The executive chef is the highest ranking position in the hierarchy of a kitchen. The executive chef functions as a manager to the other chefs and cooks, as well as the various assistants and other workers in a kitchen, coordinating their actions and making high-level orders. Even though the position is mostly used as a means of easily managing a large number of chefs, commonly found in large restaurants, executive chefs can sometimes be found working even in small restaurants with only a handful of employees, when the scale of their operations is large enough to warrant a more coordinated system of management.
Becoming an executive chef is mostly about experience with the specifics of cooking – almost all executive chefs rise to the position from being a regular chef, usually in the same restaurant. In some small exceptions, executive chefs are hired for having sufficient experience with management and employee supervision, and in some cases a degree related to management or finances – but experience with the ins and outs of a kitchen’s operations is absolutely necessary for performing the job efficiently.
An executive chef’s annual salary ranges between $47,000 – $69,000, and in some cases can go up to $80,000 if the chef is a highly experienced and motivated one, or if there are lots of employees under their command and supervision. Health bonuses are very commonly high in the food industry, and the job of an executive chef is no exception – some actually choose it for this fact.