Novice chefs typically aspire to become the chief (executive chef) in the near future. However, before they get to that position, it is necessary to go through being a sous chef first. Being a sous chef means playing the role as second in command in the kitchen. Hence, this is a necessary step before one could become the chief.
Extensive chef training is necessary for this position. It is because, if the chief is not present, all decision-making and execution will be on his/her shoulders. Usually, the head chef takes responsibility in training the sous chef. What exactly happens during the training of sous chef? Here are some of the common aspects that are included in the training:
Usually, employers require their sous chef to at least spend enough time in the kitchen to become familiar with all the tasks before they officially take the position. After scrutinizing the credentials, degree of education, years of experience and other prerequisites, a potential sous chef should work along with the head chef for about 3 to 6 months as probationary period. This is the time to learn the specialties of the place, kitchen standards, meal preparation and all other important aspects.
Learning the Existing Menu and Creating New Ones—Whether it is a restaurant, hotel or other type of establishment, an important aspect of the sous chef training is learning the recipes and food preparation techniques. Each food establishment has their own signature recipe and the sous chef should learn this directly from the chief. Aside from that, he/she should also learn how to come up with innovative dishes which will lure more customers.
Another part of the position is ensuring that the budget for the kitchen is not exhausted. A sous chef should know the right timing when orders have to placed so that spoilage and waste would be avoided. It is also necessary to be capable of managing the finances so the business would thrive.
Maintenance of Equipment
Even if the position is already on a supervisory level, it is imperative to know how all equipments are maintained. This is not only for sanitary reasons but also to avoid extra expenses which could hurt the budget.
Serving, Presentation and Customer Relation
Of all people, the sous chef should know how to assemble dishes in a plate to make them more enticing. In some cases, especially in fine-dining restaurants, some customers would want to meet the chef too. Sous chef might need to face the customers, so knowing how to build rapport and deal with them is important. There may also be cases wherein a customer may become enraged due to some issues so a sous chef should know how to deal with such situations.
Being a supervisor does not mean that one has to be tough all the time. Sous chef should know how to establish professional relationship with the other employees so that they would respect and follow him/her. As part of supervising other chefs, it is also necessary to monitor schedule, designation of tasks and others.