A typical workday for a chef involves long hours of standing, lifting and quick movements and performing physically demanding tasks. A head chef arrives at the kitchen hours before it opens and begins preparing the menu and ensuring that line chefs pre-cook certain dishes so that they are ready to serve when needed. When it’s time to serve, all the chefs in the kitchen must spring into action to make every order in a timely manner.
The vast majority of chefs are required to wear a standard uniform each day that includes a hat, or hair net, a double-breasted jacket, apron and shoes with steel or plastic toe-caps.
Depending on the size of the restaurant or establishment, a head chef may arrive as early as 9 a.m. to begin planning the day’s menus and not leave until the dinner rush is over, sometimes at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Most chefs work at least 12-hour days and many times six days a week.
At restaurants, Friday and Saturday evenings are the busiest times, so chefs must forgo personal plans on weekends since they are required to be working in the kitchen.