variants or sous chef
plural sous-chefs or sous chefs
: the top assistant in a professional kitchen
The typical restaurant kitchen is set up so the absence of the head chef is not felt in the dining room. It is the assistant, the sous-chef, who is usually in charge of production, with the head chef the administrator and creative force.Florence Fabricant
The relationship between chef and sous-chef can be a particularly intimate one, for instance, and it's nice to have someone with a similar background and world-view when you're going to spend almost every waking hour together.Anthony Bourdain

Examples of sous-chef in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dodin jumps in as a sous-chef, taking the time to teach a young girl, Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire), a potential apprentice with a perfect palate. Katie Walsh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Feb. 2024 First, while a sous-chef was permitted to assist Baci with the prep work and cleaning the kitchen area, Baci herself had to do all the cooking. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 14 June 2023 Working as sous-chef at the Boonville Hotel in Anderson Valley, Krissy Scommegna observed a general principle of the restaurant. Naoki Nitta, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Apr. 2023 Another person, identified as a sous-chef at Phillips Seafood, dived into the water and broken open a window to rescue the driver. Lilly Price, Baltimore Sun, 22 Mar. 2023 The new head chef is Umberto Herrera, who has worked in the kitchen since Conti and Degan first opened La Ciccia; the sous-chef, Edilberto Martinez, is likewise a 17-year veteran. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sous-chef.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French, short for sous-chef de cuisine "second in command of the kitchen"; sous "under," preposition and prefix, going back to Old French suz, soz, going back to Latin subtus "in a lower position, underneath, below," derivative of sub "under" with -tus as in intus "inside, within" — more at up entry 1, chief entry 3, cuisine

First Known Use

1892, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sous-chef was in 1892

Dictionary Entries Near sous-chef

Cite this Entry

“Sous-chef.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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