Kitchen Titles Terminology

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Usage in commerical kitchen titles in professional cookery.

Basically anyone who prepares and cooks for a living is a cook. Traditionally a cook is a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation.

The trade name is cookery.   

Dictionary defination: "The art, study, or practice of cooking".

The technically accurate basic traditional training name for a person training to be a cook is an "apprentice cook"  or employed in an"apprenticeship in cookery"

"Cook" verse "Chef"

Chef derives from the term "chief" or the person ultimately responsible for the staff (Brigade) in a commercial kitchen.

Incorrect usage:  ( Generally accepted by leading artisans)         

         -  An apprenticeship in "cheffery" - is Illogical 

- "I am "cheffing" - doesn't follow
- "I am a chef" - doesn't hold up  and is technically incorrect unless they are actually the manager of a kitchen brigade
- "I am an apprentice chef"  - Is inaccurate as one does not train to be an apprentice chief

Opinion: No one is entitled in the commercial cookery world to call themselves a chef. (Unless in charge of a commercial kitchen) One can be called a "chef" by their colleagues while working as a cook. Chef can also be a designation given to a person by their colleagues to recognise their status, experience and knowledge in cookery.

Correct usage:

- I am a qualified cook (If one cooks or is trained in cookery for a living) - I am a chef ( Only if in charge of a brigade) - I am an apprentice cook.(While training to be a cook)
- I am called a chef by my colleagues (if asked what one does)
- I am a professional chef
- Opinion:  The only technically correct person training to be a Chef is a Sous chef

Classical and contemporary kitchen and cooking titles:


Brigade : The staff that work in a commercial kitchen
Executive Chef : The person responsible for multiple kitchens in one or more properties (If in charge of a single kitchen the correct title is "Chef de Cuisine".
Chef de Cuisine : Head of a kitchen brigade, (also known as Head Chef ) derived from the translation of "Chef" = chief and "Cuisine" = Kitchen (Chief of Kitchen)

Sous Chef : Second in charge to the Chef de Cuisine
Chef de Partie : Section or partie chef.
Demi Chef  : Also known as an assistant cook or third commis.
Commis Cook : Can be an assistant or a recently qualified cook.
Apprentice cook : 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th year depending upon the system and country
Cook : Trained and skilled in cookery, one who has successfully completed an apprenticeship in cookery or a training program.
Kitchen hand  :Kitchen porter or kitchen attendant – Runner or cleaner
Celebrity Chef : A title given to cooks who are well known for presenting cookery advice and demonstrations via mass media, sometimes untrained in cookery and trained in mass communication.

Many classical station terms that referred to partie chefs have now amalgamated, or are rarely used in the changing brigade model.

Boucher : Butcher
Boulangère  : Baker
Communard  : Staff Cook
Chef de garde  : Night chef
Entremetier  : Vegetable Cook - Also known as Légumier
Garde-Manger  : Larder Cook
Grillardin : Grill Cook
Marmaton  : Little used alternative term for commis
Pâtissier: Pastry cook
Plongeur  : Dishwasher
Poissonier : Fish cook
Potager  : Soup Cook
Rôtisseur  : Roast Cook
Saucier  : Sauce cook includes pan fried items


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