The legendary French chef George Auguste Escoffier in his book Le Guide Culinaire defined certain theories of kitchen management that have been adopted by professional kitchens all over the world. Among them is the kitchen hierarchy system known as the Brigade de Cuisine which specifies the types of chefs that are a part of a normal kitchen.
According to this Brigade system the types of chefs are as follows:
- Chef de Cuisine or Executive chef: He or she is the boss in the kitchen. Normally a restaurant or chain has one executive chef. It takes years of training at a culinary academy and decades of experience to reach this topmost level. An executive chef rarely has to cook and their duties are basically administrative wherein they supervise operations, plan out menus and ensure that the kitchen is running smoothly.
- Sous Chef or Assistant chef: The sous chef is immediately below the executive chef and is the person who is directly responsible for food production. Depending on the size of the kitchen there may be one or more sous chefs who are responsible for all the junior chefs and other kitchen workers.
- Chef de Partie or Senior chef: This individual is responsible for a particular type of menu that he or she specializes or excels in. It is his or her duty to direct the preparation necessary for his specific menu.
- Line Chefs or Station chefs: Working directly under the sous chef there are various types of line chefs each responsible for a specific part of a meal.
- Saucier: It is their duty to prepare the master sauces required in food production. It is a very important role and the sauce chef has to be highly skilled since the sauce is a very vital ingredient especially in French cuisine.
- Poissoner: Also called the fish chef, they not only cook all fish and seafood dishes, they also have to do the butchery of his raw materials.
- Entremetier: Vegetables, soups, rice and egg dishes are the responsibilities of the Entremetier or vegetable chef.
- Rottiseur: The chef responsible for roasts or meat dishes and their accompanying sauces is the roast chef or Rotisseur.
- Grillardin: He or she is also called the grill chef and all grilled dishes are prepared by him or her. In smaller kitchens this duty is added to that of a Rotisseur.
- Friturier: The fry chef who produces all the fried items on the menu.
- Tournant: He or she is also called the swing chef and is the one who fills and completes the duties of any station required.
- Garde Manger: Also called the pantry chef is responsible for preparing cold foods like salad, cold cuts, pates and appetizers.
- Patisseur: Or the pastry chef is the one who prepares all the bakery items including cakes, breads and desserts.
- Boucher: Like a butcher the boucher cuts and bones meats and sometimes fish before the chef cooks them
If you are interested in becoming a chef check out the types of chefs a kitchen has, get the necessary formal educational training and then join the kitchen and build up on your experience.
If it is the top job you are aiming for stick on with tenacity. It is a hard line but to the truly interested food enthusiast it can be very fulfilling too.