Despite a clear hierarchy in the kitchen, the role of the Executive Chef’s second-in-command may differ from club to club.
Depending on the size and style of the club, hierarchy and titles in the kitchen can vary quite widely. While the top position is nearly always the Executive Chef or Head Chef, this chef’s next in command can run the gamut from Executive Sous, Sous Chef, or even Chef de Cuisine.
So, what are the differences between the Executive Sous Chef and a Sous Chef? In many places, the roles take on similar responsibilities. The Sous Chef, for example, often has more of a hands-on role in the kitchen during meal service than the Executive Chef. These often include:
- Training and recruiting new kitchen employees
- Coordinating the food prep for each meal service
- Supports junior cooks with cooking and plating
- Coordinates between the back and front of house
- Supporting menu planning and ensuring execution
Both the Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef can step up if the EC is away for the day, taking on all of the managerial and administration when necessary.
The Executive Sous Chef, however, will likely coordinate more closely with the managerial team and EC on projects outside of food prep and menu development. They may also play a hand in:
- Managing the kitchen’s budget and track spending
- Assist with administrative tasks like payroll and scheduling
- Spend time on the floor speaking with members
- Analyzing health and safety protocols in the kitchen
- Inventorying the kitchen and placing orders
In this case, the main differences will come down to the discretion of the club or resort. The Executive Sous position will often infer a greater involvement in the administration and managerial tasks of the entire kitchen, putting them on the track to Executive Chef in the future if they choose. While you will rarely see both an Executive Sous Chef and Sous Chef at one club, the terms may be used interchangeably.