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Sous chefs are the deputy or second in command to the head/executive chef in a commercial kitchen and will often be solely responsible for the kitchen while the head/executive chef is away. Kitchen staff may report directly to the sous chef.

The role is typically a management position with authority and responsibility for the kitchen, staff and food preparation.

Typical duties include:

  • leading a kitchen team to ensure the kitchen is run in an efficient and profitable manner
  • managing and training kitchen staff
  • ensuring all staff comply with regulations and safety standards
  • designing and preparing menus
  • directing food preparation
  • ordering and purchasing supplies
  • taking stock inventories.

Some commercial kitchens will have a greater need for more cooking and management roles.

For example, a larger kitchen may introduce additional management roles, such as a junior or deputy sous chef.

Industry award coverage

An industry award can cover a sous chef if:

  • their employer operates in the industry defined in the award
  • there's a classification which matches the sous chef's duties and qualifications.

When classifying a sous chef it's important to consider the tasks and duties performed, as well as the job title, to make sure the correct award and classification level are assigned.

See Award classifications for more information about how to classify employees.

Hospitality Award

A sous chef can be covered by the Hospitality Award if their employer operates in the hospitality industry and they fall within the Managerial Staff (Hotels) classification.


Margot is a junior sous chef working in the kitchen of a resort. She works under the direction of senior management and manages and coordinates the activities of the kitchen. She also has experience in supervising kitchen staff from previous employers. 

Margot is covered by the Hospitality Award and is classified under the Managerial Staff (Hotels) classification. 

Registered Clubs Award

A sous chef can be covered by the Registered Clubs Award if they work in a club and they fall within a relevant manager classification.

Restaurant Award

A sous chef working in a restaurant for an employer in the restaurant industry would generally not be covered by the Restaurant Award, as the classification levels in the award do not cover the management duties typically associated with the role.

No industry award coverage

Sous chefs not covered by an industry award are award free.

They’re entitled to the national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards.

They’re not covered by the Miscellaneous Award because it doesn’t cover managerial employees.

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