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Job Summary

The Sous Chef is essentially responsible for all kitchen operations. Without question, food prep, quality, and plating are at the top of the list, but staff training, team morale, scheduling, maintenance, and cleaning all fall within my remit and are equally important.

As Sous Chef, it's far less common for me to be hands-on with the food and more common for me to be managing and overseeing my team.

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Eric's Career Path

The path I took is a story of starting from the bottom and working up. I have a high school diploma but decided college wasn't for me. So as a high school junior, I started working in a steak restaurant as a dishwasher. Within about three years, I switched from dishwasher to busser to food runner to server. I worked as a server for another three years before stepping back into the kitchen as a cook. Finally, I was a cook for all of six months before being asked to step up into the sous chef spot, and so here I am.

It's not about luck. I've worked hard to prove my value over the years. There nothing about this restaurant I don't know. From the ingredients in each dish to the maintenance of each of our ovens to the personal stories of each of my coworkers. I love my job.

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Hard Skills

  • Management

  • Cooking

  • Maintenance

  • Inventory Management

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Soft Skills

  • Customer Service

  • Delegation

  • Discipline

  • Flexible

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Work/Life Balance

Listen, if you're looking for a typical 9a-5p this is not the career for you. I usually work 12p-9p five days per week. I don't mind the schedule, and in fact, I prefer it.

PTO is pretty standard I think. I get two paid weeks off for vacation each year and another week of paid sick time.

If I could change anything to improve work/life balance, it would be to NOT work on holidays. I typically work on holidays because they're busier days than average. We're closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I'm talking about New Year's Eve, Valentines, 4th of July.

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Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national estimate for Chefs and Head Cooks is $43,180 (median). National wage estimates by percentile:

  • $23,630

    10th Percentile

  • $32,230

    25th Percentile

  • $59,080

    75th Percentile

  • $76,280

    90th Percentile

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