What is a Chef Patron? What They Do, Get Paid & Who to Follow
If you’re new to the hospitality industry, you may not yet know about all the different ranks in the kitchen hierarchy. While a dishwasher (also called an escuelerie , plongeur) and kitchen porter are at the bottom, a chef patron is at the very top.
For most chefs, becoming a chef patron is the pinnacle of their career, giving them creative freedom to produce the restaurant experience they’ve always wanted to offer.
What exactly is the role, what do they do, and what do they get paid?
Want To Skip Ahead?
- What is a Chef Patron
- What is a Co – Patron
- Difference Between Patron And Exec Chef
- What Do They Do
- How Much Experience Is Needed
- How Much Do They Get Paid
- Chef Patrons To Follow
A chef patron is a chef that owns the restaurant (or is in a business partnership with the owner(s)) and has their name on the restaurant.
They may or may not be involved with the day-to-day running of the restaurant, and will usually have complete control over the menu.
What is a Co-Chef Patron?
If two chefs decide to found a restaurant together, they may both be the chef patrons, and so they would be co-patrons.
If one is more responsible for the restaurant than the other, they may distinguish their roles as chef patron and co-chef patron.
In most cases, ‘chef patron’ and ‘executive chef’ are interchangeable titles and share the same responsibilities (which we’ll cover below).
Some cases, an executive chef is employed and reports to a restaurant manager or general manager, while a chef patron is the owner and thus self-employed. In most cases, a chef patron is held in higher esteem than an executive chef.
What Do They Do?
Responsibilities may include:
- Menu development
- Front-of-house duties
- Business development
- Overseeing training
- Finance (pricing, budgets, etc)
- Overall management of staff and the business
What roles are taken on will depend on how big their restaurant is. If it’s just them and a few other chefs, they will be very hands-on in the kitchen.
While other chef patrons may move almost entirely to the business and front-of-house side.
How Much Experience Do You Need?
To be a chef patron, you usually need to have worked your way up through the ranks to become a head chef and found success in that role.
Working as a head chef will have allowed you to gain key leadership skills, maintained high standards in challenging environments. As well as the technical cooking skills to serve outstanding food while guiding those on your team.
You’ll also have the knowledge (and/or be willing to learn) about the business side of running a restaurant.
How Much Do They Get Paid?
Most chef patrons are self-employed, so how much they get paid can vary hugely. It depends on how profitable their restaurant is and if they have any business partners to split the profits with.
That said, according to Indeed, the average salary of an executive chef is £44,743. Salary.com puts the UK salary range of an executive chef in London at £34,621 – £55,542.
Whether you’re an aspiring chef patron or just like to follow the best chefs in the business. Make sure you’re following these 7 UK-based chef patrons:
#1 – Francesco Mazzei – Born in Italy, Francesco started his working life when he did things backwards by opening his first seafood restaurant at just 18, right out of catering college. He went on to work at The Grand Hotel in Rome, and then The Dorchester in Mayfair.
Since, he has opened restaurants in Edinburgh, Milan, Bangkok, and London, and other notable locations around the world. In 2007, he started making appearances on TV shows, at festivals, and released a cookbook.
He’s currently the chef patron at Sartoria on Savile Row in London. Follow him on Twitter @francescocook.
#2 – Mark Birchall – Born in Lancashire, Mark has worked at some of the best restaurants in the world before becoming chef patron at Moor Hall. Mark focuses on modern British cuisine at Moor Hall in Aughton, Lancashire, which has obtained 2 Michelin Stars and a Michelin Green Star since opening, and was recently awarded Restaurant of the Year at the National Restaurant Awards in 2021. Follow Mark on Instagram @markbirchall or Twitter @markdbirchall.
#3 – Michael Caines – Michael is the chef patron at Lympstone Manor near Exeter, which was awarded a Michelin star just 6 months after opening. He has garnered a reputation for his modern take on European cuisine and has become a familiar face on TV, including Master Chef and The Great British Bake-Off Extra Slice. He received an MBE for services to the hospitality industry in 2006. You can learn more about Michael on his website, follow him on Twitter @michaelcaines, or on Instagram @macaines.
4 More UK Based Chef Patrons
#4 – Simon Rogan – Simon isn’t just chef patron at one restaurant; he’s the chef patron at 6 and owns a farm where they grow food for the restaurants, ensuring the very best quality ingredients. His restaurants have earned many awards, including 5 Michelin stars collectively. You can find out more about him and his restaurants at simonrogan.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @simon_rogan or Instagram, @rogan_simon.
#5 – Angela Hartnett – Best known as Gordon Ramsey’s protege, she’s now the chef patron at Murano in the heart of Mayfair, in London. Angela was awarded an MBE for her services to the hospitality industry and has gone on to open several other restaurants around the country. Follow her on Twitter @AngelaHartnett or Instagram @angelacooking.
#6 – Paul Ainsworth – Paul is the chef patron at Paul Ainsworth at No6, in Padstow, Cornwall. Born in Southampton, Paul began working under Gary Rhodes in 1998 in London, before moving to work under Gordon Ramsey.
He originally opened Cornwall – Number 6 with two friends but bought them out in 2009 and renamed the restaurant after himself. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2013, just a few years after he made his first TV appearance.
#7 – Matt Abe – Matt is the Chef Patron at the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London. Matt started his career in Australia and moved to the UK to work for Gordon Ramsey Restaurants.
The chef patron role
The role takes years of dedication and a willingness to master all aspects of running a successful restaurant.
It won’t be easy, but it is possible for you if you’re willing to put in the time it takes to reach the pinnacle in this career.