Are you interested in pursuing a career in cookery? There are many different types of chef roles, each with specific responsibilities. Learning about the different types of chefs, their salaries and what they do can help you decide what career path you want to take.

In this blog we’ve explored the different opportunities you have as a chef, as well as the most common types of chefs, their duties and their salaries in SA.

What is a chef?

A chef is a professional cook that generally works in a commercial kitchen. Some chefs focus on a specific cuisine while others specialise in certain aspects of cooking such as baking or pastry making. The role of a chef will differ depending on the type of chef they are, which will be covered below.

Executive Chef (aka Group Chef)

Executive Chefs are the very top of the kitchen management structure. They often oversee and manage all kitchen activities and ensure each chef is completing their duties on time. An Executive Chef will do very little cooking. Instead, they taste dishes before going out, review plate presentation and create menu items. Therefore, only large establishments will have an Executive Chef.

Most common salary in SA: $110k year

Head Chef

If a venue doesn’t have an Executive Chef, a Head Chef is essentially the same. A Head Chef will monitor kitchen activities, order stock, control kitchen costs and liaise with suppliers. The Head Chef will cook during service; however they will also leave day-to-day tasks for the Sous Chefs, Commis Chefs or apprentices. 

Most common salary in SA: $60k year

Sous Chef (aka second chef)

A Sous Chef is the second highest ranking in the kitchen and works directly with the Executive Chef or Head Chef. A Sous Chef will be more involved in the day-to-day running of a kitchen, while supervising kitchen staff and keeping things running smoothly. They will also fill in for the Head Chef when they are off. 

Most common salary in SA: $65k year

Chef de Partie 

A Chef de Partie is responsible for running a certain section of the kitchen, known as a station. This could include fry chef, roast chef, vegetable chef and more. Depending on how big the kitchen is and how many stations there are. 

Most common salary in SA: $55K year

Commis Chef

A Commis Chef is a junior member of the kitchen team and generally works under the Head Chef or Chef de Partie. Usually, a Commis Chef will be undertaking cookery training or had recently finished.

Most common salary in SA: $55K year

Interested in becoming a chef?

As a commercial chef you can work across a variety of venues including pubs, clubs, hotels, cruise ships, 5 star restaurants and more. Commercial cookery also has the potential for huge career growth. Start as a Commis Chef and work your way up to an Executive Chef. The opportunities are endless!

Furthermore, Kick start your career as a chef with a Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery through HITsa. This qualification is available through an apprenticeship pathway, setting yourself up for a long-term career. Enquire online today or call the friendly HITsa team on 8375 2800.

Annual salary information was sourced from Seek