13 SMART Goals Examples for Sous Chefs

Sous chefs, the second-in-command in the kitchen, must have a clear vision and direction for their culinary excellence. This is where SMART goals play a huge role. SMART is a goal-setting tool that can guide sous chefs on their journey to culinary success.

Not convinced? Consider this scenario: A sous chef aims to improve their knife skills. This goal is specific and measurable, but is it attainable?

If the sous chef has other responsibilities that consume most of their time, it may not be realistic to succeed quickly. This example highlights the importance of SMART goals—they must be achievable and relevant to your career growth.

From improving their skills and techniques to managing a team, setting SMART goals can help sous chefs achieve professional growth. This post will provide 13 examples of SMART goals that sous chefs can use as inspiration.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART methodology stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Each element is crucial in developing excellence goals in your career as a sous chef.

Here is a breakdown of each component:


Rather than setting vague aspirations such as “improve my culinary skills” or “become a better sous chef,” sous chefs must specify their goals to create a roadmap for their culinary journey.

Whether mastering a specific cooking technique or earning a certification in a particular cuisine, having well-defined goals is crucial. Your likelihood of culinary success will surely increase.


Quantifiable goals enable sous chefs to monitor their progress and identify improvement areas. For example, suppose a sous chef’s goal is to reduce food waste in their kitchen. In that case, they can track the amount generated and implement strategies to minimize it.


While aiming high is admirable, sous chefs should set realistic goals given their skills and resources. Developing unattainable goals may hinder performance. So make sure to evaluate what’s achievable within your current culinary environment.


Pursuing goals that align with a sous chef’s career aspirations and culinary interests is vital to long-term success. Goals that resonate with their passion and values will allow them to stay motivated and overcome challenges.


Incorporating a timeline into goals is essential for maintaining focus and ensuring progress. Chefs should understand that culinary excellence is a journey, not an overnight achievement.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Sous Chefs

1. Master a New Culinary Technique

“I will master the sous-vide cooking technique in 7 months by regularly practicing and experimenting with different recipes. That way, I can incorporate this technique into my cooking repertoire and elevate the flavors of my dishes.”

Specific: Master the sous-vide cooking technique by the end of 7 months.

Measurable: Success can be measured by consistently preparing sous-vide dishes.

Attainable: Any sous chef with access to a sous-vide machine can learn this technique through practice and experimentation.

Relevant: Incorporating new techniques into their cooking repertoire can enhance a sous chef’s skills and make them stand out in the culinary industry.

Time-Based: The deadline for meeting this particular goal is 6 months.

2. Improve Plating and Presentation

“Within the next year, I want to enhance my plating and presentation skills by studying design principles and experimenting with different plating styles. I’m excited to elevate the visual appeal of my dishes, creating a more immersive dining experience for customers.”

Specific: Your goal focuses on improving plating and presentation skills through specific actions (studying design principles and experimenting with different styles).

Measurable: Check your progress by taking photos of your dishes and comparing them to see improvement.

Attainable: As a sous chef, you can access resources such as cookbooks and online tutorials to aid your learning process.

Relevant: Plating and presentation skills are essential for creating visually appealing dishes that impress customers.

Time-based: Goal completion should be anticipated within a whole year.

3. Achieve Certification in French Cuisine

“I aim to obtain a certification in French cuisine from a recognized culinary institute within two years by enrolling in a relevant program and consistently practicing French cooking techniques. Doing so will enhance my culinary skills and open up opportunities for career advancement.”

Specific: Your goal is to obtain a certification in French cuisine in two years.

Measurable: Determine how close you are to finishing the program and whether your skills improved through assessments.

Attainable: It’s doable if the chef can access a recognized culinary institute and is committed to practicing French cooking techniques.

Relevant: French cuisine likely aligns with the sous chef’s passion for classic culinary techniques and opens up opportunities for career advancement.

Time-Based: You have a two-year timeline, creating urgency to succeed.

4. Reduce Kitchen Waste

“I’ll reduce kitchen waste by 20% for the three months ahead by implementing waste reduction strategies and closely monitoring ingredient usage. This will help the environment and contribute to cost-saving for the restaurant.”

Specific: You have precise actions available: implementing waste reduction strategies and closely monitoring ingredient usage.

Measurable: Reducing waste by a quantifiable amount (20%) can be monitored regularly.

Attainable: Aiming for a 20% reduction in waste is feasible within three months, assuming the sous chef has the proper support.

Relevant: Reducing waste contributes to kitchen efficiency and sustainability.

Time-Based: There is a three-month window to reach the SMART statement.

5. Lead a Successful Kitchen Service

“I will lead a seamless and successful kitchen service, including service during high-pressure events, within the next four months. I’ll enhance communication, coordinate staff schedules, and streamline the order-taking process during peak hours.”

Specific: The goal clearly outlines the desired outcome—to lead a successful kitchen service.

Measurable: The success of the kitchen service can be measured by factors like customer satisfaction, smooth execution, and efficient use of resources.

Attainable: If you have a solid understanding of kitchen operations and the support of your team, this goal is possible within four months.

Relevant: As a sous chef, leading successful kitchen services is essential for career growth and contributing to overall culinary excellence.

Time-based: Four entire months are required for goal attainment.

6. Create a Signature Dish

“By the end of this year, I will create a signature dish that reflects my unique culinary style and showcases my skills in the kitchen. I’ll experiment with different ingredients, seeking feedback from my colleagues and incorporating their suggestions to perfect my dish.”

Specific: You know what to do (create a signature dish), how to do it (experiment with ingredients and seek feedback), and when to do it (by the end of the year).

Measurable: Record colleague feedback and assess how well your dish reflects your culinary style.

Attainable: With enough creativity, sous chefs can undoubtedly create a signature dish.

Relevant: Creating a signature dish showcases your skills as a sous chef and helps build your culinary brand.

Time-Based: The goal has an end date of one year to reach excellence.

7. Improve Time Management

“I want to enhance my time management skills in the kitchen by reducing prep time and improving efficiency through better prioritization. Over the 5 months ahead, I plan to gradually decrease dish preparation time by at least 10%.

Specific: This culinary statement is to enhance time management in the kitchen.

Measurable: Count the time spent on dish preparation and compare it to previous months.

Attainable: You’re not aiming for a significant reduction in one go, but gradually improving over 5 months.

Relevant: Time management is crucial for sous chefs in ensuring smooth operations and maintaining high-quality standards in the kitchen.

Time-based: The goal is established for a duration of 5 months.

8. Become More Familiar With Ingredients

“The sous chef wants to expand their knowledge of ingredients and their uses in different cuisines. For the following 12 months, They will research and experiment with at least one new ingredient weekly, incorporating it into dishes they create.”

Specific: You’ve specified expanding knowledge of ingredients and their uses.

Measurable: Count the number of ingredients you have researched and experimented with.

Attainable: This SMART statement is definitely reasonable and within your control.

Relevant: Continuously learning about ingredients will enhance your culinary skills and allow you to create innovative dishes.

Time-based: Goal achievement should be met after 12 months.

9. Mentor Junior Kitchen Staff

“My aim is to mentor and train junior kitchen staff to enhance their culinary skills and knowledge over the next two years, leading to a stronger kitchen team. I’ll actively seek opportunities to share my knowledge and provide feedback on their progress.”

Specific: This outlines the sous chef’s goal to mentor and train junior kitchen staff.

Measurable: Determine the number of junior staff to mentor and track their success over two years.

Attainable: This SMART goal is doable as the chef has experience and knowledge to share with their team.

Relevant: Sous chefs who wish to advance to higher leadership roles must possess mentoring and training skills.

Time-based: You have a two-year timeline to reach the desired outcome.

10. Achieve Recognition in Competitions

“I will achieve recognition in at least three culinary competitions in three years, showcasing my culinary talent. That way, I can gain recognition in the culinary industry and build a strong professional network.”

Specific: Participating in and achieving recognition in at least three culinary competitions.

Measurable: Track the number of competitions participated in and recognition received.

Attainable: By taking part in various local and national culinary competitions, the chef can work towards gaining recognition within the industry.

Relevant: Competing in culinary competitions is an excellent way to showcase your skills and attract potential employment opportunities.

Time-based: Within three whole years, goal completion would be achieved.

11. Improve Your Knife Skills

“Mastering knife skills is crucial for any chef, and sous chefs are no exception. I plan to dedicate 30 minutes every day to practice and improve my knife skills for the following three months.”

Specific: The goal specifies that the sous chef will focus on improving their knife skills.

Measurable: Measure the time spent practicing daily and monitor your technique improvement.

Attainable: Practicing for 30 minutes daily is achievable, and a two-month timeline allows for gradual improvement.

Relevant: This goal will improve your dexterity in the kitchen and boost your confidence as a chef.

Time-based: There is a deadline of three months for focused practice.

12. Network With Culinary Professionals

“I will attend monthly culinary networking events and connect with at least 20 other professionals in the industry over the next year. By building strong connections, I can learn from others’ experiences and expand my professional network.”

Specific: The goal outlines attending monthly networking events and connecting with three professionals within a year.

Measurable: Keep track of event attendance and connections made regularly.

Attainable: Monthly events provide ample opportunities to connect with industry professionals.

Relevant: Building a solid network could lead to new career opportunities and collaborations in the culinary industry.

Time-based: You should anticipate completing this certain goal after a year.

13. Boost Online Presence

“I understand the importance of having a strong online presence in today’s digital age. I’ll strive to create an engaging social media presence for my culinary creations, gaining at least 1000 followers for the next 8 months.”

Specific: The objective is to build an online presence and gain 1000 followers in 8 months.

Measurable: Monitor your social media growth and follower count every month.

Attainable: By consistently posting quality content and engaging with followers, the chef can attract a following within 8 months.

Relevant: A strong online presence can attract potential customers and display your culinary talent to a broader audience.

Time-based: Goal accomplishment will ideally be met after 8 months.

Final Thoughts

Do not limit yourself to these examples; develop your own SMART goals that align with your professional aspirations as a sous chef. Regularly review your progress towards reaching these goals, making necessary adjustments.

Not only will setting SMART goals help you grow as a sous chef, but it will also showcase your dedication and drive to potential employers. So, keep pursuing those goals and strive for excellence in the culinary world.

After all, the key to becoming a successful sous chef is to continuously push yourself to learn and improve in all aspects of your role. Keep sharpening those knives to maximize your potential as a sous chef.

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