Restaurant and culinary managers often get their start in the kitchen. If you're interested in becoming an executive chef or running your own restaurant some day, you'll likely go through the rigors as a sous chef.
The sous chef reports directly to the executive chef, and assists him or her in overseeing the entire food preparation process. The sous chef also fills in when the executive chef is absent, or will substitute for or assist station chefs on an as-needed basis. Smaller restaurants may not have a sous chef, while larger restaurants may have several.
The job of a sous chef can be demanding -- most require 9-12 hours of work/day, and the ability to back up the head chef's decisions while also managing the other cooks in the kitchen with skill and grace. Though specific job duties may vary, sous chefs are often the chefs that ensure quality food preparation from the kitchen team. The sous chef position is often considered a stepping stone to the coveted executive chef role.
Most sous chefs hold a culinary degree or certificate of training from an accredited culinary school such as Le Cordon Bleu, the Culinary Institute of America, the International Culinary Schools of the Art Institutes, or others.
*Survey by StarChefs.com