Executive chef career requirements

Being an executive chef is the natural professional outcome for many chefs who seek to go beyond the kitchens and take on new challenges, managing multiple teams and designing diverse gastronomic proposals. The fact that it is a position of high responsibility makes some chefs who aspire to take this step have doubts about whether they are qualified for it or if they can reach such a position with their experience. Getting ready for it is crucial.

  1. Executive chef career
  2. Education needed to be an executive chef
  3. How to become an executive chef


Un profesor del CIB enseñando una cocina profesional a alumnos

Executive chef career

The executive chef is in charge of managing multiple kitchens, usually in groups of restaurants or hotels, so he or she has to be accustomed to meeting multiple needs. On a daily basis, he/she is in contact with a variety of teams and has to travel to different locations. That is why it requires great organizational and negotiation skills. On the other hand, it also provides flexibility, there will be days when you work more hours and days when you will have more free time if there are not many needs to attend to. The time spent on each task depends on your ability to organize and resolve.

The executive chef is not always in the kitchen or in the establishment where he operates and often works remotely. In addition, he/she is usually more in contact with the gastronomic sector than a cook, through fairs or congresses, and has more freedom of movement than someone who must always be attending to his/her kitchen. Usually, it also involves traveling and managing international gastronomic businesses and implies a higher salary.

Roberto Holz, executive chef at the Hotel Sofía and professor at the Executive Chef Diploma at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona, considers it a tough profession at times, but one that gives a lot of satisfaction, where you can grow a lot as a person and be a mentor to others. It involves being part of the business strategy, thinking about constantly innovating and thinking about building and bringing together a good team of people to achieve customer satisfaction.

Although being an executive chef is already a very good job position, there are those who use it as a gateway to management positions, such as general manager of a hotel or resort.

Roberto Holz, chef ejecutivo del hotel Sofía y director del Diploma Chef Ejecutivo del Culinary Institute of Barcelona, considera que es una profesión dura en algunos momentos, pero que da mucha satisfacción, en la que puedes crecer mucho como persona y ser mentor de los demás. Implica formar parte de la estrategia del negocio, pensar en innovar constantemente y pensar en construir y cohesionar un buen equipo de personas para conseguir la satisfacción del cliente.

Aunque ser chef ejecutivo ya es una muy buena posición laboral, hay a quien le sirve como puerta de entrada para posiciones directivas, como por ejemplo la de director general de un hotel o resort.

Alumnos del CIB en una sesión de creatividad e innovación

Education needed to be an executive chef 

For Roberto, it is important to have dual training, both in cooking and management, as it is a hybrid job position. It doesn't make sense without one of the two parts. This will require:

  • Knowing what goes on in the kitchef.
  • Learn to develop gastronomic proposals.
  • Know how to organize kitchen teams.
  • Knowing how to manage product stocks and suppliers.
  • To know the different business models in restoration.
  • To have economic notions of purchases and costs.
  • To have a clear understanding of the company's culture and know how to transmit it to others.
  • To know the labor and professional legislation.
  • Know how to make decisions and lead teams.

Experience in large kitchens is also indispensable. Knowing how to perform as a chef in all functions can lead a chef to a better situation. Someone without experience as a chef is not qualified to make the leap to executive chef, as having worked as a chef gives the ability to understand the operations of a kitchen and know what workload he or she can take on or how to organize and what can be asked of him or her.



How to become and executive chef

Enric Coderch, executive chef and director of the CIB's PCAC · Haute Cuisine Chef Program, tells us that it is generally difficult to become an executive chef without having been one before, but that it is usually easier if you are promoted internally in the gastronomic business in which you are already working.

For this, Enric believes that it is important to be restless and have an interest in training. In large companies with different kitchens, the chef with the best attitude and the most training will have a good chance of becoming an executive chef. It is highly recommended to always be active and proactive, and to train as a chef in order to stand out.

The executive chef job is not a job that is advertised in a conventional public job alert. Often, catering companies or large hotels look for recruitment companies specialized in finding senior and intermediate positions to search for suitable profiles. When there is a candidate for the position within the same company, the recruitment company is asked to include the candidate in the process to be validated by the company and compared with the other possible candidates.

Roberto believes that there are professionals who take on the position of executive chef too soon, with little experience in team management and without sufficient knowledge of management and leadership, and this often results in excessive staff turnover and a failure to meet the company's economic objectives. It is important not to rush and to know how to make the leap at the right time, and for this it is important not to stop training and to lose the fear of making decisions and assuming responsibilities.

Aula Activa-1
Executive Chef Diploma Discover the program

It's not enough to manage kitchens, you have to know how to get results.

  • More than 20 leading professionals in each subject.
  • More than 100 sessions that go beyond knowledge.
  • 4 practical challenges to put you to the test
  • 2 experiential outings to understand the role of executive chef.
  • 7 workshops to help you excel

Port Aventura World. An unbeatable partnership.

During the six-week Executive Chef program, you will work hand in hand with professionals from different disciplines on the core project based at Port Aventura World. The resort's Management Committee will propose a series of challenges that you will have to tackle as a team by making real proposals and applying all the knowledge you have acquired during your classes. Finally, you will present your project before the Committee, which will evaluate it.


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