What Exactly Is A Head-Chef? The Definition And Meaning Of Chef De Cuisine (Head Chef)What is a head chef

Chef de cuisine is the French term for the head chef of the kitchen brigade. The head of the brigade can also be referred to as the executive chef. The chef de cuisine (head chef) is in charge of the whole of the kitchen brigade. As will be detailed in the companies head chef job description. And the head chef is the next position of the sous chef.

The position can also be known as the Chef manager, Head chef and Master chef. Generally, the head of the kitchen brigade will be known as the head chef.

“Head chefs will be working their way up the to the top of the kitchen brigade.”

 There are two main levels of the head chef:

  • Head chef
    The head chef will be in charge of a single kitchen, managing all the other chefs within the brigade.
  • Executive head chef
    An executive chef is more of a company executive and can be overseeing many different restaurants.

“A Head-chef will be employed by an establishment that uses a commercial-grade kitchen that will include a restaurant, hotel, or cruise ship.”

head chef job description

What Are The Key Qualities Of A Head Chef?

Key qualities that a head chef will need to possess include; the ability to quickly delegate jobs to a large staff team in an authoritative manner.

Also, they need to use a great deal of experience they have gained whilst working at each different level within a kitchen brigade.

Therefore being able to teach and mentor all members of staff.

Furthermore, Head Chefs will have jobs outside of the kitchen. These include the scheduling of staff rotas and other administrative jobs.

Sometimes it is possible for a quarter of a Head chef’s time to be taken up by doing paperwork. 

A Head Chef Job Description, What Are The Responsibilities And Duties. 

The most common of establishments where head chefs will be employed will be a restaurant and hotels followed by cruise ships.

The culinary position of head chef comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties.  The Head Chef will be reporting directly to the executive chef of the company if there is one. If there is no executive chef then the head chef will report to the general manager of the establishment.

“When there is no executive head chef then someone else will be in charge of the head chef making the final authority decisions.”

The Head Chef

The head chef (chef de cuisine) is in charge of all the activities undertaken within the kitchen including. Jobs include: The creation of menus, managing the kitchen brigade, the ordering and purchasing of the stock and keeping the costs on the budget in doing so.

Plating design of all the new dishes is a key job he needs to do.

The English word chef comes from the traditional French term Chef de cuisine.

When there is no executive head chef then someone else will be in charge of the head chef making the final authority decisions. Such as the direction of the menu and final decisions regarding staff management.

 “They will also have to do any other duties laid out within the head chef job description following the company’s policies.”

Essentially the head chef will have to oversee the entire kitchen including the planning and directing of sous chefs. Also, they will need to supervise team members and keep an eye out for problems that may arise. With the ability to take control of the situation in an instant.

Head chefs will also have the job to discipline underperforming staff. This will need to be done in an effective fairway. They will need to drive the team to meet and go beyond expectations by encouraging chefs within their roles.

 What Does A Head Chef Do?    

Head chef
In charge of the whole kitchen including, managing staff, menu planning and budget control. Also, anything else in the companies heads chef job description.

Executive Head Chef
This is a position mainly in large companies. The Executive head chef will be overseeing all the head chefs within each restaurant within the company.

 head chef job description


 What Is The Average UK Head Chef Salary?

A Head/Executive Chef is one of the higher – level jobs within an establishment as shown in the head chef job description.

And the salary reflects this as the head chef will be one of the highest paid members of the team and may have additional compensation such as bonuses or other benefits.

As with most kitchen positions salaries depend greatly on the establishment, the location and the previous experience of the head chef.

Below is an average salary for a head chef within the UK:

Head chef                       £21000 – £32500   Average salary = £25000

Executive head chef   £23000 – £34000     Average salary = £32500


If you have the drive to become a head chef and want to start your dream career, Click Here for more information to get into an in-demand rewarding career in the UK.

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