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Sous Chef

A fast-paced role as second in command in a commercial kitchen environment.

What's it like to be a Sous Chef?

A Sous Chef plays a key role in a commercial kitchen as the second in command to the head chef or executive chef.

Tasks and duties

  • Prepare and design menus, taking into account the profitability and efficiency of each dish.
  • Direct food preparation, order and purchase supplies and take stock inventories.
  • Manage and train kitchen staff, ensuring all staff comply with regulations and safety standards.

In addition to being an excellent chef, a Sous Chef also needs to lead a kitchen team effectively and ensure the kitchen is run in an efficient and profitable manner.

Sous Chefs need to be calm under pressure and have a solid work ethic. They also need to have excellent organisational and communication skills.

What can I earn as a Sous Chef?

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The most common salary for a Sous Chef is between $60k and $70k
Source: SEEK job ads

How to become a Sous Chef

SEEK Learning
Sous Chefs are working chefs with a number of years experience. There are no formal qualifications required to be a Sous Chef.
  1. Complete an apprenticeship and gain a vocational qualification such as a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30813) in order to work as a chef.
  2. Work as a chef and take on increasingly more responsibility in areas such as preparation, supervision, stock control and health and safety.
  3. Consider undertaking further studies, such as an Associate Degree of Culinary Management to further develop kitchen service and management skills.

Explore cookery qualifications

Find a qualification that will prepare you to work as a Sous Chef.

20 institutions offering this qualification
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Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

What skills are employers looking for?

Employers want:

  • Self motivation
  • Team work
  • Resilience
  • Menu planning & costing
  • Initiative

Shortlisted applicants:

  • People management
  • Team work
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Time management
  • Resilience
Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

How do Sous Chefs rate their role?

Latest reviews from 34 Sous Chefs surveyed on SEEK

Work-life balance
3.3
Job satisfaction
4.0
Career progression opportunities
4.1
Job security
4.2
Pay / Salary
3.6
Variety of work
3.8

Latest reviews

AllPositiveNegative
Nov 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in Hospitality
Experience
5 – 9 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Corporate dining
The good things
As a Sous or head chef in the corporate event sector you need to be able to adapt to ever changing numbers, high demand with dietary requirements and catering for large numbers into the thousands. The...
The challenges
Challenges includ supply issues, dietary requirements and changing numbers. Different menus styles going simultaneously
Nov 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
Commercial cookery
The good things
If you like a challenge and you want to lead become o sous chef. Just expect that you will sacrifice your personal time to do so
The challenges
High stress You are the person who all the responsibility falls to but you do not have the authority to make changes
Nov 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in Hospitality
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
The good things
Being a sous chef at the age of 23 is fun, challenging and allows me to be a mentor to chefs older and younger
The challenges
Age is definitely a problem at the age of 23 being a sous chef you have to earn the respect of everyone and it’s definetly harder being young
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in Hospitality
Experience
5 – 9 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Mine Site catering
The good things
The position of a sous chef is a leadership role for people who want to take charge, be forward thinking and have an eye for detail. Great for a person that has lots of initiative and wants to learn m...
The challenges
Challenges can be a daily and sometime hourly occurrence. Between pressure of deadlines, stock requirements and food delivery. The biggest one is people, your staff is the blood line of your operation...
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in Hospitality
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
The good things
Cooking, as a qualified chef, can be rewarding. There is a sense of accomplishment when you clear that final docket off the rack to discover you’ve just finished doing 350+ covers in a 2 and a half ho...
The challenges
Being organised is key to achieving all of your goals. Even something as simple as the ordering.
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
hospitality
The good things
Challenging role, good pay, work anywhere in the world.
The challenges
organisational skills, staff management, long hours
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor of Design
Experience
Less than a year
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
Hospitality
The good things
Being a junior sous gave me 5he feeling that I was finally in my way to somewhere good, that I wasn't going to be stuck in a dead end job for ever. It gave me great hope. The fact that I was awarded t...
The challenges
The main challenge, for me, was because I was promoted internally, I didnt have support from some of my colleagues. Some of these colleagues had been on holiday visas, and did not value their work and...
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor of Tourism
Experience
Less than a year
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
Digital Marketing
The good things
You can expand your knowledge about food, food preps, combinations, garnishing, managing a team
The challenges
Work under pressure, come up with new ideas
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate IV in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
Experience
5 – 9 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
The good things
My job is always interesting and fast paced. Always challenged. Meet lots of interesting people.
The challenges
The hours can be long. You sometimes miss out on things.
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Hospitality
The good things
Being able to be creative in day to day operations to express my strong talents
The challenges
People management, with so many different personalities it takes time to learn how to master dealing with so many different people to get the best out of each person on a different level
Source: SEEK Role Reviews

Working hours for Sous Chefs

Overtime
Weekends
Shift work
Late nights
Often
Sometimes
Never
Source: SEEK Role Reviews from 34 Sous Chefs

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