Become a Culinary Supervisor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a culinary supervisor. Research the education and career requirements, certification and experience required for starting a career as a culinary supervisor.

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Should I Become a Culinary Supervisor?

Culinary supervisors, also referred to as culinary managers, oversee the work of chefs, cooks and waitstaff in a restaurant by hiring and training new employees, making schedules and managing payroll. Additional responsibilities may involve ordering inventory and supplies, ensuring customer satisfaction and monitoring sanitation. These supervisors can find work in a variety of dining establishments, from high-end restaurants to fast food shops to cafeterias. Culinary supervisors often work on their feet for extended periods of time and sometimes work under stressful conditions.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None required; an associate degree is beneficial
Degree Name Culinary arts
Experience Prospective supervisors must have culinary experience
Key Skills Strong customer-service, management, leadership and problem-solving skills
Salary (2014) $41,610 per year (Median salary for chefs and head cooks)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014); job postings (November 2012).

Step 1: Enroll in a Culinary Program

Although postsecondary education is not required to become a culinary supervisor, completion of an associate degree program in culinary arts could be useful. A culinary arts associate degree program typically offers courses focusing on culinary techniques, safety and sanitation, basic management skills and kitchen operations. Most schools require students to complete a certain amount of hands-on culinary work as part of the curriculum.

Success Tip:

  • Consider a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree program in culinary arts management could help individuals strengthen their business skills. Courses usually focus on cost control, effective management, restaurant operations, menu planning and hospitality.
  • Participate in an internship. Students enrolled in a culinary program can obtain additionally hands-on experience through an internship. Some schools require students to complete an internship as a course requirement. Participants might observe and participate in various culinary positions at restaurants, hotels, hospitals or other food service establishments.

Step 2: Gain Experience

In general, chefs and cooks in restaurants prepare a broad range of foods, including poultry, beef, fish and vegetables, in a variety of ways, such as baking, frying, broiling, roasting and sautéing. They typically must clean their work area and ensure that perishable foods are properly stored, rotated and labeled. Experience as a cook or chef can be instrumental to becoming a culinary supervisor.

Success Tip:

  • Pursue certification. Aspiring culinary supervisors may benefit from voluntary American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification. The ACF provides designations for new and experienced chefs, such as Certified Culinarian, Certified Chef de Cuisine or Certified Executive Chef. According to the ACF, professional certification could help individuals prove their competency in the culinary field. ACF offers 14 levels of certification, which require various amounts of education and work experience.

Step 3: Pursue Supervisory Positions

After several years of experience in the culinary field, individuals can pursue supervisory positions. Openings may be available in an individual's current restaurant or they may look for employment opportunities through job postings.

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