive Chef Step By Step

Having explained who an executive chef is and also outlined the roles, it’s time we bring our focus back to our discussion; how to become an executive chef. Is there a set of qualifications to become one? You guess right. There are different paths to attaining this goal.

Consider, not everyone has the same level of education and if they do, such courses might be different.

This explains why there are various paths to becoming an executive chef. We will attempt to explain these. However, we will dwell on the most common route to take in your journey to qualify as an executive chef.

So without further delay, let’s begin.

  • Entry Level

This is the most basic stage for anyone aspiring to become an executive chef. There are several levels of training. At the entry-level, you’ll need to enroll in a series of pastry training and culinary arts at certificate and diploma level.

In most cases, these are one-year academic programs.

Such catering courses are referred to as entry-level courses because they won’t help you land your dream job which is an executive step. It is similar to stepping on the first rung of a ladder. There are several more steps or rungs to climb on your way up.

  • Get An Associate’s Degree

Want to move up? An associate’s degree in culinary training enhances your upward mobility. This is a more in-depth training provided to aspiring chefs. It covers a broader course content.

What more? You get an even greater depth of instruction as compared to the most basic or entry-level. It takes longer to complete the program (about 2 years).

Business management experience is one of the important courses you will be taking.

  • Obtain A Bachelor’s Degree

Getting to this level should be sufficient enough to land you the job of an executive chef but not without the required experience. The bachelor’s degree is a much detailed training program compared to both a diploma and an associate’s degree.

Going through this four-year program equips you with the right knowledge. Some of the basic courses to be treated include budgeting and cost analysis.

You’ll need to get the needed hands-on training or practical to be considered for the position of an executive chef.

Having obtained this requirement, you will be ready to head a kitchen.

  • Master’s Degree

We said the bachelor’s degree plus experience is sufficient to land you the job right?

Absolutely! With the master’s or advanced degree, you’ll be specializing in a specific area of chef training. Typically, training for a master’s degree will take about a year or two to complete. You’ll be enhancing your job prospects by obtaining this certification.

Will The Promotion Be Instant?

It is important to note that in qualifying for the position of an executive chef, chances are that you won’t be promoted instantly. If you don’t have the required experience, this will be learned on the job. If you do have both qualifications and experience, you’ll need to wait out your time.

This requires patience on your part. Eventually, you’ll get the job.

Moving Up The Ranks

Get busy while searching for the position of executive chef. You don’t walk up the front door of a restaurant to apply for this job. It takes time and effort on your part. Due to the demands of the job, you are likely to find an executive chef handling more than one restaurant.

The many years of experience gathered helps to eventually land the job. So, you might want to take up lesser roles. By “lesser roles,” we mean other lower chef positions like Saute Chef, Pastry Chef and eventually the second-highest position of Sous Chef.

By moving up the ranks, you are increasing your chances of getting the executive chef position.

However, movement through the ranks as mentioned isn’t carved in stone. As long as you are skilled and trained enough, you can move straight to the executive chef position without having to fill up every role in-between.

How’s The Salary Like?

The pay for an executive chef falls within the range of $42k to about $90k. Bonuses range between $970 to $15k. There are also profit sharing as well as commissions ranging between $403 to $10k and $613 to $15k respectively.

The industry average is about $60,296.

This is all the information you need to know about becoming an executive chef. First, you’ll need to enroll in a culinary training school of your choice to obtain your academic qualifications. Secondly, there’s the need for experience. Getting hands-on experience is necessary and forms part of the requirements for qualifications.

Patience is of the essence of this journey. We’ve mentioned that one of the best strategies is by moving through the ranks. This helps you land the job you seek eventually.