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Old 01-05-2009, 02:16 PM   #1
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Cooks hierarchy

Can someone please explain the hierarchy of cooks in a kitchen. I am just curiuos if you start out as the bottle washer(for lack of better terms), how many steps (generall speaking) to get to head chef, and what are their resposibilities.

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Old 01-05-2009, 02:18 PM   #2
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oops, I just found an answer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Chef's Ladder

Chef de Cuisine

This is the apex, the chef whose initials are etched into the silver flatware, and embroidered onto the washroom towels. This chef has the vision, conceives the dishes, imbues the whole restaurant with his/her personality. This would be the person who appears on television. Sometimes, if need be, chefs de cuisine even cook.



Executive Chef

This is a nebulous title, as only the biggest, most famous chefs de cuisine follow themselves with executive chefs. Executive chefs run the whole kitchen when the big boss isn't around and are often employed when a chef has more than one restaurant. They hire and fire the staff, determine costs, revamp the menu, take care of all administrative tasks, interact with the dining room managers, and generally oversee the well-being of the restaurant. In smaller, less flamboyant restaurants, the Chef de Cuisine sees to all this, and an executive chef would be redundant.



Sous-Chef

Next under the Chef de Cuisine or Executive Chef, depending on the restaurant, this chef is always in the kitchen. He/she comes up with the daily specials, takes inventory, watches over the staff, expedites (see Expediter, below), and basically does all the hands-on work. There are sous-chefs of two ilks: those who will soon move on to open their own restaurants, becoming Chefs de Cuisine, and those who will remain as they are, preferring the rhythmic rigors of the kitchen to the bright lights of chef stardom.



Expediter

Generally the sous-chef, the expediter serves as the liaison between the customers in the dining room and the line cooks. He/she makes sure that the food gets to the wait staff in a timely fashion, so that everyone sitting at a particular table is served simultaneously. This job is all about coordination and timing.



Pastry Chef

The pastry chef is like the sous-chef, but reigns over the pastry section, which is usually tucked far away from the heat and bustle of the main kitchen (to protect delicate soufflés, fragile spun sugar, and temperamental chocolates). The pastry section has always been assigned less status than the main kitchen -- possibly because pastry was a traditionally female province (if there were any women in the kitchen at all, you might find them in the pastry section). Fortunately, this is changing.



Line Cooks

The line cooks are the people who actually cook your food. They are divided up, either by cooking technique (saute, grill, etc.), or by type of food (fish, meat, etc.). When the expeditor shouts out an order (they always shout), the line cooks jump to prepare it. Most cooks work up through the line (working every position), before being promoted to sous-chef.



Chef de garde-manger

The person in the garde manger section -- also known as the cold station -- plates all the dishes that do not require heat, such as salads, terrines, and sometimes desserts, if there is no assigned pastry person on the line.
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:50 PM   #3
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this isnt true for every kitchen but that is the clasical structure. even though the pastry chef is usually a different area and has a hiearchy of its own,
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Oh that's very cool to know. I do have a question about this hierarchy though as well...let's say that I wanted to be a sous chef but I didn't have any training/schooling, if I were hired as a dishwasher, how exactly would I work my way up to sous chef? Would they teach me tips and tricks as I work there or what?
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:46 PM   #5
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PS Everyone is jealous of the pastry chef because they are the ones who usually have air conditioning and the rest of the kitchen gets brutally hot at times.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:52 PM   #6
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In our kitchen, if you plan the meal and make the whole thing you are exempt from dishes. If you use help then you help with the cleanup. That way we keep everyone interested in the meal planning process and keep the talk about food going. We really try very hard at our menu planning just to make sure we are all working together.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PieSusan View Post
PS Everyone is jealous of the pastry chef because they are the ones who usually have air conditioning and the rest of the kitchen gets brutally hot at times.

Lol, that's it...I wanna be a pastry chef!
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #8
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I started out at the cold prep station. From there I moved to soups and sides. From there I became the sous chef. From there I became chef manager. From there I became executive chef. I'm currently a director/executive chef with my hands still on the cutlery.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nato View Post
Oh that's very cool to know. I do have a question about this hierarchy though as well...let's say that I wanted to be a sous chef but I didn't have any training/schooling, if I were hired as a dishwasher, how exactly would I work my way up to sous chef? Would they teach me tips and tricks as I work there or what?
Absolutely. You need to express a desire to learn, a capability to learn and free up enough of your time to make yourself available during your shift, without shirking the responsibilities you were hired for.

As a case in point, I've got three days of huge catering events at my job. I'm down a lead cook and while I could hop in to do the position myself, I have other responsibilities. One of my grill cooks spent the day today baking cakes, cooking a few sauces and cooking pasta al dente; all things he's never done before but handled successfully because he wanted to learn and I had the inclination to teach him.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:10 PM   #10
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Oh awesome, thanks VeraBlue, I think I may actually start looking for an official job with cooking now...much much better than graphics will ever be, lol, imho. But that's just me!
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