CareerShip Home
About CareerShip
Contact Us
Mapping Your Future
Visit the Featured Career Match My Career Interests
Review Careers by Clusters Career Search

Details for Chefs and Head Cooks


Direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. May participate in cooking.


  • Prepare and cook foods of all types, either on a regular basis or for special guests or functions.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of cooks and workers engaged in food preparation.
  • Collaborate with other personnel to plan and develop recipes and menus, taking into account such factors as seasonal availability of ingredients and the likely number of customers.
  • Check the quality of raw and cooked food products to ensure that standards are met.
  • Check the quantity and quality of received products.
  • Demonstrate new cooking techniques and equipment to staff.
  • Determine how food should be presented, and create decorative food displays.
  • Determine production schedules and staff requirements necessary to ensure timely delivery of services.
  • Estimate amounts and costs of required supplies, such as food and ingredients.
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas to ensure conformance to established standards.
  • Instruct cooks and other workers in the preparation, cooking, garnishing, and presentation of food.
  • Monitor sanitation practices to ensure that employees follow standards and regulations.
  • Order or requisition food and other supplies needed to ensure efficient operation.
  • Recruit and hire staff, including cooks and other kitchen workers.
  • Analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, based on food, labor, and overhead costs.
  • Arrange for equipment purchases and repairs.
  • Meet with customers to discuss menus for special occasions such as weddings, parties, and banquets.
  • Meet with sales representatives in order to negotiate prices and order supplies.
  • Record production and operational data on specified forms.
  • Coordinate planning, budgeting, and purchasing for all the food operations within establishments such as clubs, hotels, or restaurant chains.
  • Plan, direct, and supervise the food preparation and cooking activities of multiple kitchens or restaurants in an establishment such as a restaurant chain, hospital, or hotel.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.



  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

Related Careers

  • Cooks, Fast Food
  • Dietetic Technicians
  • First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Food Preparation and Serving Workers
Wages for this career
America's Career InfoNet