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Sous Chef

Average Sous Chef Salary Nationwide

No Wage Data Available

Overview and Basic Information


If you really like to cook and want to make money doing it, this might be a great job for you. Sous chefs are second-in-command in restaurant kitchens. They report to the head chef and oversee food preparation and cooking. They also manage the kitchen staff to ensure food is made fast and delicious and they enforce food safety standards. Basically, sous chefs make sure that the kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine. And when the head chef is away, the sous chef is in charge.

Example sous chef job description

We are looking for a professional sous chef to be the second-in-command in our kitchen. You will follow our executive chef’s specifications and guidelines. A successful candidate will use the culinary and managerial skills to maintain and enhance our customers’ satisfaction.

Typical duties include:

  • Help prepare and design food and drink menus

  • Produce high quality dishes, both design- and taste-wise

  • Ensure that the kitchen meets quality standards

  • Fill in for the executive chef when necessary

  • Solve employee or customer issues that arise

  • Manage and train kitchen staff, establish schedules and assess performance

  • Order supplies to stock inventory

  • Comply with and enforce sanitation regulations and safety standards

  • Maintain a professional approach with coworkers and customers


  • 5+ years of experience as a sous chef

  • Understand various cooking methods, ingredients, equipment and procedures

  • Excellent record of kitchen and staff management

  • Accuracy and speed to handle emergency situations and provide solutions

  • Familiar with industry best practices

  • Working knowledge of various computer programs (restaurant management software, point-of-sale etc.)

  • BS degree in culinary science or related certificate is a plus

Common questions about sous chef jobs

How much does a sous chef make?

The median annual wage for a sous chef was $48,460 in May 2018. Pay for chefs and head cooks varies greatly by employer and area of the country. Pay is usually higher in upscale restaurants and hotels, as well as in major metropolitan areas and resorts.

What are the education requirements?

Experience is key. Most sous chefs start their kitchen jobs as a dishwasher or line cook. They learn the skills they need on the job to move up. However, some chefs will get experience through training at a community college or trade school. Sous chefs looking for more advanced training can get apprenticeships through culinary schools or other organizations. Apprenticeships typically last two years.

Career paths for sous chefs

A sous chef with the right training and experience can be promoted to executive chef, head cook or chef de cuisine. These roles manage the work of sous chefs and line cooks. Executive chefs design the menu, review food and beverage purchases and often train cooks and other food prep workers. If they’re really good (and have the money), a sous chef could also open their own restaurant.

 The future of sous chefs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall job opportunities for sous chefs are  projected to grow 10% from 2016-26, faster than average for all occupations.

Job opportunities will be better for chefs and head cooks with several years of kitchen experience. The fast pace, demands and high energy level these jobs require can lead to a high rate of turnover, making opportunities more available.

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