The professional chef can work in a wide range of establishments, and the range of skills and customer expectations will vary according to the work-place.
As well as the skill of cooking, the role of a chef demands further skills that relate to menu compilation and costing, working to a budget or profit margin, control and storage of stock, and managing the pace and workflow of a kitchen brigade. In some settings, the kitchen team needs to work effectively with other departments both in the front and back of house to ensure a positive overall experience for guests.
The chef in a top-tier hotel or restaurant will need to demonstrate outstanding skills in food preparation and presentation. They will be expected to create and adapt dishes that meet the expectations of demanding customers (and critics!). It is important that chef keeps abreast of the trends and aware of their competition in the foodie marketplace.
Commercial kitchens are equipped with complex specialist equipment that must be used carefully to avoid accident and injury. Strict maintenance of equipment as well as personal and food hygiene and safety standards are paramount considerations and often subject to strict regulation.
With globalization of cuisine, chefs can work with talent, inspiration, ingredients, and in establishments all over the world. The pressures in this field are great, but the opportunities are nearly endless; and the potential for career advancement is ever present.