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What Makes a Great Chef?

There are numerous traits that make every chef unique, but some of the best chefs and culinary experts in the world will share similar qualities. The title of “chef” holds an honor that is achieved by spending countless hours of learning, honing and refining cooking skills day in and day out. The main thing that differentiates a chef from a cook is that a chef typically runs the kitchen and the menu at all times. A chef is the ultimate boss in the kitchen and sets the tone and mood. While not all chefs will have the same personality, and some may be bolder than others, you will find that the greatest of the great share specific characteristics that contribute to their success. 

Whether you are an inspiring culinary enthusiast, or you’re looking to hire an incredible chef for your next event, do you know what to look for? 

  • Commitment

Being a chef is more than just a desire to cook and create – it’s a commitment to the kitchen staff, to the success and growth of the restaurant or business and a commitment to continue to be the best they can be. A committed chef is more than just a creative cook, it’s someone who is also business savvy, who is committed to continuously learning, challenging their skills and techniques and earning the respect of their team. 

  • Leadership

A great chef is also a great leader. It takes a lot to build a thriving business, and it’s important to have a supportive team that is also dedicated to the goals and vision of the business. A true chef is a team builder with outstanding communication skills who delegates, inspires and mentors his or her staff. 

  • Creativity

Cooking is the perfect blend of art and science. There are certain skills and techniques that need to be learned and perfected, but these are the tools that a great chef will use to create culinary masterpieces to impress even the most critical dinner guest. The best part about working in a kitchen is coming up with new ideas and taking risks – a great chef is always willing to be creative and try something new. Creativity is important because it inspires different flavor combinations as well as presentation, which is essential to any dining experience. When a chef is passionate and creative, and when they challenge themselves, they will truly come up with culinary greatness.  

  • Intuition

The food and beverage industry is a fast paced business, so it’s important for a great chef to be a quick-thinker who can make good decisions as they go. It’s not uncommon for a tricky situation to arise, which is when it is most important for a chef’s intuition to kick in and lead their team to success. 

  • Mentorship

A good chef will have had a good mentor, and a great chef will serve as an outstanding mentor to their staff. A great chef will be eager to pass down their knowledge to aspiring cooks and will enthusiastically educate their team. There have been many line cooks who have gone on to become executive chefs and award-winning Michelin-star chefs who at one point or another had a great chef as their mentor.

  • Attention to Detail

Cooking can be an intricate process that includes measuring out the necessary ingredients and mixing them together to create a flavorful and extraordinary culinary masterpiece. If a chef leaves a piece of steak to cook for a minute too long, forgets a garnish or puts too much dressing on an otherwise perfect salad, it can ruin a perfect meal. There are many details that a chef needs to pay attention to during the cooking process in order to achieve a perfect meal. 

  • Multitasking

In a busy kitchen, it’s important for a great chef to be able to maintain control of the environment while also handling a myriad of tasks related to preparing a meal. All at once, a chef may be cutting up vegetables, sautéing chicken, grabbing additional ingredients and also making sure that everything else is running smoothly. A great chef will remain calm under pressure while navigating multiple tasks and also managing the rest of the kitchen staff. 

There is no set definition of what makes the perfect chef, but ultimately it takes a balance of skills, qualities and characteristics to be a great chef in today’s culinary industry. If you’re looking for extraordinary catering for your next event, check out our team to learn more about us. Our entire team is not only passionate about food, but we love seeing our clients fully enjoy their event and bring their vision to life. Contact us to learn more about our services or to inquire about our



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