Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Chef at a Mexican Restaurant

The life of a Mexican restaurant chef isn’t as glamorous as some may think. It involves long hours of labor in a hot kitchen and a constant battle to uphold the authenticity of traditional Mexican cuisine. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not rewarding.

In fact, being a chef in a traditional Mexican restaurant is a labor of love – one that requires both skill and passion. Below, we take a walk through a typical day in the life of a Mexican restaurant chef.


The Early Bird Gets the Worm

While starting times differ according to the establishment, a Mexican chef’s work day starts way before the typical 9 to 5. Most chefs arrive early in the morning to begin prepping for the day ahead.

The first task of the day usually begins with inventory. A Mexican chef takes great pride in using fresh, high-quality ingredients, so they carefully inspect and count their stock of produce, meats, and spices. Any items running low or spoiled must be noted for the next grocery run.


Mid-Morning Prep

Once inventory is complete, it’s time to start prepping ingredients. This can involve cutting and chopping vegetables, marinating meats, making sauces, and preparing various spices and herbs.

Sometimes, preparation begins days before, especially for dishes requiring a long cooking or slow roasting. The longer the preparation, the more flavorful the result.

Before service, a brief break is taken for a quick meal with the staff or taste-testing new dishes the chef has been experimenting with. The wait staff are also briefed on the day’s specials and specific ingredients for each dish so they can accurately inform customers of any allergies or dietary restrictions.


The Lunch Rush

As the clock strikes 11 am, all hands are on deck as orders pour in. A Mexican restaurant can get busy during lunch, with hungry patrons craving their favorite tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. 

The chef oversees multiple stations, ensuring every dish is prepared and served on time.

Great Mexican chefs must be able to multitask and keep track of multiple dishes cooking at once, all while maintaining quality and consistency.


The Afternoon Lull

After the lunch rush dies down, there’s a brief lull before the dinner crowd starts to arrive. This is the time for chefs to clean and restock their stations, as well as catch up on any prep work that needs to be done for the evening service.

Often, the chef also catches their breath and enjoys a quick snack or break before starting prep for dinner service.


Dinner Service

Dinner service is usually the busiest time of day at a Mexican restaurant. The head chef delegates tasks to their sous chefs and line cooks, ensuring that all dishes are prepared and presented correctly.

Throughout the dinner service, a Mexican restaurant chef juggles between coordinating kitchen staff, overseeing food quality, and handling any last-minute special requests from customers.


Closing Time

Service typically ends around 11 pm, but the day is not over yet for a Mexican chef. Once all customers have left and the kitchen has been cleaned and closed, it’s time to do inventory and prep again for the next day.

The chef also ensures the kitchen is left spotless and all ingredients are properly stored for the night. This is also a good time for chefs to debrief and discuss any changes or improvements for the next day’s service.


The Unseen Hard Work

Aside from the daily routine, being a Mexican chef involves constantly coming up with new menu items, experimenting with flavors and new techniques, and staying up-to-date on industry trends. It’s a never-ending cycle of hard work, creativity, and dedication.

However, at the end of the day, it’s all worth it when customers leave the restaurant with satisfied bellies and compliments for the chef. The passion and hard work put into every dish is what makes Mexican cuisine truly special – a cuisine that deserves to be celebrated and preserved worldwide. 


Indulge in Authentic Mexican Cuisine at Benito’s Restaurant

If this behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a Mexican restaurant chef has sparked your appetite for delicious Mexican food, then head over to Benito’s for real, authentic Mexican food in Texas.

Our head cook has been serving traditional recipes for over 20 years, and every dish is made with love and care. We pride ourselves on serving hefty portions of your favorite Mexican dishes, including chile rellenos, milanesa, and enchiladas.

Visit us today or call us at (817) 332-8633 to order take-out or catering.