EHL Insights
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Culinary Arts
2 min read

Q : Alternative careers in F&B: what does a Chef Consultant do?

When it comes to the foodservice industry, there’s no shortage of career opportunities. Whether you love to innovate and create, manage and consult or even mix in science and the arts, foodservice is so diverse that there’s room for just about anything. After all, as long as there are people around, someone is going to have to feed them.

One interesting F&B career opportunity is that of a chef consultant. And if you’re not quite sure what that is, don’t worry, just read on.

 

What is a chef consultant?

A chef consultant is a highly experienced culinary expert who is able to advise and leverage their foodservice expertise to observe, analyze and provide a range of solutions to restaurants and foodservice businesses. Whether it’s in a hotel, chain or independent restaurant – or even an equipment company or F&B supplier – chef consultants can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of different operations and provide solutions for how to achieve a more streamlined, efficient business. Food consultants often specialize in a particular area.

 

What does a chef consultant do?

There’s no limit to what a chef consultant can do, and every day on the job might look completely different. However, projects will range from supporting new ventures – i.e. defining the operation of whole kitchens, from planning to opening day, including menu development and supplier selection – to consulting on projects that are already up-and-running to help identify and improve operational shortcomings.


The responsibilities of a chef consultant include:

  • Concept development
  • Menu development
  • Business model audit
  • Defining kitchen processes
  • Optimizing inventory procedures
  • Evaluating and identifying suppliers
  • Food waste and cost analysis
  • Training
  • HACCP (food safety and food quality)
  • Sustainability

How much does a chef consultant earn?

The salary of a chef consultant can vary largely depending on the background and experience of the consultant, including their education, certifications and additional skills and expertise. However, sources report that in general, the salary of a chef consultant in the United States ranges between $53,000 and $75,000, with an average of $62,300.

 

How do you become a chef consultant?

Just as with any industry, to become a consultant you’re going to need experience – and a lot of it! Most chef consultants start their career with culinary training (or by obtaining a culinary arts degree) and will have to work their way up the ladder in the kitchen, gaining at least several years of hands-on training and experience as a chef, and then ideally a few additional years of experience in a specific area of expertise. Some will also have a background in nutrition, food science and/or hospitality, but culinary expertise is a must.


As for personal skills, a career as a consultant chef also calls for strong business, leadership, organizational and problem-solving skills. In order to evaluate, advise and deliver tangible insights and actions to clients, consultants need to have a solid understanding of what makes a business tick, including financial, operational and marketing aspects.

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