The specific duties of chefs de cuisine can vary depending on the type of restaurant or kitchen they work in, but many of the core duties are consistent with this position:
Coordinate Meal Preparation
The foremost duty of chefs de cuisine is coordinating meal preparation and service activities within the kitchen. They review customer orders as they come in, assign tasks to sous chefs and prep cooks, and ensure that food is delivered on time. Chefs de cuisine direct both kitchen and restaurant staff on proper procedures and assign responsibility for various meal elements.
Oversee Food Quality
Chefs de cuisine also maintain the restaurant’s quality and reputation by monitoring the food that is served to customers. They may inspect plates to ensure that meals are correctly portioned and presented. Chefs de cuisine also taste food and oversee kitchen staff throughout the cooking process, checking to make sure that elements of dishes are properly cooked and seasoned.
These leaders also make key decisions regarding a restaurant’s menu items and offerings. They prepare menus weeks or months in advance based on customer demand, seasonal ingredient availability, and special events. Chefs de cuisine may collaborate with restaurant owners or an executive chef to discuss menu options and develop creative dishes throughout the year.
Select and Source Ingredients
Chefs de cuisine also support restaurant operations by selecting and sourcing ingredients for meals. They may work directly with farmers and suppliers to order fresh vegetables and meats and may change menus based on the availability and quality of ingredients. This aspect of the role also requires excellent budgetary and financial management skills, as chefs de cuisine need to balance ingredient quality with costs and concerns for the restaurant’s profitability.
Maintain Kitchen Cleanliness and Safety
As part of their kitchen leadership role, chefs de cuisine also maintain kitchen cleanliness and safety. This can involve developing or enhancing processes for food safety and storage as well as maintaining or replacing kitchen equipment that is not working as expected. Many chefs de cuisine also prepare safety and cleanliness guidelines for kitchen staff and inspect employees’ uniforms to ensure that they adhere to strict standards of professionalism.