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Occupational Profile

Chef

Chefs are managers who plan, direct and participate in food preparation and cooking activities in restaurants, hotels, institutions and other food establishments.

  • Avg. Salary $43,669.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.34
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
NOC & Interest Codes
The Chef is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Executive Chefs
NOC code: 6241.1
DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising` the activities of sous-chefs, specialist chefs, chefs and cooks; and in recruiting and hiring staff

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to ensure food meets quality standards; may prepare and cook food on a regular basis or for special guests or functions

INNOVATIVE

Interest in planning menus

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Chefs' duties and responsibilities vary from one organization to another but, in general, they:

  • supervise cooks and other kitchen staff in the preparation, cooking and presentation of food
  • order food and kitchen supplies based on best price and budget
  • check orders received for quantity and quality of product
  • create new recipes to please customers
  • create menus
  • estimate labour and food costs and modify menus to stay within budget
  • check the quality of raw and cooked food products
  • ensure that sanitation and occupational safety standards are maintained
  • assist with staff development and training
  • meet with other managers in the organization
  • promote their establishments by practicing good public relations.

Where a number of chefs work for the same employer, they usually specialize in preparing particular types of foods. For example, they may be:

  • chefs saucier (sauce chefs) who prepare, season and cook meat and fish items and accompanying sauces, as well as soups, casseroles and related dishes
  • chefs garde manger (pantry chefs) who prepare and present salads, cold dishes and cold hors d'oeuvres and buffets
  • chefs entremetier (vegetable chefs) who prepare, cook and present vegetables, pasta and egg dishes
  • chefs patissier (pastry chefs) who prepare, cook and present desserts and pastries and may also prepare ice creams and sherbets.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Working conditions for chefs vary with the type of organization. Large establishments may have modern equipment, well-lighted work areas and air conditioning. Older and smaller establishments may not be as well-equipped.

Chefs frequently work in close quarters that can be very noisy, especially during busy periods. They must stand for hours at a time and work near hot ovens and grills. Some lifting up to 20 kilograms routinely is required.

Work hours vary depending on the type and size of the establishment. Large establishments thath are open 24 hours a day typically have 2 to 3 shifts a day. Holiday, weekend work and overtime is common.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Chefs need to possess:

  • artistic and creative talent
  • good health and stamina
  • a keen sense of taste and smell
  • excellent hand-eye co-ordination
  • strong math skills
  • a memory for details
  • excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills and team-building skills
  • the ability to remain calm in hectic circumstances
  • excellent organizational skills.

They should enjoy planning and organizing menus and methods, supervising the work of others, and using tools and equipment to perform tasks requiring precision.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Almost all chefs have some technical qualification obtained through apprenticeship training or related post-secondary education.

Alberta has a formal apprenticeship program for cooks (for more information, see the Cook occupational profile).

In Alberta, food safety courses are offered by:

Visit the Government of Alberta website or contact 780-427-7164 for a listing of approved food safety training options.

The Government of Alberta awards a Food Sanitation and Hygiene Certification to those who complete approved training and achieve at least 70% on a provincial exam. Food facilities generally must employ at least 1 person who is certified. Where 6 or more people are working on site, at least 1 person present must be certified. Where fewer people are working on site, the certified person may be absent.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Lethbridge College

Portage College

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

In addition to technical training, chefs usually require 3 to 6 years of experience in commercial food preparation. Some chefs work internationally to build their resume in foreign cuisines or to gain experience with a celebrity chef in major cities around the world.

The Canadian Culinary Institute (CCI) under the authority of the Canadian Culinary Federation, and in partnership with various learning schools, offers continuing education programs leading to the designation of Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC) or the Certified Master Chef (CMC).

Applicants to the CCC must have:

  • at least 5 years of experience in a supervisory position
  • recognized inter-provincial trade certificate (for more information, see the Cook occupational profile) or a Canadian or International degree in food service management, or at least 8 years in a supervisory position
  • Food Safe Handlers certification
  • a signed letter from their employer outlining positions held over past 5 years.

Applicants to the CMC must have:

  • Canadian Red Seal certification or international equivalent
  • at least 8 years of industry experience post Red Seal certification with 5 years in a supervisory capacity
  • a CCC designation or international equivalent
  • Food Safe Handlers certification
  • HACCAP (levels 1 and 2)
  • signed letter of support from their employer.
Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

However, the Canadian Culinary Institute offers optional certification programs, as described under Related Education.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Most chefs are employed in privately owned restaurants or hotels, but some are employed by:

  • schools
  • hospitals
  • nursing and personal care facilities
  • civic and social organizations
  • catering companies
  • railway or cruise lines.

Experienced chefs may advance to sous chef and executive chef positions, or purchase and manage their own establishments. Opportunities for advancement depend largely on acquiring better cooking and management skills. Graduates of technical or apprenticeship programs tend to advance more quickly than those who lack formal qualifications.

In Alberta, 83% of people employed as chefs work in the Accommodation and Food Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Accommodation and Food Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,100 Albertans are employed in the Chef occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 117 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Salaries for chefs vary a great deal depending on the size and location of the establishment, volume of business and the chef's reputation.

Chefs are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6321: Chefs.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Chefs occupational group earned on average from $19.26 to $23.89 an hour. The overall average wage was $21.34 an hour. For more information, see the Chefs wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Foods
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Canadian Association of Food Service Professionals website: cafp.ca

Canadian Culinary Federation website: ccfcc.ca

Canadian Culinary Institute website: www.ccicc.ca

National Restaurant Association [United States] website: www.restaurant.org

Restaurants Canada website: www.restaurantscanada.org

 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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