The 5 Biggest Mistakes Made By First-Time Head Chefs

A promotion is always nice but with it often comes a fresh set of responsibilities. Becoming the head chef for a business is no different. The role is demanding, fast paced and at times stressful, but for those that do it well it can be extremely rewarding.


To be a successful head chef is by no means an easy feat, and there’s a lot of pitfalls along the way. Once you understand that everyone makes mistakes and use it as an opportunity to learn, you’ll go a long way. But it helps to know what mistakes are out there, right? Luckily for you we’ve compiled some of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a first-time head chef. So, whether you are on your way up or new to the hotseat, you’re going to want to read this:


1) Over/under ordering

If you’re lucky you would have had trained a fair bit doing the ordering while you were making your way up the ranks. If not, you could be in for a few headaches! There’s a fine line between over and under ordering so it’s important to take this task seriously. It’s best for you to try and get some reps in prior to taking the lead role, but if you can’t then don’t be afraid to ask other members of the management team for advice.


2) Playing favourites

It’s only natural that you’ll gravitate towards certain people you work with and start building friendships. Working in hospo is great for that! But when your time comes to step up and run the kitchen, you’ll want to set friendships aside and treat every worker equally. No, we’re not saying you must drop all of the friends you make once you get the job (that would be overkill) but instead be mindful of how you’re handling situations and ensure there is no bias.


3) Flip-flopping on the roster

If you’ve worked in hospo long enough to nab the top job, then you’ll likely be aware of the importance of the roster. You should think very carefully about how you’ll manage it, and it’s important to communicate any changes with your team. It’s a terrible feeling having the rug pulled out from underneath you when the roster changes without notice (a feeling you’ve probably experienced).


4) Starting a war with the front of house

Everybody in foodservice should be aware of the age-old feud between the chefs in the back and the floor staff. It’s normally all for the banter, and most enjoy the silly pranks and slight digs between both parties. But when it has been a busy night and peoples’ patience is running thin, it doesn’t take much for things to boil over. Although you’ll want to look after your own, remember that FOH is also part of the team, so you should take time to get to know them all as well.


5) Going too far with your first menu

It’s understandable that you’re going to be excited when it comes time to create your own menu. All long hours in the kitchen gives a chef ample time to think about all that they’d put on their dream menu. As much as you might want to reinvent the menu entirely, it’d be unwise to move on from anything that’s still working.


If you’re a first-time head chef and have found this article useful, then you might be interested in some of our products as well! You can view our entire foodservice range here, otherwise you can place an order through your local distributor. Plus, if you’re on Facebook, don’t forget to give us a follow for all of the latest products, news, insight and hospo banter.