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An Italian chef preparing a truffle for diners A chef is a trained professional cook and
tradesman A tradesman, skilled tradesman, or tradie refers to a skilled worker who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, and often formal vocational education Vocational education is education th ...

tradesman
who is proficient in all aspects of
food preparation Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology ...
, often focusing on a particular
cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), no ...
. The word "chef" is derived from the term ''chef de cuisine'' (), the director or head of a
kitchen A typical Hoosier cabinet of the 1920s A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques a ...

kitchen
. Chefs can receive formal training from an institution, as well as by apprenticing with an experienced chef. There are different terms that use the word ''chef'' in their titles, and deal with specific areas of food preparation. Examples include the ''sous-chef'', who acts as the second-in-command in a kitchen, and the ''chef de partie'', who handles a specific area of production. The kitchen brigade system is a hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, many of which use the word "chef" in their titles. Underneath the chefs are the ''kitchen assistants''. A chef's standard uniform includes a hat (called a ''
toque , wearing the Spanish ''Tocado'', late 1500s. Painting by Sofonisba Anguissola Sofonisba Anguissola ( – 16 November 1625), also known as Sophonisba Angussola or Sophonisba Anguisciola, was an Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissan ...
''),
neckerchief A neckerchief (from ''neck'' (n.) + '' kerchief''), sometimes called a necker, kerchief or scarf, is a type of neckwear associated with those working or living outdoors, including farm labourers, cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends c ...

neckerchief
, double-breasted jacket,
apron An apron is a garment that is worn over other clothing and covers mainly the front of the body. The word comes from old French napron meaning a small piece of cloth, however over time "a napron" became "an apron", a process in linguistics called ...
and sturdy shoes (that may include steel or plastic toe-caps).


Etymology

The word "chef" is derived (and shortened) from the term ''chef de cuisine'' (), the director or head of a
kitchen A typical Hoosier cabinet of the 1920s A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques a ...

kitchen
. (The French word comes from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
''
caput ''Caput'', a Latin word meaning literally "head" and by metonymy "top", has been borrowed in a variety of English language, English words, including capital, captain, and decapitate. The surname Caputo, common in the Campania region of Italy, come ...
'' (head) and is cognate with
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
"chief"). In English, the title "chef" in the
culinary profession Culinary arts, in which ''culinary Culinary arts, in which '' culinary'' means "related to cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniqu ...
originated in the ''
haute cuisine ''Haute cuisine'' (; ) or ''grande cuisine'' is the cuisine of "high-level" establishments, gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels. ''Haute cuisine '' is characterized by the meticulous preparation and careful presentation of food at a high price ...
'' of the 19th century. The culinary arts, among other aspects of the French language introduced French loan-words into the English language.


Titles

Various titles, detailed below, are given to those working in a professional kitchen and each can be considered a title for a type of chef. Many of the titles are based on the ''
brigade de cuisine (, kitchen brigade) is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, commonly referred to as "kitchen staff" in English-speaking countries. The concept was developed by Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935). T ...
'' (or brigade system) documented by
Auguste Escoffier Georges Auguste Escoffier (; 28 October 1846 – 12 February 1935) was a French chef, restaurateur and culinary writer who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. Much of Escoffier's technique was based on that of Marie-Antoine ...
, while others have a more general meaning depending on the individual kitchen.


''Chef de cuisine''

Other names include executive chef, chef manager, head chef, and master chef. This person is in charge of all activities related to the kitchen, which usually includes menu creation, management of kitchen staff, ordering and purchasing of inventory, controlling raw material costs and plating design. ''Chef de cuisine'' is the traditional French term from which the English word chef is derived. ''Head chef'' is often used to designate someone with the same duties as an executive chef, but there is usually someone in charge of a head chef, possibly making the larger executive decisions such as direction of menu, final authority in staff management decisions, and so on. This is often the case for executive chefs with multiple restaurants. Involved in checking the sensory evaluation of dishes after preparation and they are well aware of each sensory property of those specific dishes. In the UK, the title executive chef normally applies to hotels with multi outlets in the same hotel. Other establishments in the UK tend to use the title head chef.


''Sous-chef''

The ''sous-chef de cuisine'' (under-chef of the kitchen) is the second-in-command and direct assistant of the chef de cuisine or head chef. This person may be responsible for scheduling the kitchen staff, or substituting when the head chef is absent. Also, he or she will fill in for or assist a ''chef de partie'' (line cook) when needed. This person is accountable for the kitchen's inventory, cleanliness, organization, and the continuing training of its entire staff. A sous-chef's duties can also include carrying out the head chef's directives, conducting line checks, and overseeing the timely rotation of all food products. Smaller operations may not have a sous-chef, while larger operations may have more than one. CIA (2011). p. 8.


''Chef de partie''

A ''chef de partie'', also known as a "station chef" or "line cook", is in charge of a particular area of production. In large kitchens, each chef de partie might have several cooks or assistants. In most kitchens, however, the chef de partie is the only worker in that department. Line cooks are often divided into a hierarchy of their own, starting with "first cook", then "second cook", and so on as needed.


''Commis'' (chef) / Range chef

A commis is a basic chef in larger kitchens who works under a ''chef de partie'' to learn the station's or range's responsibilities and operation. CIA (2011). p. 9. This may be a chef who has recently completed formal culinary training or is still undergoing training.


Brigade system titles

Station-chef titles which are part of the brigade system include:


Kitchen assistant

Kitchen assistants are of two types, kitchen-hands and stewards/ kitchen porters. Kitchen-hands assist with basic food preparation tasks under the chef's direction. They carry out relatively unskilled tasks such as peeling potatoes and washing salad. Stewards/
kitchen A typical Hoosier cabinet of the 1920s A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques a ...

kitchen
porters are involved in the scullery, washing up and general cleaning duties. In a smaller kitchen, these duties may be incorporated. A ''communard'' is in charge of preparing the meal for the staff during a shift. This meal is often referred to as the staff or
family mealA family meal or staff meal is a group meal that a restaurant serves its staff outside of peak business hours. The restaurant provides the meal free of charge, as a Employee benefit, perk of employment. Typically the meal is served to the entire staf ...

family meal
. The ''escuelerie'' (from 15th century French and a
cognate In linguistics, cognates, also called lexical cognates, are words that have a common etymology, etymological origin. Cognates are often inherited from a proto-language, shared parent language, but they may also involve loanword, borrowings from ...
of the English "
scullery A scullery is a room in a house, traditionally used for washing up dishes and laundering clothes, or as an overflow kitchen. Tasks performed in the scullery include cleaning dishes and cooking utensils (or storing them), occasional kitchen work, ir ...
"), or the more modern plongeur or dishwasher, is the keeper of dishes, having charge of dishes and keeping the kitchen clean. A common humorous title for this role in some modern kitchens is "''chef de plonge''" or "head dishwasher".


Culinary education

Education is available from many culinary institutions offering diploma, associate, and bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts. Depending on the level of education, this can take one to four years. An internship is often part of the curriculum. Regardless of the education received, most professional kitchens follow the
apprenticeship An apprenticeship is a system for training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study (classroom work and reading). Apprenticeships can also enable practitioners to gain ...

apprenticeship
system, and most new cooks will start at a lower-level 2nd or 1st cook position and work their way up. Like many skilled trades, chefs usually go through a formal apprenticeship which includes many years of on-the-job training. Culinary schools and restaurants offer these apprenticeships. To become an apprentice, one must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Apprenticeships usually take 3 to 4 years to complete and combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training. The training period for a chef is generally four years as an apprentice. A newly qualified chef is advanced or more commonly a toquecommis-chef, consisting of first-year ''commis'', second-year ''commis'', and so on. The rate of pay is usually in accordance with the chefs. Like all other chefs except the executive-chef, trainees are placed in sections of the kitchen (e.g., the starter (
appetizer An hors d'oeuvre ( ; french: hors-d'œuvre ), appetizer or starter is a small dish served before a meal in European cuisine. Some hors d'oeuvres are served cold, others hot. Hors d'oeuvres may be served at the dinner table as a part of the ...
) or sections) under the guidance of a ''demi-chef de partie'' and are given relatively basic tasks. Ideally, over time, a ''commis'' will spend a certain period in each section of the kitchen to learn the basics. Unaided, a ''commis'' may work on the vegetable station of a kitchen. The usual formal training period for a chef is two to four years in catering college. They often spend the summer in work placements. In some cases this is modified to 'day-release' courses; a chef will work full-time in a kitchen as an apprentice and then would have allocated days off to attend catering college. These courses can last between one and three years. In the , most Chefs are trained in the work place, with most doing a formal
NVQNational Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) were practical work-based awards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are achieved through assessment and training. The regulatory framework supporting NVQs was withdrawn in 2015 and replaced by the Re ...
level 2 or 3 in the work place.


Uniform

The standard uniform for a chef includes a hat called a
toque , wearing the Spanish ''Tocado'', late 1500s. Painting by Sofonisba Anguissola Sofonisba Anguissola ( – 16 November 1625), also known as Sophonisba Angussola or Sophonisba Anguisciola, was an Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissan ...
,
necktie A necktie, or simply a tie, is a long piece of cloth, worn, usually by men, for decorative purposes around the neck, resting under the shirt collar and knotted at the throat. Variants include the ascot, bow, bolo, zipper tie, cravat, and k ...

necktie
, double-breasted jacket,
apron An apron is a garment that is worn over other clothing and covers mainly the front of the body. The word comes from old French napron meaning a small piece of cloth, however over time "a napron" became "an apron", a process in linguistics called ...
and shoes with steel or plastic toe-caps. A chef's hat was originally designed as a tall rippled hat called a Dodin Bouffant or more commonly a toque. Neckties were originally worn to allow for the mopping of sweat from the face, but as this is now against health regulations, they are largely decorative. The chef's neck tie was originally worn on the inside of the jacket to stop sweat running from the face and neck down the body. The jacket is usually white to show off the chef's cleanliness and repel heat, and is double-breasted to prevent serious injuries from burns and scalds. The double breast also serves to conceal stains on the jacket as one side can be rebuttoned over the other, which is common practice. An apron is worn to just below knee-length, also to assist in the prevention of burns because of spillage. If hot liquid is spilled onto it, the apron can be quickly removed to minimize burns and scalds. Shoes and clogs are hard-wearing and with a steel-top cap to prevent injury from falling objects or knives. According to some hygiene regulations, jewelry is not allowed apart from wedding bands and religious jewelry. If wound dressings are required they should be blue—an unusual colour for foodstuffs—so that they are noticeable if they fall into food. Facial hair and longer hair are often required to be netted, or trimmed, for food safety. Bandages on the hands are usually covered with
nylon Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers composed of polyamides (polymer, repeating units linked by amide links).The polyamides may be aliphatic or Aromaticity, semi-aromatic. Nylon is a thermoplastic silky material, ge ...

nylon
gloves.
Latex LaTeX ( or , often stylized as LaTeX) is a software system for document preparation. When writing, the writer uses plain text as opposed to the formatted text found in WYSIWYG, "What You See Is What You Get" word processors like Microsoft Word, ...

Latex
is not typically used for food preparation due to latex allergy.


See also

*
American Culinary FederationThe American Culinary Federation (ACF) was established in 1929 in New York City and is the largest professional chefs' organization in North America. It was the progeny of the combined visions of three chefs' associations in New York City, the Socié ...
*
Auguste Escoffier Georges Auguste Escoffier (; 28 October 1846 – 12 February 1935) was a French chef, restaurateur and culinary writer who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. Much of Escoffier's technique was based on that of Marie-Antoine ...
* ''
Brigade de cuisine (, kitchen brigade) is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, commonly referred to as "kitchen staff" in English-speaking countries. The concept was developed by Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935). T ...
'' *
Culinary art Culinary arts, in which '' culinary'' means "related to cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across ...
*
Celebrity chef A celebrity chef is a kitchen chef who has become a celebrity. Today, chefs often become celebrities by presenting cookery advice and demonstrations, usually through the media of television and radio, or in printed publications. While televisio ...
* Development chef *
List of chefs :''Only those subjects who are notable enough for their own articles should be included here. That may include chefs who have articles in other languages on Wikipedia which have not as yet been translated into English.'' This article is a list of n ...
*
List of pastry chefs This is a list of notable pastry chefs. A pastry chef A pastry chef or pâtissier (; the French female version of the word is pâtissière ), is a station chef in a professional kitchen, skilled in the making of pastries, dessert Dessert () ...
*
List of restaurant terminologyThis is a list of restaurant terminology. A restaurant is a business that prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money, either paid before the meal, after the meal, or with a running tab. Meals are generally served and eaten on ...
*
Personal chefA personal chef is a chef who is hired by different clients and prepares meals in the clients' home kitchens, based on their needs and preferences. Description A personal chef often will meet with a client and customize a multi-meal plan by determin ...
* World Association of Chefs Societies *
Chef (2014 film) ''Chef'' is a 2014 American comedy-drama film Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in particular, t ...


Notes


References

* * * *


External links


Official certification levels of the American Culinary Federation

Chef training and career progression in New Zealand
{{Restaurant workers Culinary terminology Food services occupations Restaurant staff Restaurant terminology