why not corporate chef?

Joined Sep 28, 1999
I'm starting culinary school in July and I was wondering why more people aren't interested in becoming corporate chefs. Seems like the hours are better (for the most part weekends, evenings, holidays off) and often a chance for stock options. Any opinions?
Joined Oct 6, 2001
A lot of corporate chefs in actuality work for a large food service group such as Marriot; thereby not getting as many perks, ie stock options(those jobs are few and far between). Yes, even in the fine dining corporate accounts. When I worked for one of those groups who shall remain nameless, chefs were brought to other 7 day a week operations on those extra holidays and drafted (ie no choice) to work at other functions at nights on weekends. So really know what you are getting into and what those extra curricular demands are before thinking corporate dining is a bowl of cherries.

That said I have to say I love my profession and would not ever leave it completely; but if I ever am not running my own show again; I would know better what questions to ask!
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Well, I am a corporate chef. The are pros and cons to my position. Namely, I have a well-grounded position that pretty much guarantess my employment. Furthermore, I get all the medical, dental, stock, insurance, etc. benefits that are available. I also get to paticipate in groups with other area chefs to disucss just about anything (kind of like the Inside Scoop... only face-to-face). The food at my account is a little different than atypical corporate dining accounts, in that we do an extreme amount of high-end catering for high profile clients; I enjoy putting on really interesting food, versus the same, day-in, day-out.
The drawbacks - there is sometimes travel, usually for meetings and/or to work at unit openings; not necessarily a terrible drawback as meeting new people and observing other operations can be good. The pay isn't always the best in corporate dining (generally varying by geography).
All in all, I have worked in several independent restaurants, catering operations and with corporate contractors. I can honestly say that I enjoy my 5-day-a-week, 10 hour/day (usually) position. There is room to grow and there is pretty organized structure that seems (for now) interested in teaching me more to advance my status with the company. I know, I know that not all corporate operations are the same, however, from my own experience, I get treated a lot better than in independent operations.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Just to let you know, I in fact work for Sodexho Marriott and get a great Stock Purchase plan.
There are some corporate chefs that have responsibilities at such a great distance, but I would have to say that is probably the exception rather than the norm. Also, there is, from what I have seen, an extremely large market for corporate chefs... contract operations are almost always hirings and more companies are supplying their staff with meals as an employee benefit, therefore creating jobs for corporate chefs.
I'm not looking to start any trouble, just filling you in on what I have seen and experienced.
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