Kitchen Titles and Hierarchy

Food network aficionados know that some of their favorite celebrity chefs cook and operate in their own New York City Wildlife Removal, and you may be sure they operate their kitchens with military precision from their own position as executive chef on down to the dishwashers and busboys. Each position has definite duties, which can be learned in culinary school or on the job, and one best not deviate if a person wants to stay employed. In very busy crowded kitchens, the hierarchy is particularly important to prevent chaos and keep those meals rolling out to the clients in a timely fashion.

Let us examine those positions in finely-tuned and well-run commercial establishments. Leave it to those French chefs to have established what is taught and followed in most of well-run kitchens, which can be called, appropriately,”The French Brigade system:”

This is the very best person who is usually responsible for the operation of multiple tasks, and may do very little cooking himself;
Head Chef (Chef de Cuisine) –
Generally controls the whole kitchen, from managing costs and staff, to working with suppliers and creating menus, similar to the CEO of a corporation, relying on the sous chef to help;

Second in command, and interpreted it literally means’under chef,’ this role will normally float with the Head Chef; smaller kitchens may not even have one;

Again, in larger kitchens there may be positions which specialize in kitchen cuisine (see
below) instead of one chef assembling and cooking numerous types of dishes, this chef
oversees the”junior” types who are assigned to specific categories;
Commis Chef (in-training or apprentice) –
A junior staff member who works under a chef de partie in order to learn the intricacies of a particular station, these are often people who have recently completed, or might still be in, culinary school;

Kitchen Porter (Kitchen Assistant) –
Employees who assist with tasks within the kitchen, and are less likely to have formal culinary training; jobs include basic food preparation such as washing veggies and paring potatoes (but he gets his own name, nonetheless); at the U.S. we’d refer to these people as”peons” and in the army this be would KP duty;

Dishwasher (Escuelerie) even comes with its own name –
“scullery,” which is a small room or corner adjoining a kitchen, where dishwashing and other kitchen chores are done; in some movies which are set in magnificent English mansions, We’ll often hear the name”scullery maid” – well, this is where the term originated;

Okay, so now we get into the sub-categories of employees who handle only one category or type of food and are supervised by the Chef de Partie (usually found only in very large kitchens or exceptionally precise French restaurants):

Specific titles can include the following:

Butcher chef (aka boucher) – In charge of preparing poultry and meats (obviously, not mandatory in a strictly vegetarian restaurant);

Fish chef (aka poissonnier) – preparation of fish dishes;

Fry chef (aka friturier) – specializes in the preparation of fried food items (do you think fast food joints have several of these?) ;

Grill chef (aka grillardin) – the master of all foods which need grilling (oh, wow, so if a beef or any fish needs grilling, who actually executes this? Think about it);

Pantry chef (aka garde manger) – A pantry chef is responsible for preparing cold dishes, such as salads and pâtés, (but not always in the pantry);

Pastry chef (aka patissier) – now you are speaking, this person gets to make all the goodies;

Roast chef (aka rotisseur) – master of meat roasters and their sauces, (so does this person duke it out with the meat guy, or what?) ;

Roundsman (aka chef de tournant, swing cook or relief cook) – someone who fills in where needed, so it would seem that this person has to be pretty proficient;

Sauté chef (aka saucier or sauce chef) – often the most respected role in the brigade system, because this person can make or break a dish with the sauce or gravy (so don’t annoy this guy, for heaven sake);

Vegetable chef (aka entremetier) – as the name implies, in charge of all vegetables, soups, starches and salads; in very large kitchens, there may be more than one;

Suffice it to say, in large hotels and fine dining establishments, notably in Europe, his system is strictly adhered to. And it is fascinating to see the implementation of these positions on TV shows. Nonetheless, in all likelihood you won’t find this fine precision at your local diner or IHOP. But one never knows. Bon Appetit.

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