Sous Chef

01

What is a Sous Chef?

The word sous in French translates to “under”, and a sous chef is a kitchen professional that words under the direct supervision of a head chef.

In many ways, a sous chef acts as an assistant to the head chef. Unlike some other kitchen workers, however, the duties of a sous chef do not end with food preparation. Some sous chefs, for instance, may be responsible for supervising the kitchen staff while the head chef attends to more pressing matters. A sous chef might also take care of some of the important day to day duties in a kitchen as well, such as ordering food and supplies.

Some individuals find that their sous chef careers are rewarding and lucrative enough, and they may be content to finish out their days doing just what they love. Other sous chefs, on the other hand, may strive for something more in their professional lives. With hard work, talent, and dedication, these ambitious individuals will often move up the career ladder eventually and become head chefs. Most sous chefs that are promoted to this esteemed position are usually promoted within a restaurant, taking the places of head chefs before them.

02

Work Environment

Sous chefs can technically work anywhere there is a kitchen. This is not just limited to restaurants, however. Sous chefs are often needed in places like casinos, hotels, and cruise ships.

Most individuals start their sous chef careers by starting in entry-level positions. For example, they may start as food prep workers or line cooks. After they gain more experience working in the kitchen, they might then be promoted until they eventually become sous chefs.

Some experienced and particularly talented sous chefs might also choose to open their own restaurants as well. Individuals interested in this sous chef career move, however, should consider earning business degrees.

03

Education Requirements

While some sous chefs might be able to work their way up through the ranks with hard work, a formal education is often the best way to start a sous chef career. The majority of individuals interested in this type of career will usually earn culinary arts degrees.

Culinary arts degree programs are available at culinary art schools, along with vocational schools and traditional colleges and universities. While earning their degrees, individuals interested in sous chef careers will often take courses on kitchen sanitation, food preparation, and cooking.

SOUS CHEF SALARY AND JOB OUTLOOK

SALARY

According to data recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of chefs in 2010 was roughly $44,780.

The salary of a sous chef will often depend on a number of factors, however. For instance, more experienced sous chefs will typically be able to command higher wages. The size and location of a kitchen that a sous chef works in will also usually determine his salary as well. Sous chefs in larger kitchens and more populated areas, for example, will usually make more than sous chefs in smaller kitchens and less populated areas.

JOB OUTLOOK

Sous chefs can technically work anywhere there is a kitchen. This is not just limited to restaurants, however. Sous chefs are often needed in places like casinos, hotels, and cruise ships.

Most individuals start their sous chef careers by starting in entry-level positions. For example, they may start as food prep workers or line cooks. After they gain more experience working in the kitchen, they might then be promoted until they eventually become sous chefs.

Some experienced and particularly talented sous chefs might also choose to open their own restaurants as well. Individuals interested in this sous chef career move, however, should consider earning business degrees.

Summary

FAST FACTS: Chefs and Head Cooks
2016 Median Pay

$43,180 per year
$20.76 per hour

Recommended Level of Education

High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs in 2014

127,500

Expected % Change in Employment (2014-2024)

9% (Faster than average)

Expected 10 Year Employment Growth (2014-2024)

11,300

Source: BLS - Occupational Outlook Handbook

Sous Chef DESIGNER SALARIES BY INDUSTRY

TOP PAYING INDUSTRIES FOR Sous Chef

Performing Arts Companies

$33.25
$69,150

Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)

$32.30
$67,180

Management of Companies and Enterprises

$31.33
$65,170

Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services

$30.30
$63,030

Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals

$30.24
$62,900
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile
Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage

TOP PAYING METROPOLITAN AREAS FOR Sous Chef

  1. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
    $48,170
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
    $45,970
  3. Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL
    $49,870
  4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
    $38,690
  5. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
    $37,400
  6. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
    $54,530
  7. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division
    $56,710
  8. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
    $43,260
  9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    $64,300
  10. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA
    $53,320
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES

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