what is a chef?

As a chef, your job is to oversee food preparation. You use your culinary skills to manage a kitchen and ensure restaurant customers receive the best food and service. Unlike other kitchen employees, you are involved in cooking and kitchen management. That means you plan menus, research new dishes for the restaurant, and experiment with different ingredients to provide a unique experience for visitors.

You require impressive culinary skills and food preparation expertise to coordinate work activities in the kitchen. Since you are responsible for flavour and presentation, you need creativity to ensure the dishes taste great and look appetising. Aside from cooking preparation and coordinating kitchen staff, you also perform various administrative duties, such as ordering ingredients, sourcing vendors and managing food stock. You work with the restaurant manager to set food prices and determine the cost of the dishes.

Your duties differ depending on the size of the establishment. When you work in a large, high-end restaurant, you may take up a managerial role and only cook when devising new dishes for the menu. In less formal establishments, your duties include managing food stock, cooking, and keeping the kitchen clean and tidy. You also require knowledge of food safety standards. Hence, you are expected to adhere to the requirements of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). As a chef, you're able to work in any establishment that prepares food, from snack bars to hotels, cafes, restaurants, cruise ships and catering companies.

Would working as a chef suit your culinary skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a chef role.

chef jobs

average chef salary

According to the Economic Research Institute, your average earnings as a chef fluctuate based on various factors, from experience to the area of specialisation and your skills. Your average salary as a chef is around €26,000 per year, which comes out to an hourly rate of approximately €13. Aside from your salary, you also receive various perks and benefits. Some companies pay bonuses.

As a chef, your earnings differ based on your experience. In an entry-level position, you work under the supervision of senior chefs, and you are likely to start with a salary of €18,900 per year. Chefs with the highest level of education and several years of experience take home high salaries of over €31,700 per year.

how to increase your earnings as a chef

Your earnings depend on the size of the establishment. In a large, high-end restaurant, you have additional duties beyond cooking, like creating the menu and reviewing the available food in stock. In a small kitchen, your duties involve cooking, stocking the kitchen and cleaning the area.

The complexity of your duties demands high levels of skills and knowledge, and you can negotiate a higher salary. As an executive chef, you also receive a higher salary than junior-level chefs with basic duties.

download our salary guide

types of chefs

Some of the different types of chefs include:

chef plating a dish
chef plating a dish

working as a chef

Working as a chef is an exciting and fast-paced job that involves numerous responsibilities. Read on for details on the specific tasks, work schedules and career prospects involved in the role.


chef skills and education

To work as a chef in Greece, you require the following qualifications:

  • Education: to become a chef, build your culinary skills and learn about food safety and kitchen management. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts or business management. You can find other training programmes to improve your food preparation skills.
  • Work experience: you require extensive work experience to excel as a chef. Gain experience through entry-level positions and build your culinary skills. You also require deep knowledge of the latest food industry trends.

competencies and characteristics of chefs

Some of the skills and competencies of a chef include:

  • Organisational skills: you should be organised as a chef, as you plan workflows in the kitchen and ensure food is prepared promptly. Lack of organisation can lead to mixing up orders or menu items and presenting the wrong dishes to customers.
  • Multitasking skills: you cook a range of food items on the menu and perform other tasks. The ability to multitask helps you coordinate the various elements of food preparation.
  • Creativity: you rely on creativity to develop a unique menu and create impressive food presentations. To enhance the dining experience, you are also responsible for the décor, seating arrangements and tableware.
  • Decision-making skills: as a chef, you determine the menu of the restaurant or hotel. Hence, you assess industry trends and evaluate the best dishes for the establishment. You determine the items to be removed from the menu and suggest décor improvements to stay on trend.
  • Interpersonal skills: as a chef, you rely on your interpersonal skills to build lasting relationships with kitchen and hotel staff. Your interpersonal skills help you interact effectively with employees, customers and management.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a chef.

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