Tips on How to Become a Head Chef

The head chef (or the “big cheese”) of the kitchen is responsible for supervising staff, planning and designing menus, and monitoring food production. They may also be required to order supplies when needed.


Head chefs usually start out as an assistant chef or even a prep/line cook. In order to work your way up to the top, a head chef needs up to five years of experience with hands-on training in all areas of the kitchen.

Head Chef Smiling.



A certificate in ServSafe will more than likely be required in order to become a head chef, especially due to the fact that they have to manage and supervise other members of staff. A ServSafe Food Protection Manager certificate is available both online and in a traditional classroom setting. The online training program can be completed in less than 90 days and costs $125. Classroom programs and costs depend on which state and city you live in. To find the program closest to where you live, type in your city in the “Class Locator” section at


There are a large number of certificates available both in-class and online. Some head chef certificates could take two years to complete and range from $3,000 to $6,000, however this depends on which institution you choose and how long the program is.


A diploma is a great way to gain proper hands-on experience. Diplomas are generally cheaper than degrees and take one to two years to complete. Culinary diplomas are available in culinary schools, chef colleges, trade/technical schools, community colleges, and some universities. Future head chefs may be interested in looking into a restaurant or food and beverage management program, as it teaches students the basics of accounting as well as how to supervise and recruit staff.


Both an associate’s and/or bachelor’s degree in the culinary field could be a great investment for those who have no prior experience or training. Most degree programs not only educate students with extensive hands-on training, they also provide students with externships so they can immediately find work. A bachelor’s degree is generally more expensive and takes four years to complete, while a associate’s degree can take one to two years to complete.


A Head Chef could find work in any of the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Cruise Ships
  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Private companies
  • Film sets
  • Television studios
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Resorts
  • Convention Centers
  • Spas
  • Private homes
  • Catering companies
  • Royal kitchens
  • Even the White House!


A head chef can make an average $35,000 to $50,000 a year depending on annual company sales.

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6 Responses to “Tips on How to Become a Head Chef”

  1. ruben perez Says:

    i think that this is some good info keep it up i wont to be a chef one day and i will fallow my dream no matter what come and what goes i am a chef in my mind and in my soul i tack it very sirely and i wont to mack a pie one dasy that evry one loves and likes and all the emotions u no i think i will mack it mabe even mack more money then the grates chefs arounfd thank u for listing and god bless.

  2. mbayani raliani Says:

    l am a chef froem tanzania at ngorengoro creater in kudu lodge ,l just ask can l apply a celledge in your country and can l learn through email?thank you verry much

  3. ashley megan Says:

    i was looking into pursueing a career in the culinary feild and i was wondering if theres a chance that i wouldnt be able to find a job because of a felinous assult on my record. thanks very much Ashley Marrs

  4. Alekusho Temitope S Says:


    I am a student of sociology from a reputable University in Nigeria

    I av been in the catering proffession for about six years now, catering to small and big corporations.

    I have taking a 6month training in food and pastry operation at Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and toursim, Lagos Nigeria.

    As the sole proprietor of the business, It is time for me to sharpen my skill to enable me take the small business to a better place.

    I need guidelines on what certifications to do, to help me become a headchef/professional caterer and event manager, who would be fit to work in a world class hotel of any food industry.


  5. donavon Says:

    What about education and experience?

  6. Charles Says:

    I would love to be a head chef,i love food n i am good with people

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