The Great Hall
What is a "Chef"? The Great Hall: What is a "Chef"?
By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 09:35 am: Edit

Bad timing right now to look for a new sandwich maker, but I put an add in the paper for "Sandwich maker needed. Some exp. req'd. pls fax resume...." I was amazed by what came out of the woodwork.

Four resumes claimed that they were "Sandwich chefs", two claimed that they were "Prep chefs" but the one that had me stupefied was (quote) "I've been cheffing for almost three years now..." Wow, to make a verb out of an honorable profession, now that takes something.

Now, my brother-in-law, who has three dogs claims that the "Chef's choice" brand of dog food is the most economical. And of course there always has been "Chef Boyardee" canned ravioli in the stores, but even my coffee supplier is trying to push his "economy" coffee on me, which is called (drum roll please) "Chef's choice".

So why aren't there any "Doctor's choice" thermometers or bed pans, why aren't there any "Accountant's choice" calculators or income tax software programs?

I feel hurt. I love my profession, but the term "chef" is a very abused word. According to media and advertising a "Chef" is anyone holding or preparing food, preferably with a big poofy white hat. So then, what's a cook? What do you call the guy (or gal) constantly under pressure with food and labour costs and pushing the envelope with creativity, all the while supervising staff, making sure raw product comes in, and respectable finished product comes out? Not romantic enough for the media?
Oh well, enough of this rant, I've got to go back to my "Cheffing"...

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 10:54 am: Edit

After advertising for a Sous Chef a while back I had kid come in and say he was a 'Drop Chef'. "Drop Chef?" I replied, " I have never heard of a Drop Chef."
He went on to explain that he worked at the local Sizzler and that his job was to drop the stuff into the deep fryer.
With every culinary grad and sandwich maker calling them selves chefs, sometime I get sideways looks from people when I say I am a Chef. It can be embarrassing. These days I am just as likely to say "I'm just a cook" as I am to say "I'm a Chef."
When it get down to it I let my cooking and service do the talking.

By Coolbanana (Coolbanana) on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 10:57 pm: Edit

I tend to agree with Cheftim, usually your customers tell you if you are a "Chef" or not. It still cracks me up when in a conversation with someone and they tell me that his/her "insert relation here" is a chef, and I ask where, and they proceed to say someplace like Olive Garden! At that moment I feel my blood pressure rising and feel like going into an hour long lecture on the difference between creative cooking, and cranking out pasta and sauce with a corporate "sauce in a bag" enviroment.But I usually just give them a smile and tell them how nice that is, and question my existance :)

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 01:17 am: Edit

OK Guys and Gels,
First let us define the word "Chef" Do we mean A)any proffesional who manages the day to day operations of a commercial kitchen? or B)mearly the one who happens to be on the line at the time? or C)maybe it is the ones who went through a four year degree course at a recognized culinary arts school or did an apprenticeship and after a number of years (not less than ten) has been recognized as a true proffesional who manages time, product and people and can really cook too and more importantly is adept at putting his/her vision of whatever! into the members of his/her staff?
It seems to me, in my humble opinion that (C) should get the recognition as a "Chef" with a capital C and the others are "chefs" Both of which are distinct from a "cook"

But what do I know? after all I have only been in this proffesion for thirty two years and did the full college and apprenticeship thing in Europe, (I didnt control a brigade kitchen for the first twelve years) even though I was in the top five of my graduating class and won 17 awards in competitions throughout my apprenticeship. I have since gone on to get a masters degree in civil enginering and now design commercial food service enterprizes from the ground up to and including the staff training and even the menu development.
Yet I was considered a and certificated as a "Chef de Cuisine Deplome" at the age of 19 when I graduated from school.( after a four year 12 sation apprenticeship)done at the same time.

Yet now people coming out of a ten month course of some regional cooking school here expect to be able to obtain and do the work of a Chef yet they have no foundation training or even practical line experience on which to base thier claim to the title.

But that is just my two cents worth


By Cvincolorado (Cvincolorado) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 01:20 am: Edit

How about this one. A servers first day on the job and the server training him/her, who knows perfectly well I am the exec chef does the introduction. "This is Chris, he's one of the cooks". Yes I am one of the cooks but I have to deal with alot more than just cooking. Sometimes I would love to be just a cook again. Ski all day, come in at 3:00, prep my station, cook and go home. No worries about food and labor costs, proposals for catered events, costing out menus, inputing invoice after invoice day after day into the computer,accomodating everyones requests for certain days off when making the schedule and having to work an extra day because Joey wants to go see Metallica in Vegas, and everyones favorite INVENTORY. Then again, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I'm hooked!!!

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 04:40 am: Edit

The culinary schools do it to instill a sense of pride.

All that matters is that I know what I am.
Theres no sense getting nervous about something I have no control over. And I wouldn't want control over that anyway.
It does cross my mind sometimes, but I just tell myself to shut the bleep up and focus on work.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 10:06 am: Edit

The job, responsibilities, demands, of a "chef" are ever changing, just like technology today!!!
Do you guys know that 7-11 has a Corporate Chef, so does, KFC, Popeye's, Olive Garden...and many more.
The Chef, depending on the company will have different roles, a R & D Chef has totally different roles then a QSR Chef.
My point here is that yes, "Chef" is a loosely used term today, I believe it is more insulting to "Chefs" then to the general public at large who uses the term. There are some people in industry who still do not know the proper terminology, I have seen many ads asking or looking for a "Head Chef".....what the hell is that?...I alwayst thought that was a position at a house of ill repute!
By the way, I was (am) one of those who cringes when they tell me someone is a Chef at Olive Garden, Friday's or something similar, but you know what?...Olive Garden is doing a great job with Culinary training, it may not always trickle down to the units as fast as we would like it but they are trying!!!!
I believe a Chef is not made by 2, 3, or even 4 years of schools, as those of us who have done this know!!!! takes experience on the job and it is a process, it is not something you go to school for!!!! go to school to get the fundamentals abd theory and, the majority of students fail at that and that is why they never become successful or "Chefs"
My two cents!!!!

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit

The trainer that delivered the obvious slap in the face, should be made to pay, the slower and more degrading the better.
The CIA did instill a sense of pride in their students, deserved or not, but today in that school and the others the build up is marketing and nothing more.
We all know that someone that hasn't earned their bones has little chance in leading a kitchen to success. Those that do, make it in spite of their mistakes, often at the expense of their staff.
"What is a Chef?" I don't care any more. Here in the U.S. the title has been so water down it is almost meaningless. I'm lucky because I doing what I want, plying my trade for a grateful clientele. At this point in my life that is all I want.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 07:29 pm: Edit

I know this one.
Chef's are everything that cooks and the like are not.
I love that "cheffing" thing, and the "drop chef"
I'm gonna have to use that one.
I don't think its so bad for Pastry Chef's.
Except when they ask if I make donuts, and I tell them some things about their family they might not have known.
All in all, we, pastry Chef's may be in a better position than you guys.
Gotta go, time to "sear" the steaks for dinner, what do you think, sauce from a powder or a jar?

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 07:37 pm: Edit

Then there's this,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Cooking..... means carefulness and inventiveness,
willingness, and readiness of appliance;
it means French art, Teutonic persistency,
English thoroughness, and Arabian hospitality;
and also it means the economy of our grandmothers- much testing, NO wasting, and the science of the modern chemist.

From the... 20th Annual Conference of Chrie.

You can do all the dropping in your cheffing you want, but "real Chefs" do the above everyday.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 08:03 pm: Edit

I attended 3 nite classes for pastry cheffing, I also served a 2 day apprenticeship and now I am considering specializing as a custard chef. Does it pay well, I think I ought to be making $40K.

I'm torn between working with corn starch only or going back to school and learning how to make it with cake flour too.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 01:33 am: Edit

Thats good.
Cake flour? did you pass that class?
Makes no difference, you are now proffesionally Cheffing.
Now if you can find a way to make it in the deep fat fryer, we can call you.....

"Custard-Drop Chef,
Cheffing the old fasion way".

Has a ring to it doesn't it

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit

Custard Drop Chef....that's a new position!!!!!
He just comes in to turn the custards over!!!!
WAIT!!!!!....who's going to garnish it?????
The Garnish Drop Chef?????
The ACF is going to go crazy with all these new initials!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 04:16 pm: Edit

I need to update my resume' with this stuff.
what a hoot.
I can drop all sorts of stuff, and now GET PAID FOR IT !!!!!

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 08:11 pm: Edit

Now Chefspike, that 20th annual Chrie piece was very nice, but I gotta dissagree with you on Pastry Chefs having it better. I've got a nice little pastry corner, complete with a reversible dough sheeter, and you should hear some of the questions from "Pastry Chefs": "Is that a pizza press?" "I don't care what it is, I ALWAYS roll my dough by hand..."
Or how about when I've got a special occasion slab cake, one of those $200 jobbies with all the bells and whistles. Get the new "Pastry Chef" to make me a simple 18 x 26 sponge for it, I'll do the rest, and he asks "Where do you keep
the white cake mix? I can't find any..."

Ahh, just blowing off steam I guess. Mind you, I'm definately not wealthy, nor famous, so I guess all I have is ego and a healthy respect for my profession. I do recall, however, in Switzerland no cook's apprentice would dream of calling himself a Chef. At school and at work everyone made sure that you knew that you were an apprentice. Even the hardest-core homecook-- the ones glued to the Food Network channel and who bragged endlessly about their knives, would call themselves "Hobby-Chefs", but never "Chef". As a point of interest, even in the phonebooks most lisitings in Switzerland would go by family name, first name, then profession, then phone #. My Chef, at that time nearing 65 years old, was listed as "Cook" because that was what he apprenticed as,--50 odd years ago.

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit

lmao, you guys crack me up!
Spike, as always... lol

About the only time I call myself "chef" is when I'm at home discussing what to do for dinner w/ the ol' lady. After that headache of a conversation I become "Head Chef" of my house! lmao

What about grill chef?

By Adelie (Adelie) on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 12:41 am: Edit

May I butt in here?

I took a highly unscientific survey among my non-culinary-professional friends, all of whom appreciate good food in whatever form. I asked them how they differentiated between a CHEF and a COOK. This is a summary, and it pretty much aligns with my view.

A CHEF handles the creative end, the recipe and menu development, makes the vision happen, and is responsible for everything that goes out the swinging doors. (In most establishments, s/he also handles personnel, inventory, etc., but ideally, the chef is occupied with creativity, just as the conductor is occupied with the music rather than the fundraising and so on.) It takes time and tempering to go from being a cook to being a chef, and to us, the metamorphosis has more to do with creativity and flair than anything else.

A COOK does the actual work to make the chef's vision real. Which isn't to denigrate the position, but it seems more routinized and less free to create or follow a personal vision.

These off-the-cuff consumer definitions apply only to commercial kitchens, of course; at home, all bets are off!

OK, I'll go back to my corner now.

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:35 am: Edit

Adelie, count yourself very fortunate to have such good friends. This is the kind of understanding I'd like everybody to have when they use the word "Chef". Now, how do we erase the abuse that media has heaped on the word, especially when it appears on dogfood and really schlocky kitchen equipment?

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 12:23 pm: Edit

Once again I am getting a kick out of reading all of your postings. My wife and I have had a few good laughs, Thankyou all, even though I detect the evident frustrations of so many of you who are "Chefs" and have earned that title with years of sweat and thousands of repetitions of the same day in day out slogging over the stoves, fryers, ovens that went into making your transisions from cook to Chef. in the words of the movie line, "Gladiators, I salute you" and much like Foodpump, I marvel at the caliber of Adelie's friends to have made the leap from the average dullards conception of what a "Chef" is.
This is especialy true here in the USA where the job discription of chef is the same as chef and is considered just that, a job, and not the chosen proffesion that we "Chef's" know it to be.

And as for the life of pastry chefs/bakers being easier to qualify, all I can say is, after over 30 years in this proffesion, I as an executive chef of many kitchens have held only the highest regard for true "Pastry Chefs", they are the pinicle of what we all do, magage the organic chemistry and present the finished product with the utmost in artistry.

Keep up this posting and we will all benifit from it.

By Cvincolorado (Cvincolorado) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 01:41 am: Edit

Here's a good one. The other day a guy calls me on the phone and asks if I have any positions open. He tells me he has been a sous chef at a few different places over the years. He comes in to meet me with his resume in hand. As I am looking it over I notice he has listed his title as Sue Chef. I thought maybe he made a typo. Then down the page another job listed a Sue Chef. Then, to top it off, as I am looking over his letter of reference from his last job it says he was a "efficent and competent Sue Chef". I am guessing he wrote that letter himself. Poor guy is probably wondering why nobody is calling him back for a second interview. And no,I didn't have the heart to tell him he needed to redo his resume.

By Chef_Mars (Chef_Mars) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 08:35 am: Edit

To all of my old friends here who I am sure mourn my absence, below is a post I made on the Chef2Chef Culianry Portal. Also, I still stronly contend that a chef is not an artist...that a pretty plate of food does not an artist make. I see more humbling beauty in a scatter of fall leaves on a curbside than any dish I have ever seen or pictured in print.
Chef is a title you can rightfully claim after working 20 years as a cook and not before. Oh yes, they will tell you in culinary school that when you graduate you are a chef of some sort, but it is a lie. There is too much that needs to be learned through experience in our craft to be able to do it in less than 20 years. Call yourself a chef, no problem but until you hit the 20 year mark you will lack the knowledge, most of which is only attainable on the "killing floor".
We are after all, part of man's second if not oldest craft and trade in the world, exchanging food and shelter for compensation.
"I think 90 percent of the people who call themselves chefs are not truly chefs. They may be very fine cooks but a great chef is someone who knows the whole thing" __ Ella Brennan, Partner, Commanders Palace, New Orleans
"To the recent grads of a culinary school, have patience, because if you don't pay your dues you're gonna pay the price." __ The Underground Chef - Notes From Maggie's Farm"
Culinarily Yours,
Chef Mars

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 11:14 am: Edit

With all due respect Chef Mars, while I do not contest your definition of a Chef, to say that a chef is not an artist is more a misunderstanding of what is art than what is a Chef.

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit

Chef Mars!!!
Good God man, have you never seen the art work of the Chef Garde Manger? with all of the ice and vegetable & fruit sculptures, or the pastry/confectioner Chefs who can work magic with pastry, breads or hot sugar and food colorings? If this alone is not "ART", what is art in your opinion? Yes, any cook can be taught to present a plate with visual attractions, but is not the Chef who designed that presentation in the first place also an artist? why do we have many trade magazines that feature the artistry of food and its presentation?

I do agree that the vast majority of newly graduated cooks of our culinary academies lack the skills or experience to be recognized as "Chefs" but there are many talented and driven youngsters who can be Chefs within ten or so years and not only after 20, time is not the facture, after all have we "chefs" not seen many an old timer with 15 or 25 years experience never have the skills to actually run a kitchen? it takes at least all five of these following atributes to become a "Chef" (product management, personnel management, time management and yes, good cooking skills and the ability to impart that knowledge to others.

I feel that you have become somewhat jaded over the years.

By Tamsin (Tamsin) on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 02:46 am: Edit

In regards to one of the above comments from Chef Mars that "Chef is a title you can rightfully claim after working 20 years as a cook and not before".

I've been working now for about 10 years in the industry, completed my apprentichesip (yes all 4 years of it) have worked in 5 star hotels, was a Chef de Partie in one of the most respected hotels in Canada, currently run my own business and yes I would regard myself as a chef. Ok yes I will admit that I still have alot to learn, don't we all? This is a changing industry, I have worked with many chefs that have 20, 30 years experience and I will admit that they are amazing, but I've also worked with some who are but are ••••, use all the old ways, don't want to learn anything and are total bastards. But there are different degrees of what a chef is (like most industrys), no I wouldn't put myself in the same league as someone who has worked for 50 years in the industry, or someone who is a exec chef of a large hotel with culinary gold medals, but if we don't think of a person who is young and talented already progressed within the industry as a "young" chef what then?

I will admit that now there are alot of apprentices coming out of these colleges (I know the PEI culinary school alot of those kids can't cook to save their life) and regard themselves because they have a piece of paper as a chef, oh I have to laugh when some of the women come into the kitchen with full make-up and designer boots with high heels. But when you have put in the long hours, get treated like crap, create new dishes/menus, organise a team of up to 14 chefs, do the ordering, and basically make sure that the kitchen doesn't burn down, I feel that you have the right be called a chef.

My other thought is that I believe that there are alot of chefs with egos out there, but to be a good chef (and to be a chef in my regard) you treat all your staff, whether a kitchenhand or a sous chef with respect them to express their ideas and thoughts which leads them into becoming great chefs in their own right.

I'm sure people are going to argue with what I have said, but that's just my thoughts on it.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 05:59 am: Edit

There are many people that have been in the kitchen twenty years and are not, cannot, should not or will not be Chefs, social promotion does not work in school or "real life", whatever that is!!!
Presentation is not the art, it is the preparation, yes, some plates may look like works of art but that is something that can be taught to most!
Good cooking cannot always learned, it comes from years of experience and the heart!

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 09:10 am: Edit

Well said Chef Manny!

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 10:29 am: Edit

All of the drop chefs have to realize that to leave this work up to the professionals. I am still belly rolling over that new take on fryer cook is what you can be. How funny. To be serious, A chef requires many talents that in my opinion can only be required through some serious exploration and some real good teachers I know. This trade and skill cannot be learned otherwise. If you think you can read some cook books(but which ones) and go buy a set of knives and a white jacket think again.This skill (1) Takes immense discipline.(2) Takes dedication. (3) Education!!!!!(4)An ACF membership and follow the guidelines.

I agree that we have those guys to fullfill that linecook position. However, instead of making your morning break by the potsink to pickup the dishwasher grab a book on educating yourself in the industry.I have hundreds. Call another chef that is willing to teach you. Find out who has some good knowledge then learn from that person. If you truly desire to be a chef. If these orders are to tall for you. Start looking for another job. Like go work at the bank or something. This industry is not one that a person just decides well I think I am going to go be a Chef today and don't dump your stinking butt in my kitchen looking to grab pay. Big mistake. Well do not say that around me. I have earned, educated and comitted my self to every stinking thing I have ever earned. To me the word here is EARNED! Nobobdy and I mean nobody ever gave me anything. I have fought, spit, kicked my way to the top of this ladder.At an early age, I worked under some really highly trained men, and they were good. I was told. I had the talent to be a top chef. However, it was going to take some hard work to finetune. I was "rough around the edges" So, come on over and knock me off if you want to.

Bryan Airey

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 11:36 pm: Edit

I think Tamsin has very good points, namely: That there are young Chefs, and crusty old Chefs, and most importantly, that learning never stops.
I have worked with cooks who have 30+ years of experience and who show absolutely no respect for their trade, for raw materials, cooking equipment, or fellow workers (guessy-guessy, must be a union shop in another famous Canadian Hotel!)and they remain to this day as cooks, not Chefs. I also believe a Chef must comprehend and respect most representational and abstract forms of Art. While this might not neccesarily make him/her an artist, it definately provides a base for the Chefs to create what they choose to in "edible mediums"

Getting back to the "abuse angle" for the word Chef, Cvincolorado provides yet another hilarious example. It kinda reminds me of a favorite "HERMAN" cartoon where Herman is seated beside a prospective employer who comments: "Strange that the last 3 employers spell "excellent" with two "x's"......

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit

If memory serves me correctly, I seem to recall that in the last episode of the second season of the "reality" television show, The Restaurant, Jeffrey Chodorow was suing Rocco DiSpirito, and Rocco DiSpirito, likewise, counter-sued Mr. Chodorow. Because Rocco DiSpirito counter-sued Mr. Chodorow, does that make him a "Counter-Sue" or "Sued" Chef?

But wait! A person of the Lakota/Dakota(Sioux) Nation might claim to be a "Sioux Chef!('chef' actually means 'chief,' see below)," but other persons of the Pawnee, Chumash, Ojibway, Seminole, Blackfoot, Ute, Eskimo, Navajo, Apache, Arapaho, Cherokee, etc., nations might take offense and want to be called (insert Native American Nation name here)-Chef!
(On a serious note, here is an interesting web page for information about Native American Nations:

Much confusion could be avoided if Americans would simply check the French/English lexicon for the definition of the word "chef" which is misused all too commonly in this country.
The following definitions are as follows according to
Terms Translations
1. chef [n.m.] boss (§ pl.: bosses) [n.], chairman (§ pl.: chairmen) [n.], chairperson (§ pl.: chairpeople) [n.], chairwoman (§ pl.: chairwomen) [n.], chief [n.], chieftain [n.], cook [n.], head (of an organization) [n.], headman (§ pl.: headmen) [n.]
2. chef (de cuisine) [n.m.] chef [n.], cook [n.]

Silly me--I had not realized that the whole time that I had been working as a "fry cook," that I was actually working as a "drop chef!" Now, I must revise my resume all over again! LOL.

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 06:37 pm: Edit

So.....if a fry cook is a drop chef....!? does that mean that someday SpongeBob Squarepants might be recognized by the ACF or even better a CMC!?!?!?!?

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 12:43 am: Edit

By Chefoncall
(4)An ACF membership and)...........
I don't agree with this one.
some of the biggest losers I've met have been in these organizations.
and i really don't know what they offer besides a dinner every month and a basket to put your dues in.
maybe its changed. its been a while.
I see our friend is back....... Andapanda.
Chef Tim, I thought you were going to find him?
and give him a job?
what happend?

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 11:24 am: Edit

Yes it would be better if 'Americans would simply check the French/English lexicon for the definition of the word "chef"' but the term has evolved into it's own meaning here in the Anglo World. So we are stuck with it.

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 04:33 pm: Edit

Dear Fellow Chefs:

After further review of some of the comments made about a true professional chef. I say ok your opinion is your opinion. I think my point is well taken.I think instead of maybe taking cheapshots I would really like to see some real praise for someone that has taken almost the majority of his life to dedicate it to my profession which we have all contributed to on this site and in Culinary school. I ask you Chef. Would you ever command your younger chefs to take such a negative approach to this industry of people that dedicate there life to cooking?. So, therefore. I think we understand, or is this Chef we are speaking of in command, and of what is he in command of.

There is only one way to suceed through education in the culinary world. Read a book, go to work, and treat your employees as you would want to be treated youself. The #1 rule of being a chef. Treat your people fairly.

I also read on the site here last week. If you would not say it in front of your mother do not say it here. I think really any negative feedback should be kept from this website. There might be students reading this. I was one at one time, and I am still learing from the great masters of our world. Sometimes it pays to shut up and let the professionals talk.

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit

In the last episode of my writings I fully explained the concept of hard work to receive the title. Really gentlemen. This is truly a title earned. I will give you a better example. When you are working for a staff that you know nothing about. (1) When you arrive on the doorstep and you are poulage when you get there. Although you have all the fine ingredients for this super mixture. But, really know one does care really that I have 16 degrees. There is a time in every Chefs' career when his employees call him Chef. That my friends is when we make it. When the employees around you recognize the leadership hard work. Also, gentlemen I have lost true dear friends and co-workers. So, there are tears invoved. All of us know the feeling of when day in and day out about that magic. When people unknowingly just call you "Chef".

ok I'm done
Bryan Airey

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 07:06 pm: Edit

On your first posting, you mentioned "I think really any negative feedback should be kept from this website. There might be students reading this..."

After reading all the posts on this thread, I can't find any negative aspects. True there's a certain amount of bellyaching--on my part-- about the abuse of the word "chef". Actually, I HOPE all the future chefs log on and read this stuff, maybe then they'll hestitate for a few years before using the term "Chef".

Maybe, (probably when pigs will fly) just maybe Cvincolorado's "Sue Chef" will read this stuff as well. Of course even if he did, he probably wouldn't recogonize himself, or maybe I'm just being cynical--or realistic.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 08:13 pm: Edit

I think we were having more "fun" than being negative.
theres also the side that if students did read this, and other threads on this web site that they would stop and think before opening their mouths.
or calling themselves something that has no meaning to the rest of us.
drop chef?
how stupid! these are an example of the people that this biz should try to weed out(and I don't mean the rolling kind)
they lack something....lets see,...ummmmmmmm...........oh! I know! EDUCATION!
maybe its not their fault, maybe they were just repeating what they were told. guess they didn't think about picking up one of those books you talked about. and maybe finding out what the right way was(not to be confused with Right Wing, as in Hockey...GO WINGS, yea, like thats gonna happen this year. maybe i could talk to one of those "students" and find out how to get my money back for that Hockey-satelite package I bought, and the easy chair with the stain-blocker for when my Wings score or the extra material on the arms so when they are behind I don't dig my finger nails into the leather) Opps, sorry, I kinda got off on another path didn't I.
in closing, they do make for a good laugh.
maybe those chef's organizations could gather the wagons and start teaching america the correct way to call things. To quote--"when pigs fly"
but I'm adding that drop-cheffing thing on my resume, just to see if some Ex. Chef picks up on it. LOL. another story to tell over a coke.(the liquid kind)

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 11:53 am: Edit

There you have it! EDUCATION is the key, wether it be from skilled instructors in a culinary institute or from on the job training done by skilled and articulate and careing Executive or Head or what ever titled "Chef" there is, to do this all important job.
The bottom line is that if we want to keep attracting and keeping youngsters in this proffession, we all need to be part of the solution and not the problem.
After all we "Chefs" can remember the Bast*&^*s in our past and we also remember the good guys who took the time to really impart knowledge that has stuck with us thoughout the years.
The "Nomenclature" of staff positions needs to be unified and this should be taught by all instuctors and working chefs to the newbies. (Drop chef?) an obvious handle given by some cretin who managed to get into a kitchen managers position with little or no real training or education and then polutes the kids working under him with such drivel(did I spell that right?)

I do not see why the terms used by brigade kitchens for the positions within the restaurant and hospitality fields cannot stand as they are.

If the kitchen in question does not have a certain department such as "garde manger" then there is no postion to miss name is there?
Tell me if you Chef's think the following list sounds about right:

Executive Chef, the buck stops here, has to organize everything and find time to train the cooks and develope new menu items and all the paperwork. Make a profit!

Sous Chef, 1 for each shift to oversee actual operations.

Chef du Partie, lead chef of a section.
Chef du Section, i.e. Broiler, Salad, Fry station, prep, ect.

Line cook of a section able to handle tickets and menu items without extra supervision.
commis cook of a section, (cooks in training)

Pantry Chef

Still Room attendant, (hot and cold drinks served from the kitchen)

The Brigade:

Prep. (basic mise en place for each section)

Hot Line, Ala carte and specials

Cold Line, salads and prepaired desserts


Roast, all ovens


Fry, all fried items

Saute, section of the hot line, fish,meat and veg

Grill, overhead salamanders and broilers

Garde Manger, cold foods and decorative items

Banquete, large volume prep and service for catered events.

Room Service, a small section of the kitchen or pantry for 24 hour service in hotels.

Butcher and/or fish cutter in larger establishments.

Delevery mise en place, to wash, sort and rotate stock of fresh produce and dry stores.

I kmow that some of these positions are only relivent to large hotels or catering companies
but you get the general idea, that each section in an ideal kitchen would have a Chef du Partie, a Line Cook and a Commis in training all overseen by that shifts Sous Chef who reports directly to the Executive Chef, (who should act as the conductor of a small band during the peak service times.) after all it is his/her name and reputation at stake here! and it shows the kitchen staff the servers and the bosses that the Chef is in Charge and on top of things.

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit

That's a good working model, but who's going to "bell the cat" or be the first to approach cooking schools and convince instructors to use the proper terms. Would the AFC give it weight and encourage it's use?

In Canada, it's the same situation. Each Province has it's own interpretation, a journeyman's or "Red seal cook" qualifications differs greatly from one end of the country to the other, with absolutely no intention of forming some kind of a cohesive national standard that would be the norm for say an electrican, plumber, or gas fitter.

Could there be a benchmark, a national standard for a "Chef" that would include cooking, with respect to all 14 methods of cooking, food costing, raw product knowledege, basic health knowledge, basic bookkeeping, and knowledge of national labour and employment standards?

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 11:23 pm: Edit

Oops, sorry I meant ACF, not AFC.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 07:26 am: Edit

You guys skipped shoemaker!!!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 03:42 pm: Edit


By Hotplate (Hotplate) on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 09:07 pm: Edit

Due to a bad economy, bad weather and an owner trying to run two business I (exec chef) got laid off.

I am looking for a similar position, but everyone has their own definition of chef , executive or otherwise. I have interviewed for "kitchen manager"... Some corporate meeting maker doesn't want a chef per se just someone who can manage a schedual of 15 cooks and dishwashers and make turkey gravy from a packet. This because he has 5 restaurants. No, not a good enough excuse for me.
I had an interview today with a placement service...he says I should consider national chains, they pay well and have better scheduals than indepentants. Also said indepenants can't compete with national/local chains...chefs now have no place to go to earn a decent living, etc.
I can not live this LIE. I am sure I am not alone. However one defines "chef" is a serious subject, but how did we alow them to minipulate our identity, beliefs, integrity, our passion, detication, attention, our artisty....
Is there hope for the ones who care? That is how it got me this far in my career to begin with.

P.S. I have heard and used "cheffing" in Europe.

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:51 am: Edit

Ahh, the head hunters, a.k.a. placement services... Like lawyers, headhuntes are a a money making enterprise, and chains will fork out the big fees demanded. Small guys--independants, usually don't have so deep pockets, so they are bad news as far as head hunters are concerned.

With cooking being the second oldest profession in the world, there will always be a demand for creative, innovative, and dedicated chefs. Our profession will always be there, but it's up to us to influence the public's opinion.

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 05:37 pm: Edit

It was an ominous sign(no pun intended) when corporations replaced "Personnel" Departments with "Human Resources" Departments, and one's employment, or career, could be "terminated" simply with the tap or click of a computer key or mouse. We are not "persons" anymore, but merely "human resources(read: expendable!)."

Likewise, it's a deplorable state of affairs when: pastry -chefs/-cooks/bakers are replaced by pasteboard(aka 'paperboard,' or 'boxboard') boxes and low-density polyethylene bags; chefs/cooks are replaced by polyethylene terephthalate gly ((PETG) coated with silicon oxide) retort pouches, and "microwave(oven) jockeys" whose qualifications are not much more than to merely remember which numbered buttons to press corresponding to specific menu items.

Welcome to the food service industry of the 21st Century(Brave New World-Order).

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 05:52 pm: Edit

What are you sniffing dude??????
Get me some!!!!

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

I left Tenaya Loge in Yosemite (at the time a Marriott franchise) when I was replaced in the bakery by Sweet Street and Jon Donair, then on the line with Roundtable Minestrone. Don't tell me it doesn't happen!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

"qualifications are not much more than to merely remember which numbered buttons to press corresponding to specific menu items."

and now we have " Press Chef's "

The Art of the Timer Button.

Thats going on my resume too!

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