Chefs, head cooks, and food preparation supervisors oversee the daily food service operation of a restaurant or other food service establishment. They may also work in residential care facilities such as nursing homes, in schools and hospitals, for food manufacturers, as well as for private individuals. All of these workers must ensure that sanitation and safety standards are observed and comply with local regulations. Fresh food must be stored and cooked properly, work surfaces and dishes must be clean and sanitary, and staff and customers must be safe from illness or injury.
Chefs and head cooks are the most skilled cooks in the kitchen. They use their creativity and knowledge of food to develop and prepare recipes, determine serving sizes, and plan menus. They are also usually responsible for directing cooks in the kitchen, providing specific guidelines and exacting standards on how to prepare each item. In larger restaurants, different types of chefs may have specialized roles to perform. Executive chefs provide leadership and may supervise several kitchens of a hotel, restaurant or corporate dining operation. A sous chef, or sub chef, is the second-in-command and runs the kitchen in the absence of the head chef. Many chefs earn fame both for themselves and for their kitchens because of the quality and distinctive nature of the food they serve.
Food preparation supervisors typically oversee the kitchen staff in a restaurant or food service facility including fast food, cafeteria, or casual dining restaurants where the menu is fairly standard from day to day. But as a greater number of establishments prepare and serve food, chefs and head cooks can be found in a wider variety of places. For example, grocery and specialty food stores may employ chefs to develop recipes and prepare meals for customers to carry out. Some chefs and head cooks work for individuals as personal chefs or household cooks, to plan and prepare meals in private homes according to the client’s tastes or dietary needs. They order groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen, wash dishes and utensils, and serve meals. They may be self-employed or work for a company that provides this service to multiple clients, or they may work full time for one client such as a corporate executive, university president, or diplomat who regularly entertains guests as a part of his official duties.
Food preparation worker
Food processing worker
Food service manager