sous chef standing over a kitchen apprentice watching them prep food

What skills do you need to be a sous chef?

What skills do you need to be a sous chef?

Rachael Langley our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 05/04/2024

Step into the kitchen with us as we delve into the world of sous chefs! You know what a sous chef job is all about, but have you ever wondered what it takes to be a great sous chef?

When it comes down to it, your main aim is to dish out meals that put a smile on our guests' faces. But there's way more to the job than just cooking. Acting as the head chef’s right-hand person, you need to stay sharp and make sure the kitchen stays shipshape.

So, what does it take to really rock this role? Let's dive in and find out! Here are the five top skills you need to be a sous chef.

1 - Laser focus

You’re all about the details. You keep an eye on everything that makes its way out of the kitchen, serving up food you can be proud of. While you're at it, you're also keeping the team in check, ensuring everything is prepped and stocked to perfection. In your kitchen, there’s no such thing as a culinary catastrophe.

And how do you keep on top of it all? That’s an easy one. You’re passionate about your job and committed to doing it well.

2 - Clockwork precision

Do you think of yourself as an innovator? Great! All the best chefs are. There are a whole host of reasons why you need to tap into your creative side in this role. Alongside the kitchen manager, innovative thinkers are able to spot new processes that will streamline kitchen operations, saving time and improving efficiency.

Hint: You can bet that you’ll get asked about process improvement in any chef interview.

3 - Target-driven

Step into any kitchen and you’ll find a list of targets, often focusing on achieving great quality reviews, ensuring the highest health and safety scores, and maximising food gross profit.

So if you’re a goal-getter, you’ll do great in this job. It's all about that fire in your belly, that drive to do things right and make every dish shine.

But remember, you won't be doing it solo. You’ll have the support of your team because, ultimately, you’re all in this together. Which brings us to our next point.

4 - Leadership

So you might be asking yourself, ‘What leadership skills do you need to be a sous chef?’ Well, here's the scoop… it all starts with respecting your chefs and the wider kitchen team. That means recognising their hard work and when the head chef isn’t around, you’re the one jumping in to help them out. Because let's face it, a pumped-up team is a powerhouse team!

And believe us when we say, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing your team come together, fuelled by their shared love for food.

5 - Continuous learning approach

One of the top qualities of a sous chef is an insatiable appetite for learning (yes, that’s a shameless pun). This doesn’t just mean picking up new techniques. It means continuously seeking out opportunities to refine skills and take on more responsibility in the kitchen. 

After all, your engagement is infectious. It doesn’t only fuel your own growth, but it also inspires and motivates everyone around you.

Are you ready to step up your culinary game?

While these skills are essential for aspiring sous chefs, the journey doesn’t stop there. With M&B, you’ll have endless opportunities to grow. Whether it's through on-the-job training or formal qualifications, we're dedicated to supporting your professional development.

So, are you ready to flex your sous chef skills? Then head straight to our sous chef jobs page and see what jobs we have that are local to you. Our opportunities include part-time sous chef and junior sous chef roles, as well as full-time team member positions, so there’s something for everyone.

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