Los Angeles: On Set: Challenges of Being a Production Chef

Los Angeles: On Set: Challenges of Being a Production Chef

Courtesy of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles

We all see and hear about TV’s favorite chefs, but what about the cooks who serve behind the scenes? There are many challenges that chefs and caterers face when cooking under the restrictions of a production schedule. Efficiency, timeliness and speed are essential in all aspects of the entertainment and event industries, and chefs must especially utilize these skills when faced with the daunting task of feeding a banquet hall or entire cast and crew. Production chefs may not be cooking for a national audience, but their meals are the recipe to a happy, hard working set.

To examine the challenges inherent in craft services and production chef positions, we’ve compiled a list of job duty requirements that measure one’s ability to withstand the pressures of this specific culinary career.

Must be large and in charge:
A production chef can include a variety of positions, including a head banquet hall cook, food service liaison, and kitchen staff manager. Because this job title encompasses a multitude of responsibilities, a qualified chef will be experienced in a range of culinary techniques and should know the ins and outs of a large scale kitchen. Many chefs hired to work in entertainment venues are expected to keep both the kitchen and dining room running efficiently, while also juggling a boisterous staff. In essence, a production chef should be able to handle a cooking catastrophe at any moment.

Requires flexibility at its finest:
A production chef must be able to stretch their skills in the kitchen, even if there’s no kitchen on site. It’s not uncommon for a film or TV show shot on location to offer minimal cooking surfaces and appliances. Event caterers also find ways to travel smartly when serving new event halls and party locations. Tupperware and storage containers that lock in heat or cold are important tools to any cook’s bag of tricks. Much like a stylist’s trusty comb, a production chef always has their best set of knives and kitchen essentials on hand.

Creative vision desired:
The great thing about working in production is the possibility to produce inventive meals, both large and small. When overseeing the craft services of a local photo shoot with only a handful of mouths to feed, the cook or caterer in charge can utilize their ingenuity to prepare easy to eat lunches and delightful afternoon snacks. A head chef for an event planning business has the opportunity to produce inspiring meals for enthusiastic dining halls on most nights of the week. Some chefs are hired to maintain the dining room presentation, requiring visual display skills to match table décor and plating with the evening’s ambiance. Whether you’re a busy caterer with thousands to feed each week or a freelance chef for private productions, every job is a new chance to show your talent and please the people.


This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Los Angeles, California. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit http://www.Chefs.edu/Los-Angeles for more information. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles does not guarantee employment or salary.

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