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Life as a Sous Chef

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In the absence of the head chef, the sous chef manages the kitchen operations of a hotel, restaurant, casino, cruise ship or other dining establishment. Rather than crafting and cooking the clients' cuisine, the sous chef's responsibilities include more managerial and administrative duties. A sous chef may eventually earn a promotion to executive chef.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Work Environment

A sous chef typically works in clean, luxurious environments. Acting as support to the head, or executive chef, the sous chef must learn all of the kitchen operations. She may handle customer complaints, discipline kitchen staff, direct kitchen staff, teach less experienced chefs or handle food preparation. Due to a crowded kitchen environment with hot equipment, burns and slipping injuries are common. Customer complaints, long hours, a grueling pace or unruly employees may add additional stress to a sous chef's job.


A prospective sous chef should begin in any food service job to learn basic skills, such as washing dishes or serving customers. Build relationships with those in your field, such as managers and chefs. While working in the field, go to a culinary school to learn more about the craft. Those who begin working in fast food restaurants should strive to acquire employment in higher-class establishments.


A sous chef who works full time may receive benefits, while a sous chef working only part-time may not. The average salary may be as low as $25,000 per year or as high as $50,000 per year. Your work and education experience, ability and location of employment all affect your starting offer. Larger establishments, such as casinos or fine dining establishments, typically pay more than smaller restaurants or cruise ships.

Employment and Job Outlook Prospects

A sous chef can expect competition for employment, as competitors seeking higher-paying employment will also flock to tourist locations, where job prospects are best for a sous chef. A chef with a business or accounting background may face the best prospects of employment. These individuals can offer a restaurant advice in cost-cutting measures. In the United States in 2008, there were approximately 108,000 people employed as chefs or head cooks.


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