Sous Chef: Responsibilities and Qualities

Joined May 29, 2010
I am currently looking to hire a Sous Chef.This Sous Chef would be my first one. I am wondering what I should look for when hiring one. What are some good qualities to look at and what should he/she be responsible for? 
Joined May 5, 2010
It has been my experience that a good Sous should be as capable as the Executive and that the Exec. should and must impart all that he knows onto his Sous.

The Sous is closer to the Chef than a husband is to a wife.

It is encumbent on you, as the Chef, to teach the Sous all that you know so that Sous can be there for you when you need him
Joined Aug 6, 2010
What part of MA? I think a good Sous will look at what stresses you the most, and take that stress down a notch. They will be, like chefross said, as close to you as your spouse. Your sous should be able to do your inventory for you, manage the training of your other staff, and step in and run the kitchen when your out. Oh, and if you need a sous, I could use a good chef to learn from....
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Temperament, attitude, punctuality, patience, cleanliness  and  can he cook, how does he get along with others. He should be able to take your place when you are out.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
A good cook, handle any station -- including plonge, not need to be told who and when to help out, keep out of the way, prep monster, show up on time, stay 'til it's over, no excuses, accept responsibility, not dwell on the past, not wilt under pressure, be me when I'm not there, ask questions, write messages down and not let me forget them, remind me of anything important I've obviously forgotten, not make too many suggestions nor otherwise make me homicidal and/or suicidal, make and bring the coffee, occasionally buy the beer.

Stay connected with the menu.  Suggest new dishes when it gets stale.  If there are issues with the food, I want to hear them first from you and/or FOH, and NOT from the owners.

If there are things which need my attention, write them down.  Call them to my attention when we shut down, and then again when we open.  Keep your notes available so I can ask you again if I forget. 

Know the pantry, walk in and freezer.  Clean the pantry walk-in and freezer of stuff that's been around too long.  Know the suppliers by their preferred names.  Have their numbers in your phone or book (whichever you use).  Be prepared to do the ordering if I'm gone for a week.

Have everyone else in the kitchen on speed dial.  Don't be afraid to call me.

Make sure everything is CLEAN.  Clean it yourself if that means the least disruption to service.

Respect the staff.  I understand that practical jokes are a part of the kitchen, but if you can't totally refrain keep them benign.  No racist, sexist, or ethnic humor or remarks of any kind on the job.  No unwanted sexual overtures.  No religion, no politics on the job.

No rap.  No speed metal.  No soft jazz.  No Christian rock.   

Don't ever, ever go over my head -- not if you want to keep your teeth or your job.  Understand that I've got severe ADD (which is more hyper-focus than distraction) and help me when I need it. 

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Joined Aug 21, 2009
The Sous is closer to the Chef than a husband is to a wife.
That's so true... the KM is my "work husband" ... I know what makes him happy, what p**** him off, and pretty much how he would handle most situations so I'm very comfortable making decisions (such as hiring a new cook like I did yesterday) and I know he will agree with them.  When I'm in doubt, he gets a quick email or I wait until he's back and ask him then.  I'm his "work wife" too... he knows without a doubt what I would do in a certian situation, the laundry list of pet peeves I have etc.. and it's that closeness we have with each other that makes us work very well as a team and according to the owners we do an incredible job of running the kitchen smoothly. 
Joined Aug 21, 2009
BDL said it all.  The sous is the chef's right hand and needs to be there for him/her at all times and the chef also needs to giv the sous his/her complete support as well.  After all the next step for a sous is to be the chef so the sous needs to learn all he/she can because one day it will be them running the show. 
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