An Executive Chef of a club has a vast skill set that applies to much more than cooking. Even though an Executive Chef has excellent culinary skills, they may not spend much time actually cooking in the kitchen. Rather, they are dealing with kitchen administration, management, budgeting, food cost control, hiring, expediting and maintaining member satisfaction. There’s an extra set of skills that comes with being an Executive Chef of a country club—skills that take years of working in a kitchen to master.
An Executive Chef must be able to develop recipes, create menus, understand nutritional guidelines and maintain food safety and sanitation protocol. Aside from creating and implementing menus, an Executive Chef must be able to train their staff to prepare dishes properly and consistently. An Executive Chef of a club has the added responsibility of creating menus for various daily events along with the skills necessary to operate multiple dining outlets. They must exhibit strong management and leadership skills and have the ability to lead, motivate and inspire their team to perform at a high level.
Verbal and written communication skills must be strong, both in the kitchen and with members. An Executive Chef must have good judgment, critical thinking skills and fast-paced decision-making and problem-solving skillset that enables a successful chef to quickly put out fires around the kitchen and club. Time management skills along with attention to detail, cleanliness and organizational skills ensure efficiency in meal preparation and service. An Executive Chef must also have strong financial skills involving budgeting, ordering and maintaining consistent food and labor costs.
Unlike a restaurant, a country club chef needs to satisfy the same diners and sometimes on a nightly basis. A membership will be made up of a wide variety of likes, dislikes and opinions, and a chef must be able to perform spontaneously to any needs and have the ability to handle feedback or criticism. An Executive Chef needs to be involved in marketing and publicity for their club along with being out on the floor checking on members either during or after every meal period.
Becoming an Executive Chef requires a combination of hands-on training, education and several years of work experience. While an Executive Chef must have excellent culinary skills, there are many non-culinary skills required to be a successful Executive Club Chef.