Kitchen manager (head chef)

head chef

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would lead a team of staff, run a kitchen and make delicious food to serve to customers.

You would use your knowledge and experience of professional cooking to organise and oversee the work of the kitchen staff.

You’d decide which tasks need to be done and share these among the team. You would also be involved in some of the preparation and cooking of food.

You could work in any organisation where there is a restaurant, such as businesses, hospitals, schools and universities. Head chefs who work in schools and hospitals are responsible for making sure that the food they serve is healthy.

You would:

  • Plan menus
  • Make sure food is of the right quality and price
  • Make sure food is ready on time
  • Manage stocks of food
  • Order ingredients from suppliers
  • Control the budget and keep accurate records
  • Manage health and hygiene procedures
  • Organise the staff duty rota
  • Recruit, train and develop staff

You’d need to work quickly and calmly when under pressure and deal with unexpected situations.

Working conditions

Hours

You would typically work shifts, involving early mornings and late nights, including weekends and public holidays.

Environment

Working in the kitchen would be hot and humid. At key meal times, you would be on your feet most of the time and working under pressure. You would wear a uniform and hat to protect your clothing and for hygiene reasons. For part of the day, you may work at a desk away from the kitchen creating menu ideas with the restaurant manager and placing orders with food suppliers.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Taking the lead
  • Being physically fit
  • Coming up with new ideas
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Most kitchen managers/head chefs will have worked their way up from trainee/apprentice chef jobs and have relevant qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in: 

  • Hospitality: Professional Cookery (SVQ level 3)
  • Hospitality: Supervision and Leadership (SVQ level 3)

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Health and food technologies
  • Hospitality subjects

Helpful to have

Though you must have relevant work-based qualifications and experience in a professional kitchen, experience in running your own section, or other management or leadership experience and qualifications may be of value.