In general, it can take 10 to 20 years to become an executive chef, as this position gradually moves up the categories. In most establishments, the executive chef is more than the head chef. They are primarily managers, who often exercise overall responsibility for the food service operations of the hotel or restaurant. This includes hiring and scheduling staff, managing the inventory of food and non-food products, and maintaining appropriate employment and tax records.
Executive chefs are responsible for the overall style and theme of a restaurant's food and generally design and refine exclusive dishes, and subordinates assume responsibility for the daily supervision of the kitchen. Glassdoor reports that executive chefs should expect to gain at least five years of experience in the field before earning the degree. A cook must keep learning and working his way through the ranks of a kitchen before he can be called a chef. While education may be essential to pursuing a culinary career, there are no shortcuts.
Even chefs who graduate from the best culinary schools in the world can expect to move up after they graduate. All new cooks have to learn the ins and outs of a professional kitchen. Most executive chefs have worked their way up the ranks, and it may have even taken 10 to 20 years. Executive club chefs must take care of kitchen management, budgeting, controlling labor and food costs, hiring, streamlining and controlling members.
Executive chefs exhibit equal experience and academic discipline in their roles as head cooks. Becoming an executive chef requires a combination of hands-on training, education, and several years of work experience. Job descriptions vary slightly depending on specific kitchen environments, but the basics remain universal in most executive chef jobs. Successful executive chefs exhibit a number of traits that facilitate performance in the range of disciplines inherent to the position.
With so many variables at play, it's impossible to say how long it will take a person to achieve the title of executive chef. Replacing those who retire or leave the profession will create opportunities for a new generation of executive chefs. While the road may seem winding, there are some common skills and experiences that many executive chefs share. The ability to motivate and inspire line cooks to perform at a high level is an intangible attribute that an executive chef should possess.
Cable television channels have popularized a reality show format in which young chefs have the opportunity to win a position as executive chef in a restaurant.