AskDefine | Define chef

Dictionary Definition

chef n : a professional cook

User Contributed Dictionary

see Chef



From chef de cuisine.



  1. The head cook of an establishment such as a restaurant, club, or wealthy family.
  2. Same as Chief.



The head cook of an establishment such as a restaurant
Same as Chief




  1. head (leader or chief)






  1. boss, chief

Derived terms

Alternative spellings

  • feminine form is sometimes spelled cheffe



  1. chef, head cook




  1. boss; person in charge, person who directly oversees the work being done

Extensive Definition

A chef is a person who cooks professionally. In a professional kitchen setting, the term is used only for the one person in charge of everyone else in the kitchen, the executive chef.

Word history

"Chef" (from Latin caput) is the abbreviated form of the French phrase chef de cuisine, the "chief" or "head" of a kitchen, but in English is sometimes to mean any professional cook, regardless of rank. The title chef in the culinary profession originates from the roots of haute cuisine in the 19th century and it is in the English language translation that the term chef has become a term that describes function or skill over that of rank. Thus every cook is potentially referred to as a chef from the short-order chef as well as the chef in fine-dining.

Various chef titles

Below are various titles given to those working in a professional kitchen and each can be considered a title for a type of chef. Many of the titles are based on the brigade system (Brigade de cuisine), documented by Georges Auguste Escoffier, while others have a more general meaning depending on the individual kitchen. Not all restaurants will use these titles as each establishment may have its own set guidelines to organization. Specialized and hierarchal chef titles are usually found only in fine-dining, upscale restaurants; kitchen staff members at casual restaurants such as diners may be called chefs but are more often called "cook" or "short-order cook."

Chef de Cuisine

Chef de Cuisine ("Head of the Kitchen") is a synonym for the title executive chef. This is the traditional French term from which the English word chef comes, and is more common in European kitchens or those American kitchens which use the classical French brigade system. In some establishments this title is used to designate a chef who is the head chef at one location of an operation that has multiple locations where the corporate chef has the title executive chef.

Expediter or Announcer (Aboyeur)

The expediter takes the orders from the dining room and relays them to the stations in the kitchen. This person also often puts the finishing touches on the dish before it goes to the dining room. In some operations this task may be done by either the executive chef or the sous chef.

Chef de Partie

A chef de partie, also known as a "station chef" or "line cook", is in charge of a particular area of production. In large kitchens, each station chef might have several cooks and/or assistants. In most kitchens however, the station chef is the only worker in that department. Line cooks are often divided into a hierarchy of their own, starting with "First Cook", then "Second Cook", and so on as needed.
Station chef titles which are part of the brigade system include-
Sauté Chef (Saucier) [] - Responsible for all sautéed items and their sauce. This is usually the highest position of all the stations.
Fish Chef (Poissonier) [pwɑ.so.ɲe] - Prepares fish dishes and often does all fish butchering as well as appropriate sauces. This station may be combined with the saucier position.
Roast Chef (Rotisseur) [ʀo.ti.sœʀ] - Prepares roasted and braised meats and their appropriate sauce.
Grill Chef (Grillardin) [gʀi.jaʀ.dɛ̃] - Prepares all grilled foods, this position may be combined with the rotisseur.
Fry Chef (Friturier) [fʀi.ty.ʀje] - Prepares all fried items, position may be combined with the rotisseur position.
Vegetable Chef (Entremetier) [ã.tʀə.me.tje] - Prepares hot appetizers and often prepares the soups, vegetables, pastas and starches. In a full brigade system a potager would prepare soups and a legumier would prepare vegetables.
Roundsman (Tournant) [tuʀ.nã] - Also referred to as a swing cook, fills in as needed on station in kitchen.
Pantry Chef (Garde Manger) [gaʀd mã.ʒe] They are responsible for preparing cold foods, including salads, cold appetizers, pâtés and other charcuterie items.
Butcher (Boucher) [bu.ʃe] - Butchers meats, poultry and sometimes fish. May also be responsible for breading meats and fish.
Pastry Chef (Pâtissier) [pa.ti.sje] - Prepare baked goods, pastries and desserts. In larger establishments, the pastry chef often supervises a separate team in their own kitchen or separate shop.

Commis Chef

An apprentice or (commis) in larger kitchens would work under a chef de partie or station chef in order to learn the station's responsibilities and operation.

Kitchen assistants

Kitchen assistants are usually kitchen workers who assist with basic tasks, but have had no formal training in cooking. Tasks could include peeling potatoes or washing salad for example. Smaller kitchens more commonly have kitchen assistants who would be assigned a wide variety of tasks (including washing up) in order to keep costs down.
A communard would be in charge of preparing the meal for the staff during a shift. This meal is often referred to as staff or family meal.
The escuelerie or dishwasher, (from 15th century French) is the keeper of dishes, having charge of dishes and keeping the kitchen clean.


The standard uniform for a Chef is as follows: Hat, Necktie, Double-breasted Jacket, Apron, Checked trousers and Steel-toe capped Shoes or Clogs. The colour is classically white, but black and other colours are now becoming popular.
A Chef's hat (toque) is tall to allow for the circulation of air above the head and also provides an outlet for heat. The hat will also usually assist in the prevention of sweat dripping down the face. Skullcaps are now becoming more popular however as the traditional tall hats can be both unwieldy and uncomfortable.
Necties were originally worn to allow for the mopping of sweat from the face, but as this is now against health and safety regulations (due to hygiene), they are largely decorative.
The jacket is usually white to repel heat and double-breasted to prevent serious injuries from burns and scalds.
An apron is worn to just below knee-length also to assist in the prevention of burns due to spillage. The safety aspect of this being that if hot liquid is spilled onto the apron, it can be quickly removed to minimise burns and scalds.
Shoes and Clogs are hard wearing and with a steel-top cap to prevent injury from falling objects or knives.
According to hygiene regulations, jewellery is not allowed apart from plain wedding bands.



External links

chef in Danish: Kok
chef in German: Koch
chef in Esperanto: Kuiristo
chef in Spanish: Cocinero
chef in French: Chef
chef in Indonesian: Koki
chef in Italian: Chef
chef in Hebrew: שף
chef in Hungarian: Szakács
chef in Dutch: Chef-kok
chef in Japanese: 調理師
chef in Norwegian: Kokk
chef in Polish: Chef
chef in Portuguese: Chef de cozinha
chef in Romanian: Bucătar
chef in Quechua: Wayk'uq
chef in Russian: Повар
chef in Finnish: Kokki
chef in Simple English: Chef
chef in Swedish: Kock
chef in Thai: พ่อครัว
chef in Chinese: 廚師

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

baker, boss, bwana, chef de cuisine, chief, chief cook, church dignitary, cook, culinarian, culinary artist, ecclesiarch, elder, employer, fry cook, goodman, guru, husband, kitchener, liege, liege lord, lord, lord paramount, master, overlord, padrone, paramount, pastry chef, pastrycook, paterfamilias, patriarch, patron, rabbi, sahib, seigneur, seignior, short-order cook, starets, teacher
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