How to create a chef resume
The standard format for a chef’s resume, in many ways, mirrors the resumes of professionals in any other industry. Atop the page are your contact details, including your name, address, phone number and email address, regardless of how much or how little experience you have in professional kitchens. The flow of your resume thereafter will depend on your experience.
If you have spent time working in professional kitchens, your employment history beginning with your most recent position should follow your contact information.
Here you want to include the name of the business, the city and state (or country, if outside the U.S.) where it’s located, the month and year of your start and end date and your job title or position. It’s a good idea to hot link to the business’ website, should the person reading your resume be unfamiliar with the establishment. You’ll also want to include at least one bullet point describing the type of work that you did in each role. This is your opportunity to shine.
Numbers, in numerical format, are important to include: “Maintained bistro-style restaurant for 65 covers nightly” or “Prepared fine dining quality food for functions of up to 200.” The numbers may seem large or small, depending on the specific business to which you’re applying, but they speak to the type of volume that you’re capable of handling. Also, if you were part of the service team for any marquee clients such as celebrities or a corporate brand’s event group, be sure to include a bullet point for that information as this speaks to your ability to deliver on high expectations and further an establishment’s reputation for excellence.
If your experience in professional kitchens is limited to entry-level positions, you’ll still want to provide a description of your role – and how it served the bigger business picture. So if you’ve worked as a dishwasher, you can note any specific safety standards or codes for which you helped maintain hygienic conditions as well as the size of the team with which you were had to communicate. Similarly, prep cooks can also include the average number of covers for which you were involved in service in addition to any kitchen management duties for which you were responsible.
Education should feature below your employment history unless you’re fresh out of school. For new culinary school graduates with little to no work experience, you’ll want your education to feature just below your contact information. Of course, you’ll also want to highlight any honors or awards that you earned. However, all new grads should stress specific skills that they learned during their education.
If you’re applying for a grill position, note any instances when you prepared grill specials such as octopus or cooked-to-order steaks for class – and the number of classmates. Another option is to highlight specific classes that you’ve taken like “Soups, Stocks and Sauces” and particular items that you learned to prepare such the "Five Mother Sauces" or butter compounds.
Regardless of your experience level, you’ll want to make sure your resume features a variety of culinary terms, illustrating that you speak the same language as the kitchen staff. For example, prep cooks should have “mise en place” somewhere on their resume while those highlighting specialty techniques such as cut sizes will want to cite specifics such as “julienne, brunoise and oblique.”
The latter point could also fall under “Skill Set,” which should feature below the education component of everyone’s resume. New grads can also use “Skill Set” to feature specialty classes taken in school; here’s where you can underscore your passion for oenology or Thai cooking. This is also where any additional certifications such as ServSafe or programs completed with the American Culinary Federation should be included.
Membership in professional associations or guilds is also worth noting. If you belong to The American Society of Baking or the Bread Bakers Guild of America, include it on your resume. Such memberships exemplify your dedication for and commitment to the craft. They can also serve as talking points with an interviewer who may also be a member of the same organization.
Above all, take care to make sure it’s a bullet point; not a complete sentence and certainly not a paragraph. Your resume is a five-minute elevator pitch that should garner just enough attention and interest on the part of the reader to invite you to interview.