chef Career Center
What is a Chef?
Posted by: Ira Sider, July 07, 2012
In the most basic sense, a chef is defined as a professional who makes food. However, if you ask somebody to define “what is a chef,” you will get a variety of responses. This is because this job title in particular carries a number of variations. People in this profession can work in upscale restaurants or cater large events. They can work primarily as managers in a kitchen, or be the ones who are actually preparing the food each night. The position has many functions, and to define it can be difficult.
The following are some of the features of this varying position.
De Cuisine – This position is also known as the executive of the kitchen. Chefs who work in this role manage the operations and oversee the quality of the food prior to its being delivered to the end consumer. It is up to the person in this role to make sure food is prepared quickly and up to high standards each and every time. He or she is the one to point out bottlenecks and arrange the staffing in the kitchen in such a way that things run as smoothly as possible.
Sous – This is the person who is second in command. The chefs who play this role in the kitchen step up when the executive is not around. They know the ins and outs of the system and are equally in charge of ensuring high-quality food is being delivered to customers.
De Partie – These chefs work at various stations in the kitchen. They are in charge of making sure everything is defrosted, prepared and ready to go for the night prior to the restaurant opening. The professionals in this role are the ones who are most hands-on with the food and are ultimately responsible for making sure that there is as little waste of food that is not prepared well as possible.
Other – Because this profession varies so much, chefs can also consist of people who run a catering kitchen or who perform very specific tasks for a restaurant. Caterers for formal events employ chefs who are there to make food for a mass of people to be served all at once. This takes a different type of skillset due to the difficulty of making large amounts of food that all must remain hot and fresh. There are also niches in the industry, such as professionals who only prepare sauces or cold dishes. These people are still considered chefs, but just have one distinct role instead of a managerial position.
The term chef is very difficult to define because of the number of variations to this job title. However, between all the different varieties, it all comes down to one main definition – someone who makes food and manages a kitchen professionally.