What does a chef do all day? If your answer to this is ‘cook’ you would be surprised to find out exactly what goes on in the inner-workings of a professional kitchen. Of course, they prepare delicious meals for paying customers but they wear many different hats depending on where they work. Their duties range from managing staff, running public relations, being a businessman and even an events coordinator.
Start of Day – 9:00 a.m.
The day of a chef can start at any time around 9 in the morning, it may seem late but when you’re on your feet until midnight, it’s actually rather early. To begin, a chef must first get themselves ready, often dressed in quality chef uniforms and geared with their set of knives, they’re ready to take on what ingredients come their way. Once settled in, it’s off to take inventory of the produce that normally arrives in the morning. This task involves keeping track of the expiration dates and ensuring the delivered ingredients are up to standard.
Midmorning – 10:00 a.m.
The rest of the staff usually arrive shortly after the chef has settled into the kitchen. They will have a meeting and discuss the plan for the day. Chefs will be assigned tasks and elements which take longer to prepare are started on straight away such as desserts which require setting times. The head chef also makes sure they are fully-staffed for the day, if there are any employees missing, they must make arrangements immediately to sort out the issue.
Midday – 12:00 a.m.
The lunch service is expected to start at 11:30 a.m.and the kitchen staff are ready to take on the orders in the kitchen. The head chef now turns his full focus to the running of the kitchen and the staff. During this time the chef takes an advisory roll in making sure that food is prepared correctly and maximum efficiency it utilized. This is also the stage where the chef themselves will likely help out if there aren’t enough hands to go around at peak times.
Early Afternoon – 2:00 p.m.
When lunch service is complete the chef and the rest of the staff will have their own lunch break, ususally they’ll share a meal together. This is normally dedicated to testing menu options for the evening meal along with the front of house and waiters. Beverage deliveries also come in the early afternoon and this falls under the chef’s responsibilities to ensure that the delivery arrives in this window.
Late Afternoon – 4:00 p.m.
Preparations begin for the dinner service which involves the normal things like chopping veggies, cooking sauces and setting any desserts which need time in the fridge. The chef will help out in this regard and ensure everything is on track.
Early Evening – 6:00 p.m.
Dinner service startsat about 6:00 p.m. and the kitchen will close at 9:00 or 10:00 later that night. The dinner rush is the most feared occasion but can also be the most rewarding. It involves a lot of action in the kitchen, which the head chef must keep his finger on.
Late Night – 10:00 p.m.
While the kitchen staff are cleaning up the counters and making sure everything is ready to go for the next day, the head chef will take the time to review the menu for tomorrow and make any adjustments needed. This would also be when the next produce and beverage orders are sent for delivery the following day.