What Does a Chef Do?

Chefs (415C) work in a variety of food service establishments, including restaurants, hotels, spas and country clubs. The Chef is responsible for what happens in the kitchen from developing the menu, hiring staff, purchasing ingredients, to picking out the dinnerware and assisting with the design of the restaurant. They have an advanced knowledge of food preparation and management, as well as a knowledge of human resources, administrative procedures and business management. The NOC code for this particular trade is: 6241.

Job-Related Skills, Interests and Values


  • becoming knowledgeable in food safety and sanitation, including recognizing food allergies and eliminating potential hazards
  • preparing a variety of foods including seafood, galantines, pate en croute, fish, fowl and meats
  • using height, colour, contrast and taste, to design appetizer, entree and dessert plates for presentation
  • producing chocolate and sugar garnishes to dessert presentation, working with a recipe and/or patisserie's instructions
  • Hiring, supervising and training other kitchen personnel
  • purchasing recipe ingredients, produce a daily or weekly food purchasing order and receiving the product to ensure freshness and quality
  • developing and managing the menu by producing a standardized recipe for each item, performing a yield analysis on the raw and cooked products
  • setting the levels for standard kitchen inventory including perishables and dry goods, and rotating this inventory
  • cooking with wine, liqueur and spirits, including matching foods with wines, knowing the different types of wines, and handling and storing the wine, liqueur and spirits

Additional information on training standards for this particular trades in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/CTS-CHEF415C_S_EN.pdf

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

Apprentices must have a Red Seal Certificate for Cook and at least one year of related work experience after getting your Red Seal Certification to register as a Chef. Often, candidates for this trade are recommended by their Employer. Sponsors or trainers of apprentices must hold a Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.) or a Red Seal for Cook and at least 4 years experience as a Head or Executive Chef. A Chef is an unrestricted trade which means that you do not need a Certificate of Qualification to work in the trade. However, apprenticeship training is highly recommended. If you are currently attending high school, you may benefit from enroling in a Hospitality and Tourism Specialist High Skills Major Program. For more information, please click the following link:


Completion of your apprenticeship will take approximately 1 to 2 years (2260) hours of on-the-job instruction as well as 360 hours of in-school training. Performance objectives and learning outcomes were developed and approved by the Cook Industry Committee for Ontario.

This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. The in-school component is 360 hours of either block release, day release or in-plant instruction and includes:

  • sanitation and food safety
  • food preparation
  • resource, property and menu management
  • working with wine, liqueur and spirits
  • communicating effectively

What’s Your Future as a Chef?

Because food trends, styles and ingredients change, Chefs are constantly learning new things. As a Chef, you may be exposed to sharp knives, hot appliances and dangerous equipment. Therefore safety is paramount in this trade. You may work long hours or in shifts which include weekends and holidays.

Employment in this trade is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through the next few years. According to the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks, the best trained chefs and cooks are in high demand. Also, larger incomes and increased travel by Ontarians have created more employment opportunities. A more multicultural society has also increased demand for chefs specializing in foreign cuisine.

Changing technology in the workplace, such as microwave cooking, adds to the complexity of a chef's job. As well, increasing computerization in the kitchens - for instance in retrieval and inventory control - will require workers to have appropriate skills. Nevertheless, technology change is not likely to become a substitute for the more personalized touch of chefs.

Chefs are employed by:

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • catering companies
  • entertainment clubs
  • health and social service firms
  • hospitals, nursing homes or retirement homes
  • large recreational facilities or resorts
  • spas
  • bistros
  • country clubs 

 Wage Rate

  • Fully qualified Chefs can earn in the range of $9 to $15 per hour, depending on the employer and your expertise
  • With experience, successful chefs can earn considerably more and often negotiate salaries in the $70,000-$100,000 per year


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Chef for You?


Do you mind working in an environment that can be hot, humid and hectic?

Yes      No

Are you well organized?

Yes      No

Do you mind working evenings, weekends and holidays?

Yes      No

Do you like to maintain and ensure high work standards and can remain calm under pressure?

Yes      No

Do you like to research, create and experiment with food and have an artistic flair?

Yes      No

Do you like to work with your hands, using a variety of techniques and equipment to prepare food?

Yes      No

Do you have the ability to work with numbers and perform calculations?

Yes      No


If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Chef may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Cook
  • Assistant Cook
  • Baker
  • Baker-Patissier


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