You want to become a chef? What kind of Chef do you want to be? The cooking shows on TV really took off in popularity over 25 years ago, and even before that with Julia Childs dating back to the 1960’s. With that popularity surge came a widespread interest in cooking as more than a necessity of life. Specialty markets became even more popular. Cook books flew off shelves and cooking at home became an art and not just a necessity. With that interest, came an influx of weekend and evening classes at culinary schools for everyday people wanting to learn. Even more enthusiasm was born for up and coming chefs being developed. Culinary schools that were already known and respected became harder to get in. New schools were developed as well as classes in high-schools and technical schools for cooking classes. The interest has not gone away. More and more people are hoping to break into this competitive field. Even middle school aged kids have classes for them to take.
With all of that as a known comes the question, “What kind of Chef do you want to be?”. A professional chef will be schooled in a wide range of cooking skills and will typically gravitates towards a specialty. What one has a passion for in cooking is usually where the interest in specialty goes. Let’s explore the various Chef specialties ahead.
Types of chefs:
- Executive Chef (or Head Chef)
- Sous Chef
- Kitchen Manager
- Station Chef (Chef de Partie)
- Commis Chef
- Roast Chef (or Rotisseur)
- Grillardin Chef (Grill Chef)
- Fish Chef (or Poissonier)
- Vegetable Chef (or Entremetier)
- Pastry Chef (or Pâtissier)
- Pantry Chef (or Chef Garde Manger)
Head Chef (Executive Chef) – Being a Head Chef means being the boss of the kitchen over all the chefs. It is a coveted roll in the industry. The Head Chef will have many years of experience on how a kitchen is run and will have worked in many rolls before reaching that top post.
The Executive Chef is there to oversee the entire kitchen. They will monitor the quality and standards set for the dishes before going out. Typically, a Head Chef will not be cooking.
Sous Chef – The Sous Chef will usually be the next in command under the Head Chef. A Sous Chef assists in overseeing the kitchen and helps make sure processes and quality of the food being presented is up to the standard set by the Head Chef. A Sous Chef will be homed in the details of the kitchen and is excellent at communication skills to interact with all the kitchen staff.
Expediter – An Expeditor’s position is to check every meal that is leaving the kitchen for quality in presentation and serving instructions before it leaves the kitchen. The Expeditor duty is often taken over by the Head Chef for quality control in smaller kitchens. The larger kitchens will have a designated Expeditor.
Kitchen Manager – AKitchen Managers position will be charged with stocking the kitchen and making sure all the equipment is in working condition. The Kitchen Manager works under the Head Chef and will do the behind the scenes management of bills and keeping order for efficiency.
Station Chef (or Chef de Partie) – A Station Chef will have a lot of responsibility. They are in charge of a specific station area in the kitchen working just below the Sous Chef. A Station Chef will have a team of chefs working on one specialty. Communication skills, timing and an ability to manage people for excellence are important skills for a Station Chef.
Commis Chef – The Commis Chef is an entry level position working along with the other chefs assisting with food preparation. Typically, a Commis Chef will be placed in a specialty along side a Station Chef and may be rotated around the kitchen to gain experience. The Commis Chef will need a strong work ethic for long shifts and hard work. Commis Chefs have the opportunity to show their dedication to their choice of careers.
Saucier – A Saucier specializes in sauces as the name would suggest. Highest quality dining experiences include a variety of sauces made from scratch. Any great Saucier is the person dedicated to that expertise.
Roast Chef – The Roast Chef also referred to as the “Rotisseur” primarily works with preparing the roasted or braised meats for the kitchen. A Rotisseur is often in charge of selecting meats from suppliers for quality control of the meats served.
Grillardin Chef – A Grillardin Chef is the Grill Chef that would be in charge of the team grilling all of the foods. This includes all meats, poultry and even vegetables on the menu.
works mainly with meats, he/she will be responsible for preparing the meats and cooking them.
Fish Chef (or Poissonier) – As in other chef specialties, there is a Fish Chef also known as the Poissonier. This chef has developed an expertise in preparing and cooking various types of fish.
Vegetable Chef (or Entremetier) – A Vegetable Chef as the name notes has a devotion in excellence for cooking vegetables. Often the Entremetier (Vegetable Chef), is charged with the responsibility of preparing the soups and also the egg dishes for the kitchen.
Pastry Chef (or Pâtissier) – the Pastry Chef has attended the culinary school to train in specialized art of baked goods. Pastries, as the name would imply but not limited to the name for responsibilities. Breads, desserts, puddings, cakes, croissants and sophisticated petit fors and other elegant pastries will be a specialty of much-loved Pastry Chef. Chocolates are also one of the beloved specialties of the Pastry Chef.
Pantry Chef (or Chef Garde Manger) – A Pantry Chef has the responsibility of everything that is refrigerated. All ingredients and dishes that are kept in refrigeration need exceptional organization to keep stock fresh and in stock as needed by the entire kitchen. This is the much-needed Pantry Chef’s roll in the kitchen.
Opportunities for Culinary Arts graduates exist in a wide variety of industries. Check out some of the options:
- Private Clubs
- Personal Chefs
- Resorts and Spas
- Cruise Lines
- Country Clubs
- Convention Centers and Catering
In closing, has your interest been enhanced for a career in the kitchen as a Chef? What kind of Chef do you want to be?