Job Skills and Conditions
Chefs genuinely enjoy preparing food and satisfying customers’ appetites. You need to be artistic, creative, detail-oriented, flexible and organized. Good math skills, hand-eye coordination and a keen sense of smell and taste are important. Successful chefs have a good sense of teamwork and the ability to remain in control during hectic times.
Chefs and cooks are on their feet for long periods and often work evenings, weekends and holidays. They need to be able to function in close quarters during busy periods, lift heavy objects and work near hot ovens and grills. While the kitchen staff of hotels and restaurants can expect evening and weekend shifts, institutional cooks are more likely to have conventional work schedules. Seasonal work is often required for those working as a cook in a school or in a resort.
Food service plays a major role in work at:
- Cruise ships and railway lines
- Cafés and bistros
- Bakeries and pastry shops
- Catering businesses
- Magazine test kitchens
- Public and private schools, from elementary to university level
- Grocery and specialty food stores
- Institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes
Job Titles and Descriptions
America’s Career Infonet and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook gives detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended education for jobs in fields using skills which can be learned in the Food and Hospitality Institute, which may include:
- Chefs and food preparation workers
- Chefs and head cooks
- Food service managers
- Institutional and cafeteria cooks
- Restaurant cooks
Salaries and Projected Job Growth
Salaries vary widely according to the type and size of the food service operation. A large metropolitan area such as the DFW metroplex has more career possibilities than average, with higher salary ranges.
According to America’s Career Infonet, salaries and estimated increase for job positions through 2016 for the following occupations in Texas are:
|Job Title||Median Hourly Wage||Median Annual Salary||Est. % Job Growth Through 2016|
|Chefs and head cooks||$18.05||$37,500||+22%|
|Food service managers||$24.02||$50,000||+17%|
Professional AssociationsChefs, including sous-chefs, executive chefs and pastry chefs, may be members of the American Culinary Federation. Students enrolled in culinary training programs may join the ACF as junior members. After graduation, students are advanced to active membership when they are hired as chefs. ACF is the premier professional chefs’ organization in North America, with more than 230 chapters and 19,000 members nationwide.