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What Is a Sous Chef and How to Become One

What Is a Sous Chef?

A sous chef is the second-in-command in a restaurant kitchen. Sous means under in French, and it relates to the sous chef being in charge of the kitchen when the chef is not there or occupied. It’s a coveted position. Sous chefs manage the kitchen and train new staff. This position also allows for culinary creativity. Sous chefs manage food presentations, relay recipes and instructions from the head chef, and maintain an optimal level of efficiency of the staff. They apply their skills to the food, training new chefs on how to perfect a dish or recipe, and creating delicious meals for their customers.

How to Become a Sous Chef

In the culinary world, it is not uncommon to work your way up to become a sous chef. Formal training is not always needed, but a dedication to the job and the experience gained through years of cooking and working in a kitchen. Some sous chefs attend culinary school or work as an apprentice to learn the trade. Not only will a culinary arts education provide the skills to plate a perfect an order or create a tasty dish, but it can also open the door to an internship that leads to full-time work.

How to Be a Good Sous Chef

A good sous chef acts as both a manager and a mentor in a busy working kitchen. Their skills are shared freely to improve and train other team members. They are leaders in the kitchen and have to balance cooking with caring for the business side of running a kitchen. They will order inventory, approve schedules, arrange menus, and work closely with the head chef to prepare and develop and improve dishes. Great communication skills and endurance are needed to prepare meals for customers during the busiest hours.

Sous Chef Job Description Sample

With this Sous Chef job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Sous Chef position.


We are looking for an organized and efficient Sous Chef to manage our kitchen. Under the direction of the executive chef, you will recruit and train talented kitchen staff on preparing all menu items, oversee operations during meal service, and ensure all dishes served to guests meet the highest quality standards. You will also make sure all work stations are kept clean and organized, supplies are stocked, and staff follows safe food preparation procedures at all times.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage kitchen staff, including providing necessary direction and training
  • Schedule employees to ensure that the kitchen is adequately staffed at all necessary times
  • Assist with the preparation and design of food and drink menus
  • Make sure that all plates that leave the kitchen meet taste and design standards
  • Ensure that the kitchen operates efficiently and professionally
  • Maintain kitchen inventory and order supplies
  • Confirm compliance with all sanitation and health and safety standards
  • Fill in for the executive chef when necessary

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Associate degree or certificate in culinary arts
  • 2+ years of experience as a sous chef
  • Knowledge of food preparation and existing health and safety standards
  • Ability to effectively manage, direct, and lead a large team
  • Strong communication skills
  • Collaborative attitude with an emphasis on excellent customer service