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What does a day in being a chef look like?

I am a sophomore in High school that is continuing to expand his knowledge on becoming a Chef. Having insight in what a day in their life looks like would benefit me in knowing what I should be expecting if I do choose this career pathway. chef cooking culinary-arts culinary

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Riley’s Answer

I did not pursue a culinary career, but I have worked in a few restaurants in the past and I feel I have a pretty good idea of what the head chef does. I worked at a high-end dinner restaurant as well as a counter service place on my college campus, but what I observed from the chef was pretty much the same. They always got to work before anyone else and started checking how the kitchen was left by the night staff. They would go through a checklist of ingredients we need and make sure we were well stocked. By the time the regular kitchen staff arrived, they already knew what foods we were out of for the day and what foods (like sauces and sandwich toppings) needed to be prepped before opening the restaurant. Once we were in full swing of the shift, the chef mostly walked around monitoring all the stations. When we were busy, they would usually pitch in and help out at whatever station was overwhelmed, but other than that they mostly just made sure all the food was being prepared how they designed it and that the kitchen was running smoothly.
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Robert’s Answer

Brayden U,

A Chefs life in a day can be very rewarding and yet very demanding. For me I have worked the healthcare side of Culinary which is in my mind a better way to go than a restaurant. restaurant chefs can be a dime a dozen and you may work 14-16 hour shifts depending on where you are.
So my day usually started at 6am where I would plan out the day for myself and my crew. we fed 390 residents daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I had 7 people in my crew including cooks and dishwashers. not including the 5 for front of the house.
So on to my day, I would prep for breakfast until my morning cook came in, and would help plate breakfast and lunch. While I was not in the kitchen I would attend meetings ( never enough meetings), create menus, create recipes, order the food, create schedules, control food and labor cost, while keeping my head above water each day. So with this in mind, anyone can throw a proverbial wrench in my day. so if a cook or dishwasher called in sick, I would try to find replacements for this person or do the work myself. Answer question from the higher ups, talk to the residents, do assessments for dietary use, and learn as much as I can from those around me.

Chef Robert Mingus
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Tsering’s Answer

Hi Brayden,

I'm not a chef but I suggest checking out videos on Youtube or blogs talking about a chef's day-to-day. Additionally, you might want to reach out to chefs of local restuarants and those working in various settings within the culinary field. Hope this helps!
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Dennis’s Answer

Duties & Expectations of Being a Chef
If you think that a chef's life is full of cooking day in and day out, you may be surprised to learn what a typical day for a chef is actually like. Although a person who holds the job title of "cook" probably does spend most of each day simply cooking, a chef's life involves much more than the culinary arts. Depending on where he works, a chef may quite easily be a part-time personnel manager, businessman, public relations specialist and special events coordinator.

Early Morning
After first arriving at the restaurant, a chef must immediately begin to take inventory of all food and beverages. Produce deliveries often arrive in the morning, and it's the chef's responsibility to be sure that all fruits and vegetables are fresh. Likewise, the chef should check the rest of the inventory to make sure all food, beverages and condiments are being used before the expiration date.

Kitchen staff usually begin to arrive a short while after the chef does. This is the time when work should commence on any dishes that take longer to cook or can be prepared ahead of time, such as soups or desserts. Because a chef is usually also the supervisor of all employees who work in the kitchen, she also needs to make sure that every worker arrives on time. If she's short on staff, the chef should immediately begin making arrangements for additional workers to fill in if possible.

The lunch crowd typically begins to arrive around 11:30 a.m., and it's then that the chef's full attention must be devoted to how his staff is performing in the kitchen. It may be necessary for the chef to provide advice or instruction to staff members. It's equally common for the chef to pitch in and help in whatever area of the kitchen may be lagging behind.

Early Afternoon
After the lunch rush is over, a chef and her staff have time to take a lunch break of their own. Kitchen personnel usually stay at the restaurant and eat their midday meal together, often sampling potential new additions to the menu. This is also the time of day when beverage distributors typically make their deliveries. It is the chef's responsibility to make sure that the delivery includes exactly those items that were ordered, in the proper quantities.

Late Afternoon
The chef supervises his kitchen staff as they prepare for the dinner crowd. This often involves making sauces, chopping and slicing vegetables and beginning to cook any meats that may take a long period of time to prepare, such as roasts or baked poultry.

Early Evening
The dinner crowd arrives in early evening, and this is most often the busiest time of day. Usually beginning around 6:00 p.m. and lasting until 9:00 or 10:00 that night, the dinner rush involves a great deal of activity in the kitchen, all of which must be supervised and coordinated by the chef. A chef's duties during this time of day can be compared to a conductor leading an orchestra.

Late Night
While kitchen employees are cleaning up, the chef takes the time to plan and review his menu for tomorrow. Now is also often the time for placing beverage and produce orders for the following day.