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What Does a Kitchen Supervisor Do?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Whether she works in a restaurant, hotel, school, sports arena, or any other environment that has a commercial kitchen, a kitchen supervisor has two main tasks: promoting health and safety in her kitchen and keeping her kitchen on budget. The health and safety dimension of a kitchen supervisor’s job generally involves ensuring proper food storage and handling as well as kitchen cleanliness. In order to ensure that her kitchen remains within its budget, a kitchen supervisor is usually also involved in determining portion sizes, contributing to menu creation, and minimizing waste. To become a kitchen supervisor, it is generally necessary to complete some culinary training, obtain health and safety certifications, and gain some real-world experience.

One of the primary responsibilities of a kitchen supervisor is maintaining proper health and safety standards in her kitchen. This objective usually breaks down into a number of separate tasks. For instance, the kitchen supervisor must ensure that all food is stored in such a way that minimizes the chance of food-borne illness, and that foods are used or disposed of by their expiration date. She must also oversee kitchen staff, making sure that they are handling foods safely and maintaining personal hygiene. Additionally, she is responsible for supervising the ongoing sanitation of all elements of her kitchen, including everything from preparation surfaces to dishware to refrigeration units to floors.

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The other chief concern of a kitchen supervisor’s job is making sure her kitchen operates within its budget. In order to achieve this objective, she may determine portion sizes for each dish, and help establish menu pricing. She may also contribute to the creation of menus, assisting in determining which dishes might be most profitable based on issues like delivery costs and the seasonality of ingredients. Further, she will usually attempt to prevent financial losses resulting from waste by dictating how much of each ingredient to order, and proposing daily specials to use up ingredients that are nearing their expiration dates.

An individual who wishes to become a kitchen supervisor will generally need to complete culinary school, or at least to take some classes in food service and hospitality. In addition, she will need to obtain all health and safety certification required by her state or country. Finally, in most cases, a supervisor candidate must have one or more years of experience working in a commercial kitchen.

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