How Can I Become a Chef at a Russian Restaurant?

Russian chefs are trained to prepare a variety of regional recipes, particularly those involving dairy, fish, grains and meat. Learn about culinary certification and education requirements, job duties and salary prospects. Schools offering Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Chef at a Russian Restaurant?

Chefs and head cooks hold leadership positions at restaurants. Rather than focusing on the specifics of food preparation, they ensure that the restaurant runs smoothly overall by supervising kitchen staff, monitoring food quality, ordering supplies and ingredients, and implementing safety and sanitation protocols. In addition, they are responsible for the development of menus, so those working in Russian restaurants must have knowledge of Russian cuisine. For instance, they may include common Russian foods like borscht, shashlik, mince pies, stroganoff and honeycake on the menu.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Education Required On-the-job work experience
Key Responsibilities Develop menus, ensure ingredient quality, supervise kitchen staff, organize inventory, monitor safety and sanitation
Licensure and/or Certification Voluntary certifications through professional organizations
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9%* for all chefs and head cooks
Median Salary (2015) $41,500* for all chefs and head cooks

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do As a Chef at a Russian Restaurant?

The word 'chef' comes from the French term 'chef de cuisine,' which translates directly as 'chief of the kitchen.' Traditionally, as a chef, you'd be in charge of an entire restaurant kitchen and a trained master in all aspects of food preparation. Today, you'd manage the kitchen staff, inventory and budget if you were the executive or head chef. As a sous chef, you'd work directly under the head chef as a supervisor. As a station chef, sometimes referred to as a line cook, you'd be in charge of one particular area of food preparation.

Russia has very cold weather and a long, multi-cultural history that has influenced the diversity of its cuisine. Because of the harsh climate, Russians through the ages developed hearty foods high in fat and carbohydrates. When preparing Russian cuisine, you'll use few fruits and vegetables, and make dishes heavily based on grains, dairy and meat, particularly beef and fish. A few popular dishes that you might create as a chef in a Russian restaurant are Kotlety (burgers), Pelmeni (dumplings) and Pirozhki (small pies).

What Education Do I Need?

If you have your high school diploma or equivalent, you may consider enrolling in culinary school and making Russian cuisine your chosen area of focus. Schools offer 1-year diploma programs and 2-year associate's degree programs in the culinary arts and hospitality. A typical culinary arts program will train you in cooking, management, marketing and customer service. In addition to cooking classes, a few courses you might expect to take are inventory and purchasing, nutrition, managing employees and customers, dining room organization and restaurant sanitation. Additionally, you could seek an entry-level position as a preparation cook in a Russian restaurant in order to obtain first-hand training.

Can I Become Certified?

You may consider earning one of the American Culinary Federation's (ACF) professional certifications (www.acfchefs.org). There are five different levels of certification that you can acquire depending on your training, experience, skill and professional position in the kitchen. The ACF certification levels that you can achieve include entry-level culinarian, sous chef, chef de cuisine, executive chef and master chef. Every five years, you'll be required to renew your ACF certification.

What Job Prospects Can I Expect?

Many chef positions require previous experience and can be competitive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that between 2014 and 2024, there would be faster than average growth in the percentage of chefs and head cooks employed (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS also stated that the average annual salary of chefs was $45,920. According to Payscale.com, in October 2016, head chefs in the 25th-75th percentile ranges earned from $29,835-$65,442.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Chefs may find jobs at restaurants that serve other types of foods, such as Mexican, Italian or Chinese food; they may also oversee a fusion restaurant that blends cuisine from multiple cultures. Individuals who are interested in food preparation, particularly in making pastries, cakes, and bread may also want to look for jobs as bakers. Those who are looking for leadership roles in food service might gravitate toward jobs as food service managers and direct the overall functioning of restaurants.

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