Duties and responsibilities
A banquet chef is responsible for planning, organizing and directing the work of employees in the Banquet kitchen. They develop the banquet menu and then oversee the food preparation for all banquet and catering events and ensure the food produced is of the highest quality. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Developing new menus and meals, based on customer demand or the season
- Testing and tasting all new menus/meals
- Briefing banquet kitchen staff about the upcoming functions
- Establishing the priorities each day and assign tasks to banquet kitchen staff
- Taking a physical inventory of specific food items for the daily inventory
- Ordering new supplies where necessary
- Providing support and training other kitchen staff (e.g., in line cooking, food preparation and dish plating)
- Taking orders from the executive chef
- Ensuring the the kitchen is kept clean, tidy and sanitary
- Supervising all junior kitchen staff
The real key to becoming a banquet chef is to gain experience in the profession. Most types of chefs will start off working in lower level roles hospitality industry. For example, they may start a as a pot washer or food runner. They may then gather experience as a line cook and then a sous chef in a banquet kitchen, where they will learn cooking skills from the chef who manages them.
To be a banquet chef, you don’t need any postsecondary education. You can find a job that provides on-the-job training or complete an apprenticeship that focuses on banquet cheffing. However, many banquet chefs attend community colleges, technical schools, culinary art schools or 4-year colleges to complete programs related to cheffing.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as a genuine passion for food, banquet chefs will need skills such as:
- Verbal communication skills, as banquet chefs will need to communicate with the executive chef and other kitchen staff
- Creativity, as part of producing excellent meals is to think outside the box and add a touch of uniqueness
- Leadership skills, as banquet chefs will need to lead a team of staff and must be able to do this confidently
- Attention to detail, as banquet chefs must plan the best menus, with the most delicious flavouring
- Physical fitness, as banquet chefs will have to be on their feet all day
- Organization skills, as kitchens are busy and stressful and banquet chefs need to keep their work environment tidy and clean
Many banquet chefs work full time, including early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Typically, chefs work more than 40 hours a week.
According to salary.com the median annual salary for a sous chef in the United States is $47,381. The lowest 10% earn less than $30,408 per annum and the highest 10% earn more than $69,891 per annum.
Banquet chefs progress from lower level kitchen roles, such as line cooks. They can then progress, with more experience and knowledge, to becoming an executive chef, or even owning their own banquet company. This does, however, take time as being a head chef requires years of experience.