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How to become a Sous Chef

Sous Chef
avg. starting salary

Think too many cooks spoil the broth? You’ve obviously never heard of Sous Chefs… Sous Chefs work directly underneath Head Chefs, acting as their second-in-command and helping to run the kitchen when called upon. Their specific responsibilities will vary, depending on the size of the kitchen. However, they usually perform more practical tasks than their boss, such as overseeing dishes and preparing food, as well as managing the Chef de Parties and Commis Chefs who work underneath them. Without Sous Chefs, the kitchen simply wouldn’t run smoothly and efficiently. And Head Chefs wouldn’t be able to produce award winning TV shows, for a start… Typical day-to-day duties for a Sous Chef may include:
  • Overseeing food preparation
  • Performing quality control, to ensure food is up-to-scratch
  • Coming up with new dishes and deciding on specials
  • Ordering stock and sourcing new ingredients
  • Creating recipes and writing menus
  • Training and managing new staff

Becoming a Sous Chef certainly isn’t for everyone. It takes an incredible amount of dedication and practical experience in order to make the grade, not to mention excellent culinary knowledge in almost all areas of the kitchen. If using the can opener is still something of a daily struggle, this may not be the role for you. That being said, it’s the perfect role for people who are particularly passionate about food, especially if you’re a natural leader. If you can keep a clear head under pressure, and always deliver your dishes to a high standard, you might just have the recipe for success as a Sous Chef (and other food-based puns). Other key skills for a Sous Chef include:
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • A calm head under pressure
  • Good organisational and time management skills
  • Creativity and flair
  • Extremely high standards


Chef de Partie

Up to £24,000

Sous Chef

Up to £35,000

Head Chef

Up to £50,000

"I absolutely love being a Sous Chef. I’m a bit of a control freak, if I’m honest, and care more deeply about the quality of our food than any sane person should. But it’s all about the balance between leadership and delegation – not to mention having the right team around you. You have to be extremely results driven, and think on your feet a lot. You also need to be quite thick skinned. Some of the language that flies around would be enough to make Gordon Ramsay blush. But that honesty and objectivity makes everything we do ten times better. My advice? Work hard, and put the extra hours in. Oh, and always cut away from your body. Unfortunately, I had to learn that one the hard way…"

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All Sous Chef jobs