Top-notch culinary skills are a priority for sous chefs in a club kitchen, but these skills are just a fraction of the qualities needed for success.
Sous chefs are second-in-command to the executive chef and represent one of the most vital positions in a country club kitchen. A sous chef is the link between the executive chef and the rest of the team. There can be a lot of competition for a sous chef position, so to help outshine other candidates a cook needs certain skills and experience to prove he or she is capable of being in such a demanding role.
It might seem obvious, but a sous chef needs an exceptional level of cooking expertise. Whether the line is missing a cook or to help speed things up during the dinner rush, a sous chef must be prepared to jump on any part of the line at any given time. A good sous chef is also able to train and supervise the kitchen staff and help them carry out the executive chef’s intentions for cooking and plating the meal.
Leadership and Communication Skills
While the executive chef is technically in charge of the kitchen, the club sous chef performs much of the hands-on management and oversees the kitchen when the executive chef is out of the kitchen. A sous chef must project confidence and have the authority required to manage staff in an often busy, loud, and stressful environment. Keeping the entire team working as a unit towards a common goal is a big undertaking, which requires clear communication skills and the ability to motivate and guide everyone.
Problem Solving Skills
A club sous chef must be quick-thinking, adaptable, and calm under pressure. They are often responsible for making changes on the fly when certain supplies or even staff don’t arrive in time for service. When the head chef is away, the sous chef has to fix any problems that may arise in the kitchen. Running out of ingredients, disagreements between chefs, or issues in the kitchen will be up to the sous chef to fix.
Club sous chefs have a multitude of duties and are required to multitask and plan tasks well. Strong organizational skills allow for the kitchen to be more efficient, cleaner and safer and ensure everything runs smoothly and minimizes chaos in the kitchen.
Reliability is the foundation of a successful working relationship between the executive chef and the sous chef. For any kitchen to succeed, the executive club chef must trust that their second-in-command is competent, trustworthy, and loyal. A good sous chef has the ability to earn and maintain this trust.
A successful club sous chef needs to be an executive club chef’s right hand and can juggle all of the demands of the kitchen, even when the team is feeling overworked and stressed. The role of a club sous chef is not an easy one, with long hours in an environment that can be fast-paced and stressful at times. But with these crucial skills, along with the dedication and drive to succeed, a sous chef can play a vital role in making a club’s kitchen successful.