Chef Cook: Duties and Responsibilities in the Professional Kitchen

Chef Cook: Duties and Responsibilities in the Professional Kitchen

If you have a passion for cooking, you might have thought about making a living out of your passion. After all, one of the greatest rewards in life is to do what you love. However, becoming a chef is not only about cooking – there is much more to the title. Therefore, if you are planning on pursuing a career as a chef, you’ll want to know what a chef does on a day-to-day basis and what it actually takes to become a chef.

A chef is a culinary professional trained to cook and manage the operations of a kitchen. A chef’s mandate varies from one hotel or restaurant to another depending on their specialty, experience, ranking, and other factors. However, all chefs have a common duty of managing and guaranteeing the smooth flow of kitchen operations.

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This is by no means a stroll in the park – it is hard work and dedication which explains the growing demand for highly trained chefs in the market. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for chefs is expected to grow by 10%, which is over the average for all other professions. There has not been a better time to pursue a career as a chef.

So, what is it like to be a chef? As earlier stated, being a chef is not just about making food. A chef, sometimes known as a head cook plays a broader role in the kitchen and in the foodservice facility as a whole. As a matter of fact, a chef is usually responsible for 90% of the success achieved by a restaurant. So, what does the chef actually do on a daily basis?

Duties and Responsibilities of a Chef in a Professional Kitchen

A typical day for a chef can be very busy and demanding. The chef is expected to handle many different duties and responsibilities including;

Overseeing Subordinates

This is one of the key duties of a professional chef. As a chef, you are responsible for overseeing all individuals who work in the kitchen under your mandate. By effect, the chef will oversee meal and ingredients preparation, timeliness, final presentation, and sanitary issues just to name a few. In essence, the chef should ensure that everyone under his charge is upholding the high standards of the kitchen.


The chef does a lot of planning, particularly regarding the menu items and incase the facility wishes to offer any specials to its customers. Apart from planning the menu, the chef also comes up with recipes with or without the input of his assistants. The chef will, therefore, spend hours perfecting the recipe to ensure that it is up to the quality they want and that meal preps can execute the recipes in a timely manner.


Having that the chef is in charge of creating the menu and the recipes, they may also choose to participate in preparing some of the menu items from time to time. This is a great way for the chef to lead their subordinates by example and ensuring that the kitchen is harmonious. It is also a great way for the chef to pass on skills and techniques.


The chef also performs an assortment of administrative duties as part of their daily routine. Responsibilities such as scheduling employees and ensuring that they report to work on time, placing supply orders, tracking inventory, performing payroll calculations, calculating costs as well as dealing with customer and employee complaints are all part of a chef’s day. In many cases, the chef is the buffer between the facility operations and its owners.


Being that the chef is in charge of all kitchen operations, it follows that they are also responsible for training the kitchen staff and ensuring that they perform as expected. As a chef, you will, therefore, conduct training sessions regularly to equip your subordinates with the skills and knowledge they need to execute your recipes perfectly. The chef will also detail what is expected of each employee and subsequently conduct appraisals to ensure that every employee under them is upholding standards.


Lastly, the chef must ensure that all activities in and around the kitchen are conducted in full compliance with all food handling regulations. They must, therefore, make sure that everyone in their charge is aware of these regulations and that they actually follow them. The chef must ensure that sanitary requirements and safety standards are upheld by every employee.

How Does Formal Education Make You a Better Chef?

Although formal education is not mandatory in becoming a chef, culinary arts training programs offer learners a wide variety of skills that they might not otherwise pick up. At their core, these programs should equip learners with all the knowledge, skills and technique they need to know how to cook. Additionally, the programs also teach the students how to create new dishes, keep the kitchen safe and run the kitchen efficiently. Formal education also should equip you to:

  • Develop leadership and time management skills
  • Appreciate different cultures and their cuisine
  • Understand nutritional science
  • Learn concepts of business management and accounting

All these skills, both hard and soft, come in every handy in the demanding environment of the kitchen. Formal education also should give you a firm foundation to grow as a chef as well as to be valued by colleagues in the profession.

Are You Ready for the Professional Kitchen?

Are you interested in becoming a professional chef? Earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts at ECPI University's Culinary Institute of Virginia could give you all the skills you require to excel. For more information, connect with one of our friendly helpful admissions advisors today.

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