Experience must be within the past ten years.
  1. High School Diploma/GED with five years entry level culinary experience. …
  2. 150 Continuing Education Hours (CEH) with five years entry level culinary experience. …
  3. ACFEF Culinary Arts Program Certificate with four years entry level culinary experience.

In a sense, the sous chef serves as the head chef’s “right hand man.” They arrive at the kitchen before anyone else and leave last most of the time. They are in charge of all the minor, often-overlooked aspects of kitchen work and may be required to fill in for other positions (even the head chef).

A sous chef, like the head chef, must receive three to six months of training in every aspect of the kitchen and have a solid grasp of hygiene and safety. Most employers demand at least two to five years of experience as a sous chef before hiring.

ServSafe certification is something that almost all sous chefs complete; it can be done online at servsafe. com. The examination lasts 60 to 90 minutes and costs $95 to take. A program manual is also offered; it costs $125 and can be finished in less than 90 days. Go to the ServSafe website and enter your city in the “Class Locator” search field if you’re looking for in-person training.

Although a degree is not necessary to work as a sous chef, it might be a good idea to pursue further culinary training. While earning a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts typically takes four years and costs more, an associate’s degree can be earned in one to two years. Several culinary schools, chef colleges, and universities offer both degrees.

How to Become a Sous Chef | Restaurant Business

Average salary and working conditions

Typically, sous chefs spend a lot of time in hot, occasionally crowded kitchens. Working as a sous chef can be difficult because of the long hours and the constant pressure to produce excellent food. Restaurants, cruise ships, resorts, hotels, private businesses, and educational institutions are just a few of the places that sous chefs can find employment.

What does a sous chef do?

The French word sous, which translates to “under,” designates a second-in-command in a kitchen who answers to the executive or head chef. The responsibilities of the sous chef are varied and include managing the inventory, making sure that all food items are fresh, training and supervising other cooks and chefs, and assisting the head chef in overseeing food preparation and cooking.

However, as a sous chef’s primary responsibility is to assist their boss, the precise tasks they perform will depend on those of the head chef. For instance, a sous chef will be more involved in managing kitchen operations and selecting menu items if the head chef frequently works outside the kitchen. However, if a head chef spends a lot of time in the kitchen, the executive will be less involved in the operations and instead pay attention to things like inventory and may even work the line.

The sous chef may also need to be involved in business and administrative duties, depending on where the head chef concentrates. Briefly stated, the sous chef will fill in whenever necessary, whether it be by performing the head chef’s duties in their absence or taking over for a cook who missed work due to illness. And like the head chef, the sous chef is frequently present every day from opening to closing.

The day-to-day duties of these multi-skilled professionals may include:

How to become a sous chef

There is no fixed route to becoming a sous chef. Some sous-chefs advance in their careers despite having no formal education through many years of devoted hard work. Others begin their careers by enrolling in culinary art schools, where they may obtain diplomas, certificates, associate or bachelor’s degrees.

But before assuming the position of a sous chef, candidates with formal training still need to gain some years of on-the-job experience. The following are a few steps you might think about taking if you want to become a sous chef, though you should choose the route that works best for you:

1. Finish high school

Getting your high school diploma should be your first step. It is advised to finish coursework in subjects like cooking, nutrition, health, biology, and business that may help you with your future training as well as the practical responsibilities of a sous chef. You could also gain some on-the-job experience while in school by, for example, working as a dishwasher on the weekends at a nearby restaurant or shadowing cooks or chefs.

2. Receive formal culinary training

You can gain a strong foundation in the culinary arts by participating in a program at a culinary, community, or vocational school. Programs leading to a certificate or diploma usually last one to two years and mix academic and practical instruction.

An Associate Degree in Applied Science in Culinary Arts is the most common requirement among aspirant sous chefs. Two years are required to complete the curriculum for this qualification, which includes coursework in general subjects like math and English as well as coursework in culinary skills like menu planning, nutrition, food storage, wine studies, gastronomic pairing, and safety procedures. Additionally, students devote a lot of time to practicing baking and cooking skills.

Candidates may also choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, which includes business and accounting coursework that will help a sous chef carry out administrative tasks like budget and cost analysis. This course also emphasizes management and offers guidance on how to handle personnel problems and inspire employees.

3. Complete an apprenticeship

Many training programs give students the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship to gain real-world experience. Gaining real-world experience is crucial if you want to work as a sous chef because doing your job well requires an understanding of all aspects of the industry.

Apply for an apprenticeship even if you don’t have any formal training. Consider applying for an apprenticeship program through The American Culinary Federation (AFS), which combines classroom instruction and hands-on training, as an alternative to pursuing a degree. These two- to three-year programs are fantastic because you can pay for your practical work while also learning the ropes and gaining experience.

4. Start working

After completing your education, you should gain as much practical experience in the kitchen as you can. A sous chef must be able to take over the responsibilities of the head chef as well as those of the chefs or cooks at any station along the line. A sincere interest in the culinary arts, commitment, and hard work are necessary to advance to the position of sous chef.

Work neatly and quickly, and always be aware of safety procedures in the kitchen, if you want the executive chef to notice your potential as a sous chef. Here are some additional pointers to think about as you advance through the ranks:


For your review, the following is a list of some frequently asked questions and their responses:

What skills should a sous chef have?

To complete the many different tasks that come with the job, a sous chef needs a broad range of abilities. These professionals must be able to remain composed and focused under pressure because the kitchen is a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment. Because they are also managers, sous chefs need to be proficient at delegation, communication, handling conflict, and running a kitchen.

Additionally, these experts must come up with unique dishes and exciting menu designs, which requires imagination. Additionally, in order to handle the numerous tasks required by the job and the demands of the kitchen, they need to have good time management skills.

What are the job prospects of a sous chef?

Jobs for chefs, sous chefs, and head chefs are expected to grow by 11% by 2018, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Which states in the U.S. employ the most sous chefs?

California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts offer the best chances for you to find work as a sous chef.

What is the difference between a sous chef and an executive chef?

The head chef manages all the operations in the kitchen. They keep an eye on the cooking process and guarantee that all dishes that leave the kitchen are up to par. Typically, they design the menus and handle the business’s administration.

A sous chef assists a head chef and performs any tasks that the latter is unable to complete. The executive usually trains individual chefs and cooks, manages the inventory and food costs, ensures hygienic practices in the kitchen, and leaves the head chef in charge of overseeing the entire operation.


Is it hard to become a sous chef?

There is no fixed route to becoming a sous chef. Some sous-chefs advance in their careers despite having no formal education through many years of devoted hard work. Others begin their careers by enrolling in culinary art programs, where they may receive diplomas, certificates, associate or bachelor’s degrees.

How long does it take to get to sous chef?

A sous chef, like the head chef, must receive three to six months of training in every aspect of the kitchen and have a solid grasp of hygiene and safety. Most employers demand at least two to five years of experience as a sous chef before hiring.

What are the qualifications for sous chef?

  • Bachelor’s degree in culinary science or relevant field.
  • A minimum of 2 years’ experience in a similar role.
  • Strong knowledge of cooking methods, kitchen equipment, and best practices.
  • Good understanding of MS Office and restaurant software programs.
  • Teamwork-oriented with outstanding leadership abilities.

Is being a sous chef worth it?

If you have the personality and motivation to pursue it, becoming a good sous chef is a rewarding career that requires commitment and perseverance. Additionally, the sous chef is frequently the next in line for the brigade de cuisine’s head position, and many sous chefs eventually advance to the position of executive chef.

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