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Choosing the finest ingredients. Turning them into artfully-crafted dishes. The looks of orgasmic bliss on diners’ faces as they taste your preparations.
This job’s made for you!
But hold up a moment. There are dozens of applicants for each chef position. For the restaurant, it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The competition will be fierce - like one of those shows with Gordon Ramsay (but with less screaming). How can we make your chef resume stand out to land you that interview?
Don’t worry. We’ll go through the recipe for success together, step by step. You’ll soon have a template for chef resumes and cover letters that wins them over, as your cooking always does.
This modern chef resume guide will show you:
Here's a sample resume for a chef made using our resume builder.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you'll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See +20 resume templates and create your resume here.
Chef Resume Examples - See more templates and create your resume here.
Restaurant managers and executive chefs won’t read your whole resume at first.
It gets worse: they’ll take just 6 seconds to scan a resume. That’s 6 seconds to consider you for an interview.
What’s that mean for you?
You need to catch their attention. You need to do it quickly. And you need to not let go.
You need to show them what’s cooking with the right chef resume format.
Luckily, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Depending on your past work history, there are two ways to go about this.
Were you the chef of a kitchen before? Perhaps a sushi chef or a pastry chef?
Great! You’ve got the advantage.
The reverse-chronological format is best for your experienced chef resume.
Why is that?
This format emphasizes your chef duties, kitchen experience, and restaurant work history.
You’ll list your most recent work positions first, and go back through past jobs in reverse-chronological order from there.
As the most standard format, it tends to be the easiest to read and scan - for hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) alike. More on the ATS later, though.
But, what if you have a resume with no chef experience?
Well, here’s the thing: you might not have experience for this job, but you have experience relevant to the job.
On a first-time chef resume, you’ll still list other chef jobs you’ve held in reverse-chronological order.
However, this thyme you won’t just talk about your professional kitchen duties and responsibilities.
Rather, you’ll highlight relevant skills and achievements from past jobs in bullet points, neatly aligned like the buttons on your chef’s coat.
List them under relevant subheadings like: Kitchen Communication Skills. Pick and choose transferable skills to match the professional chef job description from the ad.
Have no chef work experience at all? Not to worry! Instead, the education section moves to the top, followed by other sections (e.g., volunteering, languages), which we’ll talk about more in just a moment.
Next, save your chef resume as a PDF. Use this chef resume sample PDF as a draft to check for errors and typos. The PDF format keeps the layout in shape (though your lobster bisque won’t keep anyone else’s layout in shape). All clear? Send it away!
Pro Tip: Check the job posting to make sure chef resume PDFs are OK. Some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can clog like unhealthy arteries on a PDF-formatted resume. The ATS scans for keywords, and if it can’t read your file, it’ll assume you can’t do anything right.
Not entirely sure about the reverse-chronological format for your chef resume? See our guide: "3 Resume Formats: How to Choose the Best One [Examples]"
You want to catch their eye. You want to make an impression. You want them to love you the same way people love your culinary creations.
Remember that you have 6 seconds? You’ll want to do this all quickly.
You need a personal chef resume objective or chef resume summary. But which one?
Don’t worry! We’ll go over the two now, and you’ll be able to pick the best one for you.
Have experience working amongst professional chefs?
Great! Then opt for the chef’s resume summary:
Here’s an example of an experienced chef resume summary:
Personable line cook with 3+ years expertise in a fast-paced kitchen environment. Achieved region-best culinary satisfaction rating according to national food critic (98.16%). Seeking to advance my career by growing with the Bahari Restaurant team.
I have been a line cook for the last 3 years. In addition to my knowledge of kitchen appliances and gourmet food recipes, I also carried out various front-of-house duties (e.g., taking orders, dispatching food) during slow hours.
Do you see the differences?
Take the “Wrong” one: it’s great that you were able to handle the duties at both the front and the back of the restaurant. However - and no disrespect - but who cares? You’re just listing regular restaurant tasks as if they were cooking accomplishments, which they aren’t.
In the first example, we give evidence of your line cook resume skills, achievements, and experience.
Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary. You can easily copy them straight into your resume - it will save you a ton of time.
Inside the Uptowork's resume builder, you will find tips and examples for your resume.
Don’t have any experience working as the chef position you’re applying for? That’s fine. Many cook resumes and commis chef resumes are in the same gravy boat.
Go with the chef’s resume objective:
Here’s an example of an objective on a head chef resume without experience:
Diligent sous chef with 5+ years experience with small Greek restaurant. Obtained highest grades in food safety (100%) and blind taste tests (97.3%). Seeking to further career by growing with the Eataly team as the new executive chef.
I am a sous chef eager to become a head chef. I don’t have experience in Italian cuisine, but many people say that I am a fast learner. I am also highly motivated because I enjoy Italian food.
See the differences here?
Eataly is taking a bigger chance by hiring someone without experience - in this case a sous chef for the executive chef role and a Greek cuisine expert moving to Italian cuisine. You’ll need to show them that you have what it takes.
In the first one, we used some transferable skills from the Greek restaurant and some proud achievements for the win. The second one doesn’t show enough to hold the hiring/chef manager’s appetite.
Pro Tip: Personalize your chef resume example by dropping the restaurant’s name into your chef resume summary or objective.
Hungry for more advice and examples of a resume summary or resume objective for chefs? Check out our guides: “How To Write A Resume Summary: 21 Best Examples You Will See” and “20+ Resume Objective Examples - Use Them On Your Resume (Tips)”
“Wow. This chef! I’m so glad I chose this!”
That’s not only what you’d like your diners to say upon tasting your food - it’s the reaction you want from the hiring manager when they look at your professional chef resume.
To get there, we’ll rave about your experience in a way which tingles their tastebuds like a tart ceviche. Here’s how:
Held one or more chef jobs before? You’ve got a head start. Still, pick the best chef responsibilities that match the restaurant’s interests.
Complicated? Nope! It’s as easy as a TV dinner. Take a look at these creative chef resume examples:
January 2013 - December 2016
South Street Lobster House, New York, NY
Key Chef Responsibilities
Key Chef Achievements
January 2013 - December 2016
South Street Lobster House, New York, NY
See the differences? The “wrong” example seems fine, at first - we explained your chef duties and tasks. However, that’s just it: those were your everyday chef duties and responsibilities.
In the “right” example, we itemized your chef duties with more detail, and then included achievement(s) with quantifiable numbers for the win.
Trade Trifles & Trivia: What does a sous chef do? Sous chef responsibilities include filling in for the head chef at times, scheduling duties, delegation, and other important tasks. Junior sous chef resumes are usually synonymous with assistant chef resumes.
Never been a chef before?
Relax. We just need to find a way to show the boss that you’re worth your salt.
January 2013 - December 2015
The Cozy Cafe, New York, NY
See what we did here?
At first, having a resume for a barista doesn’t seem anything like a chef job. But, we played up those duties and achievements which translate well into a chef resume - whether for Michelin 3-star restaurant job applications or for your local happy place.
Pro Tip: Take some time to think about your past jobs. Which areas relate best to having strong kitchen skills for a culinary resume template? Pick those for your chef resume.
Need some more ideas on the right achievements to put on a resume for chefs? Check out this guide: “How to Put Achievements on a Resume - Complete Guide (30+ Examples)”
The education section - a waste of space, right?
You’d better think again. The education section is a valuable part of perfect chef resumes. In the case of those without experience, the education section becomes the most important.
So, how should we put your education on your full- or part-time chef resume?
Here’s how to include your degree on your chef resume:
2008 Diploma in Restaurant and Culinary Management
Institute of Culinary Education, New York, NY
But what if you are still completing your university degree?
Here’s how to list a degree that is still in progress:
Diploma in Restaurant and Culinary Management
Institute of Culinary Education, New York, NY
Expected Graduation in 2020
And what if all you have is your high school diploma?
Not to worry! List your high school, styling it like this:
Townsend Harris High School, Flushing, NY
Graduated in 2004
If you’ve completed a degree, skip listing your high school.
Pro Tip: On your chef resume, only include your GPA if it is as close to 4.0 as possible. Too low will hurt instead of help. We don’t want that!
Would you like more ways on how you can make the best use of your education on a chef resume? Then check out: “How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]”
Two things make a restaurant manager sit right up: a great dish and . . .
A great chef resume.
So far, you’ve done a good job, but how can we make it great?
We’ll play up your cooking skills and include the perfect ones for the best chef resume.
A skills section on your resume for a chef is like the spices you add to your culinary creations - important, but only the right ones. You can’t give them basil if the recipe calls for garlic. Also, not too much and not too little.
How do we add just the right amount to describe your job experience?
First, let’s make a list of some generic hard and soft skills to put on a resume for chefs.
Hard skills are specific abilities and know-how (e.g., Beef Grinder 5000, food prep duties). Soft chef resume skills are self-developed, life-learned attributes (e.g., food safety consciousness, adaptability).
What are some skills for chef resumes?
Here are the basic chef skills:
|Chef Resume Hard Skills||Chef Resume Soft Skills|
|Vulcan 70in. Gas Range||People Skills|
|Infrared Salamander Broiler||Time Management|
|Beef Grinder 5000 Maintenance & Use||Communication|
|Restaurant Intercom Operation||Food Safety Consciousness|
However! These are good skills for a resume - for average chef resume examples.
You’re not average, right? Neither should your chef resume be.
To make your resume unique, we can’t just list these generic skills relevant to chefs. Let’s replace this weak Tabasco with a stronger sambal ulek.
It’s time to browse the job listing like the menu board, but instead of finding the dish we crave, we will underline resume keywords that match the appetite of the head cook and bottle washer.
Pro Tip: Try this: Type a bunch of your skills for chefs into an Excel column, with a number (1-10) of importance and kitchen relevance in the adjacent column. Then, filter the worst ones down like a fine colander until you have the best 5 or 6.
Chef job description skills and requirements:
See the skills on this chef resume job description? Let me show you a few examples:
Exceptional managerial leadership on BOH admin tasks 
Excellent attitude towards changing environment and adaptability 
Terrific record of teaching and mentoring kitchen staff 
See the differences between the two?
In the second one, your laziness is obvious - you googled “chef skills” and stuck them in.
Bland as an uncooked potato.
In the first one, you look like the perfect dish - just who the chef restaurant manager was looking for.
Pro Tip: Did you cook that food? Or did you saute it? Blanch it? Use action verbs and colorful words to make your resume more appetizing to them. However, watch out for too much flourish and exaggerated descriptions - some recruiters may consider them inappropriate.
Want more tips for writing the perfect chef resume skills and a list of additional skills and qualifications? See our guide: “30+ Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume (Proven Tips)”
Contact info, check. Experience, check. Education, Objective, Skills - check, check, and check.
You’ve got the main ingredients, but it’s missing a certain something. Let’s add in a dash of our secret ingredient: extra resume sections.
Why is that?
Extra resume sections make your resume more unique. Everybody puts their name, experience, and education on their resume. This is where you’ll list some relevant things that you’re proud of.
Volunteered after Monsoon Mary reconstructing homes.
Voracious reader (over 300 books per year).
Voted “Strongest Employee” three years in a row.
See what’s wrong here? You have every right to be proud of these accomplishments - hell, I would be. However, they’re just not relevant on a chef resume.
But which ones are right?
I’ll go over some of the most popular additional sections for your resume for chef jobs now, along with some better, more relevant examples.
Helped reconstruct damaged homes after Monsoon Mary swept through? You are a hero! However, it isn’t a relevant volunteer experience on your chef resume. Check out a better example:
Volunteered in fast-paced kitchen at local homeless shelter.
Here are interests and hobbies that would pair well with a chef resume, like the right wine:
Volleyball - captain of local league for over four years.
Avid gardener and botanist.
Volleyball and team sports show that you function well on a team, an important trait for the fast environment of the kitchen. Gardening shows that you are knowledgeable about different fruits and veggies.
Voted “strongest employee” three years in a row? Impressive! But not as relevant as:
Passed five-year food safety certification.
Placed first in last year’s Craft Calamari Cook Off.
Know another language? That could be very helpful on a chef resume, and maybe a necessity. Knowing another language is like being able to understand French cooking methods as well as Indian.
You can serve a tiny helping of a gourmet dish on an oversized, white plate. But don’t serve up a chef resume with so much blank, white space.
In your restaurant, the customer can expect such minimalist style, while the restaurant manager will simply put your resume aside.
Relevant extra sections on your chef resume are the answer.
Pro Tip: Don’t add too many extra sections on your resume for chef jobs. Add only enough extra sections to fill the rest of the current resume page - not more that it spills over onto a new one.
Need more examples of hobbies and interests which work well on chef resumes? Still not sure if you even want to add extra sections? Read our guide: “20+ Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests To Put on a Resume (5 Tips)”
Would you serve a lobster without an apron and a little two-pronged fork?
No, right? A chef’s resume without its cover letter is the same thing - not ready to serve.
45% of recruiters say they will reject a resume without a cover letter. That’s about HALF.
You’ve taken your time on your chef resume measuring the ingredients, adding the spices, and mixing it all together.
Now we have to broil up a great chef cover letter before serving it all to the restaurant manager.
Here are a few flavorful tips to deliver a junior or executive chef cover letter they’ll just eat up:
When your fancy dinner is ready, would you want them to call out, “Hey you!”?
Of course not. Neither do restaurant managers and executive chefs.
Do like a 5-star restaurant with a VIP guest and address them by name in the chef cover letter.
Mention something about the restaurant that you relate with. You dropped their name and caught their attention - now seal the deal with this next personalization.
Be witty. Be charming. Be clever. Positively grab their attention - it will mean more than degrees and certifications you list in your chef resume.
Pro Tip: Research the chef position online and mention something in particular that stands out to you. This is something a resume can’t include and will really catch their eye!
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write your cover letter in our resume builder here. Here's what it might look like:
See more templates and create your resume and cover letter here.
Did you know that our resume builder will also help you write a professional cover letter for a chef job? For more, see this article: “35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips, Advice & Guidelines (With Examples)”
If you’ve followed this guide, you should have a chef resume that is the crème de la crème.
Personalize, Personalize, Personalize. The restaurant manager will be taking in dozens of applications. Address them by name in the cover letter. Mention the restaurant in the heading. Make yours stand out.
You want to join them, so make them need you. You’re eager to take this chef job, so be all in. Spice it up with action verbs and impressive achievements to wow them. Paint the best picture of yourself.
Double- and triple-check. Spend an extra few minutes making sure that your chef resume and cover letter are up to par. Did they ask to include a particular phrase in the email subject line? Are your email and cover letter addressed to the right restaurant manager or executive chef?
You now should have a creative resume for chef jobs that’s cooked to perfection and served just right. Time to attach the final chef cover letter and resume to an email and send it off.
I hope I get the pleasure of trying your recipes the next time I’m out for dinner!
Do you have any questions on how to write a chef resume? Not sure how to describe your skills or achievements? Give us a shout in the comments below and we will answer your question. Thanks for reading!
"Career advice, I've researched and read it, Then I try to write it better than anyone's said it, Once I am finished with all of my edits, You'll have a job, and I'll take some of the credit." Hey there! I'm Christian, a New Yorker and a writer of career advice at Uptowork. As an avid traveler and amateur poet, I also write for a travel website and dabble in doggerel in my spare time.