A sous chef is a type of chef only found in larger, more renowned restaurants with a strict kitchen hierarchy. The sous chef is the second highest figure of authority in the kitchen, answering only to the executive chef. The sous chef functions as a connecting link between the master chef and the rest of the kitchen staff. Sous chefs have direct control over most of the workers in the kitchen, and are usually responsible for their small-scale management for more complicated projects and busier periods.
To become a sous chef, one primarily needs experience. Education at a professional culinary school can certainly be of benefit, considering the position is only found in higher-ranking restaurants which value it, but even there candidates are judged mostly by their skill, experience, and knowledge of how a kitchen operates. Typically, one must work at a particular restaurant for a certain number of years before being allowed on the spot.
Sous chefs, despite the high qualifications typically attached to the job in terms of experience, don’t tend to earn as highly as most would expect – typically, the salary for a sous chef ranges between $25,000 – $42,000, and there aren’t many bonuses attached to it. Most restaurants tend to pay good dental benefits, but that’s about it – and sous chefs only have the prospect of advancing up one level in their career hierarchy. A good sous chef can see a good increase in their salary if they’re persistent, however.