The Demands on a Head Chef—Lots of Stress

Posted by

Compared to workers in other industries, hospitality workers don't live long after retirement. So says a recent study of major companies.

Which hospitality career was considered more stressful? Seems being the head chef in a large restaurant topped the list. The study blamed a chef's excessive stress to relentlessly inflexible deadlines and the chance of very public failure in the event of a mistake.

One executive noted that chefs and caterers work in a pressure cooker environment with high workloads and long hours. Head chefs are constantly called upon to produce high-quality meals in short time frames.

Kitchen work involves considerable teamwork, and being in charge of the kitchen staff is not an easy task. Commercial kitchens are high stress work environments. Top quality service is expected of everyone, which means head chefs must not only deal with recipes, presentation and deadlines, but the human factor. If the head chef cannot maintain a cordial working atmosphere and harmony in the kitchen, these problems will reflect in the product and the restaurant, and the customer will pay the price.

As the team leader, the head chef sets the tone and pace for the staff. He or she will be expected to solve problems and remain calm and collected under pressure. The head chef must also inspire by example, showing a sound work ethic without losing control.

As if he or she didn't have "enough on their plate," the head chef must also ensure that health and safety regulations are enforced, and that food is stored and handled properly. That means being current with all the rules and regulations imposed by county, state and federal agencies.

If you're interested in becoming a head chef, it might help if you had a regular physical workout routine to remove stress.

For an added perspective, check out this video:

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch