How Much Does A Sous Chef Make? How To Become One?

The role of a sous chef is as important as the head chef in a kitchen. Sous chefs need to have extensive skills and experience. How much does a sous chef make?

Sous chefs are also an imperative part of every kitchen. Due to their responsibilities, they work with both executive chefs and everyone present in the kitchen, such as line cook, junior chef, and kitchen porter. 

A sous chef’s average salary is nearly $60,000 a year in the United States. The sous chef position also comes with various benefits. If you’re looking for in detail information on how much does a sous chef earns and how you can become a sous chef, you’ve come to the right place. 

Who Are The Sous Chef?

Sous chef, the title sounds a bit awkward. Well, that’s because sous is a French word that refers to under or second chef. So, who are the sous chef? These chefs work under the executive or head chef in a commercial-grade kitchen and help them execute daily tasks accurately. 

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Sous Chef?

Being a sous chef isn’t easy because you will transform the head and executive chef’s plans into actions. Also, you’ll be swamped with duties in your workplace as you’ll need to perform various chores. 

The responsibilities of a sous chef are as follows: 

  • Checking and receiving items

A sous chef starts their day by checking the inventory of a kitchen. They ensure they have enough stock of vegetables and meats for the next few days. 

Sous chefs also place orders when they need any items and will receive them on arrival to check the quality and quantity of each product, as serving fresh foods is one of the main priorities of sous chefs.

  • Assisting Line Cook

The sous chef doesn’t cook all the time; rather, they look after the line cook and help and guide them to cook. Sous chefs make sure that the foods prepared by line cooks are good to serve the customers. 

  • Managing Menu

Sometimes, the restaurant or kitchen where the sous chef works tries to bring new foods to their menu or modify the current food menus. A sous chef will try to add new items to the food menu suitable for the restaurant or hotel with the help of the head chef. 

  • Performance Tracking

Kitchens are always a bustling place, and every kitchen comprises both freshers and experienced workers; to make the workplace balanced for everyone, all workers need to fulfill their duties with all one’s best.

To do this, sous chefs track the performance of every worker. If the sous chef notices any workers with poor performance, they (sous chef) will train them to cover the issues. 

  • Maintaining Time 

Every food should be cooked within their nominated time, because customers hate to wait longer. Sous chefs look after and help junior and line cooks so that they can prepare the ordered foods on time.

  • Planning and reporting

Almost in every work setting, sous chefs work under the head or executive chefs. But, despite being the second in command in a kitchen, they don’t take decisions alone. Instead, they discuss with the head chef while planning daily workloads and duties.

Also, sous chefs report to the head chef when they face any issues or want to bring any changes.

  • Work Safety

Kitchens tend to get dirty and unhygienic very easily. Additionally, accidents can happen, and workers can get injured if they don’t follow safety rules. The sous chef must ensure that the kitchen floor and equipment are continuously cleaned and that all workers follow safety rules in order to get a safe working environment.

how much does a sous chef make

How To Become A Sous Chef

A sous chef must possess excellent skills, experience, and qualifications. You have to start preparing as soon as possible if you want to become a sous chef and climb to higher positions. 

Following is the list of requirements needed to become a sous chef:

  • Education

There’s no educational barrier for sous chefs. If you’re a high school graduate but have the experience and skills required for the position, you can get a job in this position. 

However, it’s always good to have educational qualifications related to the field of work. You can complete a diploma or course from cooking or culinary school, or if you want to obtain higher education, you can consider getting an associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree in culinary arts

  • Experience

This isn’t an entry-level position. You’ll be working right behind the head chef, so you must think and act like him. You will also be responsible for managing a team of cooks, chefs, and porters, which requires previous work experience. 

Based on a few job openings from our site, most companies hire sous chefs with at least 3 years of working experience in medium-sized kitchens. 

  • Technical Knowledge

Technology exists in everything, even in the kitchen, to manage inventory, workers’ schedules, and prepare daily menus; many kitchen rooms use different types of software. So you should know how to use them. 

  • Certification

Those who want to add extra strength to their resume should have a few certifications that employers seek. Some of the best certifications for sous chefs are culinary administrator, master chef, and certified sous chef (CSC).

How Much Does A Sous Chef Make?

The salary of a sous chef depends on several factors like employment location, workplace, and experience. The median salary of a sous chef with two to five years of working experience in the United States as of 2022 is $57,500 yearly. 

Those with seven to nine years of working experience earn between $65,000 to $85,000 every year. And the sous chef who earns the highest makes around $85,000 to  $120,000 annually! But a sous chef needs at least ten years of professional work experience to earn this amount. 

how much does a sous chef make

Where Does A Sous Chef Work?

Sous chefs work in a variety of work settings, but there are some common workplaces for sous chefs as not every restaurant hires a sous chef. Most usual workplaces of sous chefs are:

  • Mid and large size restaurant
  • High-end restaurants
  • Four and five-star hotels 
  • Cruise ships