Career Development

What Does a Kitchen Steward Do?

Find out what a kitchen steward does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a kitchen steward.

Kitchen stewards are the backbone of any commercial kitchen. They’re responsible for a wide range of tasks, from preparing ingredients and maintaining equipment to washing dishes and handling food safety concerns.

Kitchen stewards work closely with other members of the kitchen staff but also spend a lot of time on their own. They may be tasked with prepping ingredients or cooking food ahead of time so that it’s ready when needed. They may also be responsible for cleaning up after cooks prepare meals in the kitchen.

Kitchen Steward Job Duties

Kitchen stewards have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing work surfaces, equipment, dishes, and utensils
  • Maintaining cleanliness standards by washing dishes, pots, pans, plates, silverware, glassware, and other items used in cooking or food preparation
  • Preparing ingredients for cooking by chopping vegetables, grinding meat, extracting juice, and other tasks as needed
  • Maintaining inventory of supplies and ordering materials needed by the department
  • Monitoring food storage conditions to ensure they are safe and stable
  • Operating dishwashers and other equipment used for cleaning and sterilizing dishes, glassware, utensils, pots, pans, and other kitchen items
  • Cleaning and maintaining the kitchen, including sweeping floors and wiping down surfaces
  • Setting tables, preparing salads, and other duties related to food service for special events such as parties or banquets
  • Following safety procedures for using equipment, disposing of waste products, and other activities

Kitchen Steward Salary & Outlook

Kitchen stewards’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $29,404 ($14.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $52,000 ($25/hour)

The employment of kitchen stewards is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to hire kitchen stewards in restaurants and hotels will be limited because these establishments are expected to continue to use more automation, such as food-ordering apps and self-service kiosks, to reduce costs. However, some establishments may continue to hire kitchen stewards to maintain high-quality service and to provide a personal touch for customers.

Related: Kitchen Steward Interview Questions and Answers

Kitchen Steward Job Requirements

A kitchen steward is responsible for a variety of tasks in the kitchen, which may include:

Education: Kitchen stewards typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. Courses in food preparation, nutrition, sanitation and food safety can be helpful for kitchen stewards.

Training & Experience: Most kitchen stewards receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning how to use the kitchen’s equipment, how to prepare the menu items and how to clean the kitchen. The training may also include instruction on how to handle food safely and how to handle waste disposal.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Kitchen Steward Skills

Kitchen stewards need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to Detail: A kitchen steward is responsible for ensuring that the kitchen is clean and organized at all times. This means paying close attention to detail to prevent food from becoming contaminated and keeping track of all the kitchen supplies.

Hygiene and Sanitation: Kitchen stewards are also responsible for ensuring that the kitchen is always clean and sanitary. They must follow strict hygiene and sanitation guidelines to prevent the spread of food-borne illnesses.

Problem-Solving: In a busy kitchen, problems are constantly arising. A kitchen steward must be able to think on their feet and come up with quick solutions to keep the kitchen running smoothly.

Time Management: A kitchen steward is often tasked with multiple cleaning duties simultaneously. They must be able to efficiently manage their time so that they can complete all their tasks within the allotted timeframe.

Teamwork: A kitchen steward typically works as part of a team in order to achieve common goals. They must be able to work collaboratively with their team members and be willing to lend a helping hand when needed.

Kitchen Steward Work Environment

Kitchen stewards typically work in the kitchen of a restaurant, hotel, or other food service establishment. They may also work in the kitchen of a hospital, school, or other institution that provides food service. Kitchen stewards typically work full time, and their hours may vary depending on the hours of operation of the food service establishment in which they work. Many kitchen stewards work early morning, late evening, weekend, and holiday shifts. Some kitchen stewards may be required to work overtime, and their work may be physically demanding.

Kitchen Steward Trends

Here are three trends influencing how kitchen stewards work. Kitchen stewards will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Celebrity Chef

The rise of the celebrity chef has led to a greater focus on food in popular culture. This has resulted in a greater demand for chefs who can create unique and innovative dishes that reflect the latest culinary trends.

Kitchen stewards can capitalize on this trend by becoming familiar with the latest culinary trends and developing skills that allow them to create unique dishes that appeal to customers’ tastes. In addition, they should also focus on building relationships with suppliers and other members of the culinary community, which will help them stay up-to-date on the latest ingredients and products.

More Focus on Health and Wellness

As health and wellness becomes more important to Americans, restaurants are beginning to focus more on providing healthy options on their menus. This is leading to an increased demand for kitchen staff who have experience preparing healthy meals.

Kitchen stewards who are able to prepare healthy meals will be in high demand in the years to come. They should take advantage of this trend by expanding their knowledge of healthy cooking techniques and learning how to work with fresh, local ingredients.

A Growing Interest in Local Food

There is a growing interest in local food among consumers, as they are looking for ways to support local farmers and producers. This trend is having a significant impact on the restaurant industry, as more and more restaurants are focusing on serving locally sourced food.

Kitchen stewards can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in local cuisine. They can also learn how to source local ingredients and develop recipes that utilize them.

How to Become a Kitchen Steward

A career as a kitchen steward is a great way to get your foot in the door of the culinary world. As a kitchen steward, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from some of the best chefs in the business and gain valuable experience working in a professional kitchen.

To become a kitchen steward, you’ll need to have a few essential skills. You should be able to work well under pressure, have excellent knife skills, and be able to follow recipes accurately. It’s also important that you are able to work as part of a team and communicate effectively with other staff members.

Advancement Prospects

The kitchen steward is responsible for keeping the kitchen clean and organized. He or she may also be responsible for some food preparation, such as chopping vegetables. In larger kitchens, the kitchen steward may be responsible for supervising the work of other kitchen staff. With experience, a kitchen steward can advance to a position such as head chef or kitchen manager.

Kitchen Steward Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we strive to provide our guests with an exceptional dining experience, and that all begins in the kitchen with our team of highly skilled culinary professionals. We’re looking for a kitchen steward to join our team and help us maintain the cleanliness and sanitation of our kitchen. The ideal candidate will have prior experience working in a professional kitchen and be able to maintain a high level of cleanliness even in a fast-paced environment. He or she will also be responsible for washing dishes, pots, and pans, as well as keeping the kitchen organized and stocked.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Maintain cleanliness and organization of the kitchen area, including all storage areas
  • Adhere to all safety and sanitation guidelines
  • Assist with food preparation as needed
  • Operate dishwashing machines according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Unload delivery trucks and stock shelves
  • Clean and sanitize all dishes, utensils, and cooking equipment
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Empty trash cans and recycle bins
  • Wash windows and mirrors
  • Polish silverware
  • Organize and maintain storage areas
  • Perform general maintenance tasks as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as kitchen steward or similar role
  • Excellent physical stamina and strength, with ability to lift heavy objects
  • Good organizational and time-management skills
  • Working knowledge of health and safety regulations
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time and work in a fast-paced environment

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Certification from culinary school
  • Previous experience working in a professional kitchen
  • Familiarity with commercial dishwashing machines
  • Knowledge of food storage and proper sanitation practices
  • Creativity and ability to develop new menu items


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