Hiring an Executive Chef: How to Find the Right Candidate and What It Will Cost You

Hiring an Executive Chef

Executive chef hiring can be tricky, especially when you don’t know what to look for or how much it will cost. Our expert team has gathered everything you need to know about executive chef hire into one place—and they made it easy to understand, too! By reading this guide, you’ll learn how to find the right candidate to get your restaurant off on the right foot.

Why Does Your Restaurant Need An Executive Chef?

An executive chef is the highest ranking kitchen who supervises all food operations, including the day-to-day kitchen activities. They develop menus, oversee food preparation, and monitor junior chef training. An executive chef enables restaurant owners to run a successful business by managing many key responsibilities like the ones we have listed below.

Implementation of a correct food production schedule

The executive chef supervises and improves the food production schedules and production lines. He or she needs to ensure that food is prepared correctly to justify the taste, flavor, texture, ingredient quality, and quantity as advertised to customers.

Supervise food consumption, timely procurement, and efficient inventory control

Food also needs to be made available on time. It is the executive chef who optimizes the production line so that each line is working to full capacity and in compliance with standards and procedures.

Manage compliance – food prep, health, safety, hygiene, delivery methods, etc.

When you are hiring an executive chef, you want to make sure that they are compliant with all food prep, health, safety, and hygiene regulations.

Oversee catering, corporate contracts of food delivery, and other such activities

When you’re looking for an executive chef, you’re looking for someone who can oversee all aspects of your food service. This includes catering, corporate contracts, food delivery, and other such activities. You want someone who is experienced and has a proven track record.

Manage staffing and restaurant employee management

When considering executive chef hire, look for leadership qualities related to people management, staff management, and chef training.

Oversee bookkeeping, accounting, finances, and tax management

It’s important to have a handle on your finances. This includes knowing how to bookkeep, do your taxes, and manage your money. While you can outsource some of this work, it’s important to have a basic understanding of these things so you can make informed decisions about your business.

Regularly review and improve menu design, items, and pricing

Many restaurant owners looking for an executive chef focus more on the managerial side and forget to consider a very key aspect: marketing and menu engineering.

When hiring executive chefs, chef recruiters dig into the track records of candidates and find out what contributions were made to improve menus and expand the target market.

Annual audits, budgeting, business planning, and financial reporting

When hiring executive chefs, restaurant owners should assess the candidates’ abilities and find out how well they have managed annual audits, budgeting, business planning, and financial reporting.

What Skills, Experience, Knowledge, and Abilities should executive chefs possess?

An executive chef hire can be considered successful only when you find a professional who correctly understands what your restaurant business is really about and what kind of target audience it can attract. The understanding has to come from hardcore financial, marketing, and operations management skills. Let us find out more about the key things to look for to find the right chef candidate.

Restaurant Business Performance Improvement

The candidate should have a good track record in restaurant business performance improvement – improvement in revenues, operations costs, and profit margins across categories.

Restaurant Inventory Planning, Management, Supervision

The right candidate will have experience in inventory planning, management, and supervision. The cost, quality, proper storage, and usage of ingredients have a huge impact on food quality, food costs, and customer satisfaction.

Menu Engineering, Pricing, Revenue Generation

As the owner or manager of a restaurant, you know that the food is one part of the equation. There’s also menu engineering, pricing, and revenue generation to consider. Chef recruiters suggest hirings executive chefs who have expertise in successfully marketing your food business through the right menu designs.

Compliance With Best Practices, Rules, Regulations

In order to ensure your restaurant is compliant with rules and regulations, your executive chef has to implement the best practices and procedures that will ensure 100% compliance. There should be tech-enabled and manual methods of supervision that monitor every activity with clarity.

Managing, Directing, Guiding Chefs, And Food Preparation

An executive chef is responsible for managing, directing, and guiding all chefs and food preparation staff in a restaurant. They are also responsible for creating new menu items, overseeing food quality, and controlling food costs. The most important qualities in an executive chef are experience, creativity, passion, and leadership.

Continually Checking And Improving Customer Experience

It’s important to always think about how you can improve your customer’s experience. When looking for an executive chef, assess a candidate’s knowledge of customer experience and the best ways he or she suggests to have happy customers and deliver on their expectations.

Financial Management Of Restaurant Operations

When looking for an executive chef, you need to be prepared to pay a high salary. But this compensation will only be fractional compared to the huge revenue benefits you can achieve through your executive chef hire. Experienced executive chefs can turn a loss-making restaurant business into a highly profitable one.

Staffing and Payroll Management

An executive chef hire should be able to make impressive improvements to staffing and payroll management. It is one of the key duties of an executive chef to ensure there is a required number of chefs and cooks to meet all requirements on time.

Qualifications Of An Executive Chef

When looking for an executive chef, you might be wondering about the kind of qualifications a successful executive chef hire should have. There is no set list of qualifications, but we have mentioned what most restaurant owners look for when hiring executive chefs.

Graduate or Postgraduate Degree in Culinary Arts/ Science

Most candidates will have a graduate or postgraduate degree in culinary arts or science. This ensures that they have the necessary education and knowledge about particular cuisines and food preparation management.

A Degree / Certification in Hospitality Business Management

Many executive chefs of hotels have a degree in hospitality business management. This helps professionals to manage financial, marketing, and food management operations in an efficient manner. Many culinary schools also offer certification programs in hospitality management.

Knowledge of Financial Management of Restaurants

In order to be a successful executive chef, it is important to have knowledge of financial management of restaurants – controlling food costs and labor costs, identifying the means of increasing orders from different customer segments – walk-in, online, corporate, events, etc.

Sound Knowledge of Food Production, Processing Principles, And Industry Standards

As the head of a kitchen, an executive chef is responsible for both the quality of the food that comes out of it and the profitability of the operation. That’s why, when hiring executive chefs, it’s important to find someone with a sound knowledge of industry standards and best practices of food production.

Costs of Hiring An Executive Chef in Different Countries

There’s no denying that hiring an executive chef is a big investment. In the USA and Canada, the average annual salary is around $70,000, while in the UAE, it ranges between AED 20,000 to AED 40,000.

When hiring executive chefs, the compensation will depend on the size of the restaurant business and the track record, level of expertise, and competencies of an executive chef.


When it comes to hiring an executive chef, you want to find a candidate who has the right mix of experience, culinary creativity, and leadership skills. This can be a challenge, but it’s worth taking the time to find the right person for the job. Ideally, you’ll want someone with at least five years of experience in restaurant kitchens or catering events, as well as two years of management experience.

Alliance International

Looking for an executive chef becomes a more efficient process when you hire a chef recruiter, often referred to as executive chef headhunters. The Alliance International executive chef headhunters have already interacted with thousands of executive chef candidates over the years for different restaurant clients and gained specialized experience in making such recruitments more result-oriented. Connect with us and find out more! Do not hesitate to get in touch!