Chefs

(NOC 6321)

in All Sales and Service

Chefs are managers who plan, direct and participate in food preparation and cooking activities in restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions, central food commissaries, clubs, and similar businesses, and on ships.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 200 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Sales and Service

  • Estimate 10325 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 17495 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Outlook: good, a better than average chance of qualified individuals finding work.

Size of the occupation in Nova Scotia: large, with job opportunities occurring regularly.

Demand: Approximately 120 opportunities are estimated for Halifax, and 75 outside Halifax. Employment growth will lead to several new positions. There is a low level of employee turnover in this occupation. There are a moderate number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation. A small number of positions will become available due to retirements.

Work hours: full-time hours, normally. Jobs are typically permanent positions.

Hourly Pay

$13.35

Minimum

$16.00

Median

$26.73

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,196

Minimum

$29,137

Median

$55,573

Maximum

Compared to: All Sales and Service

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$15.00

Median

$25.60

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,949

Minimum

$16,629

Median

$45,086

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Chefs are managers who plan, direct and participate in food preparation and cooking activities in restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions, central food commissaries, clubs, and similar businesses, and on ships.

Job duties

Executive chefs:

  • Plan and direct food preparation and cooking activities of several restaurants in an organization, restaurant chains, hospitals, or other businesses with food services.
  • Consult with clients regarding weddings, banquets, and specialty functions.
  • Plan menus and make sure food meets quality standards.
  • Estimate food requirements and may estimate food and labour costs.
  • Supervise activities of sous-chefs, specialist chefs, chefs, and cooks.
  • Arrange for equipment purchases and repairs.
  • Recruit and hire staff.
  • May prepare and cook food on a regular basis, or for special guests or functions.

Sous-chefs:

  • Supervise activities of specialist chefs, chefs, cooks, and other kitchen workers.
  • Demonstrate new cooking techniques and new equipment to cooking staff.
  • May plan menus and purchase food and kitchen supplies.
  • May prepare and cook meals or specialty foods.

Chefs and specialist chefs:

  • Prepare and cook complete meals or specialty foods like pastries, sauces, soups, salads, vegetables and meat, poultry and fish dishes, and create decorative food displays for special events like banquets.
  • Instruct cooks in preparation, cooking, garnishing and presentation of food.
  • Create new recipes.
  • Supervise cooks and other kitchen staff.
  • May plan menus.
  • May request food and kitchen supplies.

Sample job titles

  • assistant chef
  • banquet chef
  • chef
  • executive chef
  • head chef
  • master chef
  • pastry chef
  • sous-chef
  • specialty foods chef
  • supervising chef

Skills

  • a genuine love of food and cuisine
  • Artistic and creative talent
  • Good health and stamina
  • A keen sense of taste and smell
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Strong math skills
  • A memory for details
  • Knowledge of basic nutrition
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Team-building skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Time management skills
  • Ability to perform under pressure and remain calm in hectic circumstances.
  • Ability to apply the rules of hygiene, sanitation, and occupational safety.
  • Chefs should enjoy planning and organizing menus, supervising the work of others, and using tools and equipment to complete precision tasks.

Job requirements

  • High school or equivalent (usually).
  • Cook's trade certification or equivalent credentials, training, and experience.
  • Sous-chefs, specialist chefs, and chefs usually need several years of experience in commercial food preparation.
  • Executive chefs usually need management training and several years of experience in commercial food preparation, including two years in a supervisory capacity and experience as a sous-chef, specialist chef, or chef.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) for cooks allows for interprovincial mobility.
  • Chef de cuisine certification and Certified Master Chef (CMC), administered by the Canadian Culinary Institute of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CFCC), is available to qualified chefs.

Other considerations

  • Setting: varies with the type of organization. Large organizations may have modern equipment, well-lighted work areas, and air conditioning. Other organizations may not be as well equipped.
  • Chefs work in close quarters that can be noisy, especially during busy periods. They stand for hours at a time and work near hot ovens and grills. Some lifting is required.
  • Chefs need to understand and apply the rules of hygiene, sanitation, and occupational safety.
  • Some organizations have the kitchen area hidden from customer view, while others may have it visible – or even featured as a form of entertainment.
  • Work hours vary depending on the type and size of the establishment.
  • Prep work can begin in the early morning and kitchens may be required to remain open until late in the evening after the last call for liquor serving.
  • Organizations that open 24 hours a day typically have two to three shifts per day. Holiday, weekend, and overtime work is common.
  • Chefs are frequently exposed to substances that may affect food allergies, dietary requirements, or sensitivities to environmental conditions.
  • Experienced chefs may advance from being line chefs to sous chef and executive chef positions, or purchase and manage their own business. Executive chefs may advance to managerial positions in food preparation companies.
  • Opportunities to advance depend on acquiring better cooking and management skills. Graduates of technical or apprenticeship programs tend to advance more quickly than those who lack formal qualifications.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,280

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

10.2%

self employed

28.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
71.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37.4

median age

Compared to: All Sales and Service

102,605

employed in 2016

56.4%

employed full-time

5.8%

self employed

60.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
39.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37

median age

Where will I likely work?

60.3%

Halifax

$33,539 median annual income
11.7%

Cape Breton

$21,198 median annual income
10.5%

Annapolis Valley

$24,095 median annual income
10.1%

Southern

$22,608 median annual income
7.4%

North Shore

$28,643 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

86.2%

Accommodation and food services

5.0%

Health care and social assistance

2.3%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

1.8%

Retail trade

1.4%

Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

32.0%

25-34

23.0%

35-44

19.0%

45-54

13.0%

15-24

10.0%

55-64

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Sales and Service

30.0%

15-24

17.2%

45-54

17.2%

25-34

16.1%

55-64

13.8%

35-44

Top levels of education

33.1%

College Diploma

$31,050 median annual income
24.1%

Trade Certification

$37,415 median annual income
20.6%

High school

$21,162 median annual income
9.7%

Bachelor

$26,890 median annual income
8.6%

Less than high school

$27,222 median annual income

Compared to: All Sales and Service

39.8%

High school

$15,705 median annual income
19.7%

Less than high school

$9,866 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$20,644 median annual income
9.9%

Bachelor

$21,262 median annual income
8.0%

Trade Certification

$21,234 median annual income

Education & training

Baking and Pastry Arts

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to serve as professional bakers and pastry specialists in restaurants or other commercial baking companies. They include courses in bread and pastry making, bread and pastry handling and storage, cake and pastry decorating, baking industry operations, product packaging and marketing operations, and counter display and service.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Culinary Arts/Chef Training

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to provide professional chef and related cooking services in restaurants and other commercial food businesses. They include courses in recipe and menu planning, preparing and cooking of foods, supervising and training kitchen assistants, managing food supplies and kitchen resources, aesthetics of food presentation, and familiarity with or mastery of a wide variety of cuisines and culinary techniques.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to serve under the supervision of chefs and other food service professionals as kitchen support staff and commercial food preparation workers. They include courses in kitchen organization and operations, sanitation and quality control, basic food preparation and cooking skills, kitchen and kitchen equipment maintenance, and quantity food measurement and monitoring.

Institutions providing this program

Futureworx Career College

Truro, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Cook

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Certified Chef de cuisine (CCC)

Certification: Employers may require certification, but certification is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Canadian Culinary Institute
Various, Canada
Certified Master Chef (CMC)

Certification: Employers may require certification, but certification is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Canadian Culinary Institute
Various, Canada

Contacts

Canadian Culinary Federation, Halifax Branch
Halifax, NS
Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Tourism Talent
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Sector Council
Halifax, NS
Restaurants Canada
Toronto, ON

Additional resources