Kitchen managers are in charge of the general operations of a restaurant's kitchen area. Also known as a kitchen supervisor, its purpose is to ensure that the kitchen department operates smoothly and complies with safety regulations. Tasks include ordering food, preparing menus, and monitoring staff. Both the head chef and the chef must have a level of understanding of the culinary arts and must have experience in professional cooking, if not a formal education.
In most restaurants (in some cases, the restaurant owner is the head chef or head chef) it's possible to climb the ranks of a large kitchen over time and eventually become head chef, but it's a very hard and extremely long journey. It really depends on the restaurant, the culinary culture and how it is managed. Similarly, kitchen managers also usually have formal training, so they understand the general functionality of an effective kitchen. Interestingly, the two functions do not necessarily have the same type of training.
Regardless of whether your goal is to be a kitchen manager or head or executive chef, there are specific qualifications you'll want to acquire. While there is some overlap in the skills you need to possess to succeed in one of these roles, each has its own path and its own set of skills. Most people wouldn't graduate from college and expect to be immediately offered the position of chief financial officer or chief operating officer of a company. The jobs of kitchen manager, head chef and executive chef are just as important and prestigious in the restaurant world.
Reaching that point can only be achieved with time and a successful experience. Whether you're interested in the position of kitchen manager, executive chef, or head chef, you can count on being demanding. However, with the right person in the position, it will also be very rewarding. A kitchen manager ensures that all aspects of food service at a restaurant meet customer expectations.
In this profession, you make sure that you have adequate supplies, that the kitchen has enough staff to handle all orders, and that the food is properly cooked and served promptly. During busy periods, a manager can check every order to ensure accuracy and quality. A kitchen assistant performs a variety of support tasks under the direction of the manager. In this profession, you can streamline food service, replenish supplies, perform kitchen tasks, or serve food to customers.
However, you are not responsible for the final failure or the success of a shift. The head chef remains at the top of the hierarchy in restaurant kitchens without an executive chef. Like an executive chef, this person controls every aspect of the kitchen. They are responsible for creating menus, controlling kitchen costs, and managing kitchen staff.
Some chefs leave the kitchen in the hands of the sub-chef and the rest of the team, while others are more practical and prefer to participate in everyday cooking activities. Both kitchen managers and sub-chefs are responsible for daily kitchen operations, including supervising staff, ordering supplies, and preparing food. They may delegate tasks to their subchef and other kitchen staff, but they are responsible for ensuring that each task is completed correctly. They act as kitchen managers and perform most of the tasks that a kitchen manager performs, in addition to designing and managing the menu.
Kitchen managers focus more on the business side of the restaurant than on managing the menu. There are other topics that kitchen managers can handle depending on the restaurant. They usually supervise kitchen staff, manage food preparation, and ensure that all dishes are well cooked and presented. Kitchen managers usually work in restaurants or hotels, where they oversee all aspects of the business.
Instead, a subchef manages only the work inside the kitchen, delegates tasks to other kitchen employees and supervises them as they complete those tasks. A junior chef, also called comis chef, works with seasonal chefs to learn about the kitchen environment. In general, a head chef is very similar to a kitchen manager, so these are the two roles that are most often compared. A kitchen manager is responsible for the overall operations of a restaurant's kitchen, while a subchef supports the head chef in managing the kitchen.
Before we look at how a chef differs from a kitchen manager, it's important to get some background on the different types of chefs. The kitchen manager is responsible for daily administrative functions, including the general operation of kitchen functions, staff management, budgeting, and inventory management. Larger restaurants may justify the need for the kitchen manager to have one or more assistant kitchen managers (often abbreviated to “AKM”). .