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Pizza Chefs: Key Skills, Duties and Responsibilities

A pizza chef manages other cooks, follows recipes, knows how to work with pizza dough and ensures a high-quality product. Read this guide to learn more about what you should look for in a pizza chef.

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What to look for in a pizza chef

Good pizza chefs have the following skills and attributes:

  • Ability to manage others and work on a team
  • Knowing what makes a good pizza
  • Commitment to customer service
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule

Ability to manage others and work on a team

A pizza chef manages multiple, simultaneous processes —from dough and ingredient prep to cooking pizza in a pizza or wood-fired oven. A good pizza chef makes excellent pizzas and knows how to teach others to toss dough, assemble pizzas and cook them properly.

Some pizza chefs may be responsible for administrative tasks related to kitchen management. They may, for example, be responsible for ensuring that ingredients are stocked before service and communicating with procurement or the head chef to order supplies. Pizza chefs may be responsible for ensuring that food costs yield profitability while providing quality ingredients. They may also be responsible for maintaining industrial kitchen equipment and ensuring food preparation areas meet sanitation standards and local health laws.

Some head pizza chefs may be responsible for scheduling cooks, prep workers and other kitchen staff.

Knowing what makes a good pizza

Depending on the restaurant, a pizza chef may require formal culinary training with a focus on Italian cuisine. Some pizza chefs create original pizza recipes, which can be extremely popular. At a minimum, a pizza chef should be able to read and follow basic cooking directions.

Pizza chefs should know how to make and toss dough, how to prepare good pizza sauces, how to roll out crusts and add ingredients according to recipes. The resulting product should be consistent and delicious.

Commitment to customer service

Good pizza chefs provide excellent service to customers. Depending on the type of restaurant, a pizza chef may be in charge of phone orders and take-out deliveries. They should be able to communicate well and resolve customer complaints with diplomacy.

Willingness to work a flexible schedule

Restaurants are often busiest during nights, weekends and holidays. Pizza chefs should be able to work those shifts.

Pizza chef duties and skills

Here are some common duties of a pizza chef:

  • Ensures cooking stations are sanitized and prepped with necessary tools
  • Prepares and stores pizza dough
  • Prepares pizza sauces
  • Orders supplies, maintains inventory, creates budgets to ensure profitable food cost
  • Trains other cooks in the preparation process so all meals are uniform
  • Checks quality of pizzas before they’re served to guests
  • Performs regular maintenance on kitchen equipment
  • Collaborates with staff on menu items
  • Resolves customer complaints with diplomacy
  • Makes sure the kitchen is clean and sanitized

These are ideal skills for a good pizza chef:

  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Customer service
  • Ability to work under pressure

Related: How to Write a Job Description

What makes a great pizza chef?

Great chefs are passionate about their work. If your restaurant wants to cultivate a devoted following, look for a chef who puts their heart into their work. A great personality is another major plus. When reviewing resumes, look for a commitment to great customer service and a love of great food. You may form a partnership that makes your restaurant a favorite destination for pizza lovers.

Related: How to Find Good Employees

Pizza chef FAQs

The following are some questions and answers about pizza chefs:

What level of education is needed to become a pizza chef?

There is no formal education needed to become a pizza chef, although many restaurants require a high school diploma or GED. When searching for a pizza chef, consider looking for candidates with experience in a kitchen, preferably making pizzas.

What is the average salary of a pizza chef?

The average hourly wage for pizza chefs is $11.92 per hour. Wages vary, depending on the experience level required and location.

What jobs are similar to a pizza chef?

Jobs with a similar level of responsibility and experience include kitchen manager, restaurant manager and sous-chef.

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