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2 executive chefs at one workplace - does it work?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

My company is growing and the recent decision was to hire one more exec. chef. Both of us with have different areas as aour responsibilities but will be working out of one kitchen.

I have been with the company for 10 years and am a bit concerned about this direction.

On a personal level, a creative part of the business I grew say from level 1 to 8 will now go to the new hire who needs to just take it from 8 to 10 and get the credit for it.

Has anyone been in a situation like this? Would love to hear from other peers.


post #2 of 12

I haven't experienced this, and believe you are right to be concerned.

Hiring the person as an Executive Sous Chef makes more sense.

Reports to you, but also oversees everyone under you, and is responsible for whatever area is designated.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #3 of 12
Did they or are they planning expancetion? It makes no sense to have 2 ex chef working in the same position. The buck can only stop at one person. That would be an operational nightmare.
post #4 of 12

Your replacement?

post #5 of 12

Agreed, you could well be helping to train a replacement who is new and may therefore

be hungrier and work cheaper than the current exec who has been there 10 years,

is probably making decent money, gets nice vacation time, and other perks.


Um..... that'd be you. No one's tried to flashy-thing'ed you yet have they?


Time for a talk with management. And watch closely their reactions, particularly

if they move their eyes up and to the right when they're talking to you. :rolleyes:

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks all. I agree to some of the thoughts posted in response. A little more detail....

This is at a Univ setting (not contract). So both will be making the same wage.

The roles are defined on paper.

(1) 3 dining rooms + Commissary + Bakery + Retail ops (2 have kitchens)

(2) Catering (full service and drop off) + 1 casual dining restaurant + 1 fine dining restaurant + 4 food trucks/trailers


They seem to be pretty firm on the idea though I did suggest the Exec Sous.

I am turning 50, have given this a good 10 years with lots of success stories, awards etc. Not sure if I want to start afresh in a new place just because of paranoia.

Their explanation is that this is what they believe will work by having 2 high calibre chefs looking after different areas.

Because of the growth (projected 50 mill by the next 3 years), this is the best solution in order to not burn out the chefs.


Hmmm...still can't help feeling uncomfortable about it though I may not have much choice at the end of the day.

post #7 of 12



I,too, am in a university setting. We are a self-op (non contract) account. The hierarchy of the chefs here is as followes: Director of Culinary--> Asst Directory of Culinary --> Executive chefs x3. From there each executive chef has their own brigade, Chef De Cuisine, Sous chefs, production chefs,ect... The way we split the executive chefs responsibilities are one Executive chef oversee a dining hall that seats 1500 people and serves close to 5000 daily, Another executive chef overs another dining hall that seats 900 and serves 3000 daily. The third executive chef, me, is over all catering and retail. we have ten different retail outlets on campus some brands, the rest are our own concepts. I have 1 chef de cuisine that answers to me and he oversees the day to day in the catering department with 1.5Mil in sales, he has a sous with him to help. I have two other sous that oversees and run the day to day of the retails. The other Executive chefs do not control of anything in my kitchens nor do I have a say in their kitchen. All three Executive chefs reports the Director and asst director of Culinary.


It is possible to have more than one executive chef but there needs to be a director higher than the executive chefs. You can not have two directors or two GMs so why two Executives?

post #8 of 12

I agree they both shouild have a seperate division of authority and should have to report to someone in a higher authority. I have been through this and it worked. I handled all catering and he handled day to day restaurant, but with 2 seperate kitchens.

post #9 of 12

How much is reasonable for one exec. to reasonably handle?  Common scenarios:


1 exec

1 restaurant chef, 40 seat.

1 banquet chef, max four rooms with one 600 banquet room.




1 exec for one lunch and dinner dining hall for 2,000.




1 exec

2 restaurant sous chefs for fine dining dinner outlet, room service and family style cafe

2 banquet chefs,  One onsite, one offsite.




I think even #3 scenario is a bit much.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks GUChef. Your kitchen brigade seems top heavy. If I may ask, what is your food revenue? We are at 32 Mill of which 3.5 mill is from Catering. So it is busy and so far I was running this with 1 sous chef. We do have what we call a commissary chef at every unit that produces food - Dining rooms (2), cafes, restaurants and catering. They are all union though.

The new structure would have me reporting to Ass. Dir of Rez and Ass. Dir of Retail where as the other would be reporting to Ass. Dir of Catering & Restaurants.

I guess in some ways this could be made to work but I still cant help feeling slighted over this. After 10 years instead of asking me where I need additional support to cope with the volume and demands, the new org chart was thrown at me. It took me 8 years to get one sous chef approved....and now this. I guess my frustration is both personal & professional. The way this was dealt with came across insulting to me and on a personal level, I may never touch anything fine dining till I am here. I know part of this was political because of the Ass. Dir of Catering who recently got promoted to the position from being Catering manager where he was totally incompetent but one of the guys who has a horseshoe up his b... ! and has the gift of the gab and brown nosing. Anyways, didn't mean to unload all this but my question would be does it get political between you chefs? I am concerned because that is an area I am weak in and have been burnt before. I call a spade a spade and cannot blow my own trumpet. Sometimes that is not a good thing in the corporate word.

Another question would be what kind of salary range are your Exec Chefs in? What do you run your labor cost at?


Thanks for sharing GUChef, would appreciate that.


post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chef Ed. It makes sense for the chefs to report to a higher culinarian but it is not going to be so like I explained in my response to GUChef. As a culinarian, the frustration I have faced when reporting to a senior who understands the operation but is not passionate about food is that your ideas can be stonewalled because they don't see merit in it and a couple of years later, may see it working elsewhere and bring it back as their idea. Saying Told you so at that stage does not win you any brownie points. In the long run, it can get terribly frustrating. Perhaps I digressed... :-)

post #12 of 12
Be careful with resentment over past issues, this is easily solved by employee by replacement. It may not be fair or right or just, but sometimes you really have to let sleeping dogs lie for your own sake.
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