This is a burning question that I think a lot of people would be interested to know more about. However, I feel that the topic is too broad. Chef is merely the title of the person in charge of the kitchen. If I were to ask you what is being the CEO of a company all about, it would be the same story. You must consider the size of the company, what they make, how many employees they, etc. The same is true when talking about Chefs. A Chef’s role in a large Hospital is going to be different than the Chef of a small bistro.
I will tell you though that the mindset has to be similar between the two. With food at the forefront, it is important that being a Chef you have to have a firm grasp on food knowledge. Being a Chef is all about being knowledgeable in your craft and regardless of your establishment food is going to be the focal point of it. If you are the Chef, you are in a management position of some sort. There may be other Chefs higher on the chain than you but if your title is Chef, then you are more than likely in a position of power. With that, there comes the responsibility of overseeing different aspects of the foodservice side. Tasting, planning, and executing menus. Along with Balancing, preparing, and inventorying your budget and provisions. There is an old saying in cooking “The higher you are on the chain, the farther you are from the food.” Meaning a lot of Chefs that have multiple levels of people reporting to them will more than likely not be cooking on a semi-regular basis. Usually, they will have a final say after tasting a dish but they are going to be the ones who are cooking it for the guests when they arrive. Now that isn’t always true, in smaller restaurants it is common for the Chef to be cooking alongside his cooks based on the smaller staff size and restaurant capacity.
I hope that this was helpful in providing a bit of insight into what being a chef is all about. It should be a more narrow subject, such as; what does a hotel chef do or what it’s like to work on a food truck. There are occasions when you’ve finally managed to become the Chef of your restaurant and someone will ask you about your day-to-day operational duties. Then and only then can you smile and tell them exactly about what it is specifically that you do in your foodservice establishment.