Complete Guide to the Perfect Chef Resume (+ Examples)

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Chef Resume

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To you, cooking is a form of art. But also something that carries a great deal of responsibility.

Mixing and matching ingredients to create something special is your talent, your vocation, and your hobby.

But how do you prove this to employers without sounding corporate and boring? And what should you really put on your chef resume?

Truth be told, a chef’s resume needs to be extremely focused on relevant skills and responsibilities.

Forget about listing numerous types of certifications and courses that have nothing to do with cooking.

Your resume needs to illustrate the type of professional you are - creative yet disciplined. No fluff allowed.

Simply mentioning responsibilities in a vague manner, however, would not work well here.

It might sound complicated on the surface, but expert advice makes things easier. Buckle up!

I've been a cook all my life, but I am still learning to be a good chef. I'm always learning new techniques and improving beyond my own knowledge because there is always something new to learn and new horizons to discover.

José Andrés

Read this chef resume guide if you:

  • Need to build a job-winning resume that wows every restaurant owner
  • Are not sure what you should include in your resume and what counts as fluff
  • Want to showcase your strengths and stand out from other applicants
  • Have the necessary cooking experience and skills, but don’t know how to highlight them
  • Wonder what employers want to see in your professional chef resume.

Looking for related resumes?

First things first: formatting your chef resume

Are you a professional chef looking for a change of scenery? Or maybe you have years of experience as a sous chef or line cook and are looking for an upgrade?

Well, depending on your level of experience and your skills, there are certain things you should consider.

Let’s start by looking at the most popular resume formats.

If you are still trying to find your way around the kitchen and don’t have the necessary experience but want to try your luck - go for the functional resume. Its skills-based layout lets you highlight your top skills without putting much emphasis on your lack of experience.

However, if you’re a professional chef with long years of experience, then the reverse-chronological resume would suit you better. It allows you to list all your previous roles in a reverse-chronological format, thus showing how you’ve grown to become a real expert.

And if you don’t really see yourself in any of these two descriptions, then the hybrid resume is what you need. Its innovative layout helps you highlight your cooking skills without sacrificing your experience.

What’s more, it lets you showcase your achievements - something that would definitely help you stand out from other chefs, even if they have been around longer than you.

Here are some other tips for your resume layout:

Treat the format of your resume as an empty dish - its shape and color are important, but what you put in it will get you the job.

There are some resume sections your chef resume really needs, and there are others that it can go without. Some of the mandatory ones include:

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Top sections for your chef resume:

  • Header: for all your contact details - name, phone number, e-mail address, and a link
  • A compelling summary to highlight all your accomplishments and tell a short story of your career
  • A skills section to show you know more than just how to hold a knife
  • An education section to show you have the theoretical knowledge and can tell fiber from protein
  • A certification section to show your skills have been put to the test
  • A focused experience section to show you can put your knowledge into practice

You’ve included all these sections in your chef resume, but are still getting no results?

Well, then you need to make your resume stand out. The easiest way to do this is by including exactly what restaurant owners and managers care about when hiring chefs.

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What restaurant owners and managers want to see on your resume:

  • Your ability to supervise kitchen staff, incl. line cooks, dishwashers, and waiters
  • The fact that you have staged at several different restaurants and are willing to keep learning from others
  • Your ability to create complicated seasonal menus
  • Your knowledge of product prices and how you use it when coming up with new menus
  • The cuisines you’ve specialized in
  • Your awareness of purchasing and inventory practices
  • The fact that your skills go far beyond cooking meals, and you can train both BOH and FOH staff members

You might think that most of these things could be included in your experience section.

However, you need to make sure you use all sections of your resume accordingly. In this way, your resume will tell a concise story that takes into account all nuances of your skills and expertise.

It’s time to look at some specific examples!

A strong header for your chef resume

Although the header section is the shortest section of your resume, it’s the first thing recruiters see.

That’s why you should try to make it as clear and free from mistakes as possible. You know, to make a strong first impression.

Look at the example below:

1 good and 1 bad example of chef resume header

Peter Roberts
Chef
925-613-7890
peter_great_cook@gmail.com
asiangetaway.com
Manhattan
WRONG

Spot any mistakes? There are plenty of them.

Firstly, look at the email address. If it includes something more than your name and surname, it’s time for you to create a new one.

In the case of Peter, his email address should be something along the lines of peter.roberts@gmail.com, and not petergreatcook@gmail.com.

Next comes the location – being a chef in Manhattan is certainly great, but we advise you to stick to the official formatting of cities and states. So, here it would be best to write “New York, NY”.

Lastly, the link. Adding the website of the restaurant they work at would be great if Peter Roberts were a restaurant manager or owner. Since they are the chef, a simple link to the menu here would be much better.

Peter Roberts
Sushi Chef
925-613-7890
peter.roberts@gmail.com
peterroberts.me/seasonalmenus
New York, NY
RIGHT

Now this is better!

Look at the position – it shows exactly what kind of cuisine Peter has specialized in. Employers value this information because it saves them time.

Next, the link. We could assume that it leads to a personal website where Peter has described the seasonal menus he has created over the years.

In short, this header looks neat and gives all the necessary contact information employers need. It would help them decide whether they want to read the rest of the resume or move on to the next candidate.

After you’ve got the employer’s attention, it’s time to keep it!

A compelling summary to keep the attention

The resume summary is your chance to keep the employer’s attention.

But how do you write a chef summary?

Well, there are some specifics…

Ideally, it should paint a picture of what it is to have you in the kitchen. It also should:

  • Be 3 to 5 sentences long
  • Mention how many years of experience you have
  • Include your current position in a bit more detail (i.e. instead of writing ‘chef’ go for ‘sushi chef’, ‘pastry chef’, or even ‘beginner chef’)
  • Showcase your biggest achievement
  • Highlight 2-3 of your most valuable skills.

It’s now time to put theory into practice!

Perfecting your chef resume summary: 3 samples

Summary
I have worked as a chef in 5 restaurants for 10 years. Looking for a new job.
WRONG

Look at the example above. How does it make you feel?

Arguably, it sounds as if it has been written in 15 seconds. It doesn’t tell a story and, to be honest, it probably wouldn’t make employers read the rest of the resume.

This resume summary lacks passion, doesn’t mention any key skills or achievements, and… let’s face it, is empty of meaning.

Let’s try again.

Summary
A creative chef who has mastered Italian cuisine. Love creating tasty food for customers.
WRONG

Although this summary looks a bit better, it’s still not perfect.

It lacks important information, such as the total years of experience this Italian chef has, their top skills, and their achievements. It’s also a bit on the short side.

One last try.

Summary
A creative Italian chef with over 12 years of experience in various settings, incl. fast-food chains and high-end restaurants. Passionate about turning ingredients into culinary experiences. My affordable daily specialties increased monthly revenues by 45%.
RIGHT

Now that’s better!

This applicant’s resume summary tells us all we need to know about them - the cuisine they’ve specialized in, their total years of experience, two of their top skills, and even the types of places they’ve worked at.

We also see their top achievement - increasing monthly revenues by coming up with affordable daily specialties.

pro tip icon
Pro tip

In order to strengthen the first impression you make, add numbers. Quantitative results are always valued by employers!

After you’ve made a strong first impression, it’s time to dive deep into the experience section.

How to spice up the experience section of your chef resume

Remember the thing we said about proving you have the necessary experience? But also about the importance of getting rid of all the fluff?

The food industry is much more different than all other industries. Here, you need to be specific.

Forget about mentioning obvious things like “I worked on holidays” - every chef does.

Generally speaking, your experience section should include the following:

  • Name of your previous employer – person (if you were a personal chef) or restaurant
  • Previous positions
  • Dates of employment
  • A short description of the restaurant (or person) – we’ll look at some examples in a bit
  • Main responsibilities and achievements

Let’s look at some specific good and bad samples from real Enhancv users:

Good vs. bad: 2 chef resume experience examples

Experience
Pastry Chef
The Glitz
New York, NY
Worked in shifts
Expected to finish work on time
Responsible for cleanliness
High quality deserts
Supervised staff
WRONG

If your experience section looks like this, we need to talk.

On a serious note, the example above needs special attention.

First off, the responsibilities this pastry chef has listed on their resume are very vague. We don’t really get any information about the experience, skills, and knowledge of this person.

Rather, they state obvious things that don’t make them stand out from other applicants.

What’s more, there’s no consistency regarding the bullet format.

Lastly, take a look at the description. Is it descriptive enough for people who have no idea what The Glitz is? No!

Let’s see how we could make this experience section look better!

Experience
Pastry Chef
The Glitz
New York, NY
The Glitz is a luxury 5-star hotel in Manhattan
Developed seasonal dessert menus keeping in mind various dietary requirements and offering vegan, gluten-free, and keto options
Oversaw all purchasing and inventory processes to guarantee fresh, high-quality products
Trained FOH staff on how to present desserts properly to ensure a high-end customer experience
Interacted with customer when needed to ensure their needs were met and also to resolve conflict
RIGHT

Now that’s what we’re talking about.

Using power verbs (also called action verbs) shows you’re willing to take responsibility even in challenging situations. Which, as we know well, arise all the time when you’re a chef.

In addition, being specific about your previous responsibilities proves you’re a professional who knows what they’re talking about.

Lastly, but most importantly, there’s no fluff. Only stuff employers care about.

Some other things you could add here include:

  • The number of orders you had to work on daily
  • Whether you had to prepare out-of-the-ordinary meals for special events
  • Certain challenges you had to face (e.g. food shortages or electricity cuts) and how you have overcome them
  • Whether you have worked on pricing processes
  • The number of staff you had to train or supervise.

Mentioning any of these will make your resume straight to the point.

It would also show you know how to get things done, regardless of whether your expertise is needed BOH or FOH. And that’s one of the most important things employers are looking for in a chef.

Still not sure how to describe your responsibilities on your chef resume? Let’s see…

How to describe the duties of a chef on resume

We already discussed action verbs. They are important because they show you’re willing to take responsibility.

Sharing your biggest achievements and the direct results of your work is also something worth focusing on. In this way, potential employers will know you’re someone who can inspire positive change in their restaurant.

But all this can be tough if you don’t have that much experience. If that’s the case, you could put more emphasis on:

  • The stages you’ve done and what they have taught you
  • Your education
  • The transferable skills you’ve developed during your life

It’s time to look at some of the most popular skills employers want their chefs to have!

The skills every chef needs on their resume

There are so many hard and soft skills you use on a daily basis. It’s probably difficult to name them all, right?

You could almost hear yourself saying: “But how do I list all my cooking skills on my resume?”

That’s when lists come in handy! Make a list of all your hard skills (i.e. the ones you need your hands for) and then see what’s missing.

Use our example below as inspiration:

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The cooking skills you need to put on your resume:

  • Baking and grilling
  • Chopping and cutting
  • Roasting
  • Recipe design
  • Menu design
  • Ordering
  • Inventory control
  • Pricing
  • Sushi preparation
  • Poaching
  • Sautéing
  • Flavoring
  • Sanitation
  • First aid
  • Knowledge of food safety
  • Knowledge of food regulations
  • Food science
  • Identifying products
  • Indian cuisine
  • Food and drinks pairing
  • Marinating
  • Vegan meals
  • Gluten-free meals
  • Italian cuisine

How to describe soft skills on your chef resume

Let’s be honest. Hard skills and experience make up around 75% of your chef resume.

However, if you want to land an interview, you need more than that. That’s when soft skills come into play.

Adding the right soft skills would also work in your favor if you don’t have enough cooking experience. If that’s the case, stick to showing you’re reliable and dedicated to your work.

But even if you’re an experienced head chef, remember: if you don’t want your resume to look half-baked, adding soft skills is a must.

This could be done in the skills section or in the talent section:

Strengths
Patience
Always striving to be as cool as a cucumber with other staff members to guarantee high efficiency
Creativity
Mixing unusual flavors together to create intriguing meals
Positive attitude
Making sure I find the good, even in situations when there’s fat in the fire
RIGHT
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Soft skills for your chef resume:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Organization skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Conflict management
  • Critical thinking
  • Taking criticism well
  • Cleanliness
  • Ability to multitask
  • Passion
  • Work under pressure
  • Professionalism
  • Integrity
  • Stress management
  • Conflict resolution

Talking about education on your chef resume - yes or no?

So, should you add an education section to your chef resume?

Unfortunately, when it comes to the education section, there’s no easy recipe for success.

If you have enough experience, the answer is no.

Although this might sound counterintuitive, restaurant owners and managers don’t really care about your education. Your long years of experience will speak for themselves.

BUT! (and that’s very important)

If you have less experience than chefs usually do, and you have graduated from a culinary school, an education section could increase your chances of getting that dream job.

So choose wisely.

Which certificates are worth mentioning on your chef resume?

Certificates are a great way to get new skills. Employers know this, and that’s why they value chefs with long certification sections highly.

But again, this is valid only for relevant certificates. And relevant certificates are those that make you a better chef. Those that upskill you. For instance:

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Top 5 cooking certificates for your resume:

  • Certified Foodservice Professional (CFSP) from the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers
  • Certified Executive Chef (CEC) from the American Culinary Federation
  • Master Certified Food Executive (MCFE) from the International Food Service Executives Association
  • Certified Master Chef (CMC) from the American Culinary Federation
  • Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC) from the American Culinary Federation

If you have passed international professional certifications such as the Certificate in Pastry and French Language from the French Gastronomicom, make sure to add them as well!

So what about other sections? Should you add them to your chef resume?

Although non-traditional sections are usually cherished by applicants and employers alike, this is not valid for the food industry.

Focus on providing enough details about your skills, experience, and education instead. You can talk about your hobbies and personal achievements after the interview.

Key takeaways: crafting a chef resume that cuts the mustard

  • Pick the correct resume format based on your skills and experience
  • Make sure your resume summary is 3-5 sentences long and tells a short story of your career
  • Proofread your resume several times! Make sure your contact details are correct
  • If something is not relevant to your cooking career, it shouldn’t be on your resume. Listing various skills is the lowest-hanging fruit, but it’s not what employers want to see

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