What Does a Salad Chef Do?

A salad chef works under the executive chef and sous chef to design and prepare salads, hors d'oeuvres, and other cold dishes. Keep reading for more information about the salary, job responsibilities and educational requirements for this career. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Salad chefs work in kitchens of restaurants, businesses and institutions. They may oversee and work with several line cooks to prepare salads and entrees approved by the sous chef and executive chef. To hold this position, salad chefs must be experienced in preparing, plating, and presenting salads according to the set menu. They should also be able to accommodate guests' reasonable requests for eliminating or substituting ingredients in salad orders due to dietary or allergy-related concerns.

Important Facts About Salad Chefs

Median Salary (2018) $48,460 (for all chefs and head cooks)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% growth (for all chefs and head cooks)
Work Environment Restaurant or Private Kitchen
Similar Occupations Kitchen Manager, Executive Chef, Food Services Manager

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities and Duties

According to the College Board, salad chefs must be prepared to work long hours in the kitchen, including weekends, late nights, and holidays. Working in a kitchen can be tiring and stressful, so a salad chef should be able to handle rigorous kitchen demands. As with any chef, a key responsibility is producing delicious food that is also visually appealing. Therefore, salad chefs should be able to identify and use the freshest, highest-quality seasonal produce and food items. Additional duties might include the following:

  • Maintaining cleanliness and safety at salad station
  • Preparing daily entrees
  • Ensuring timeliness and quality of food
  • Training and advising line cooks at a salad station
  • Writing daily menu items and creating prep lists
  • Meeting preparation and order deadlines

Educational Requirements

Although no absolute educational requirement exists for this profession, some aspiring salad chefs may attend a culinary arts program. A large portion of the training, however, is received on the job. Restaurants often hire kitchen staffers who are passionate about food and highly motivated. To land a position as a salad chef, however, it often helps to have a combination of experience and formal training. Some restaurants may require a salad chef to have several years of cooking practice and experience leading a team of line cooks.

Though not always required, earning a degree in the culinary arts may help your chances of employment. It's also possible to advance to the salad chef position from being a preparation worker or line cook within a restaurant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advancement in a restaurant's kitchen depends on a worker's ability to perform sophisticated tasks and his or her willingness to take on more responsibilities.

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