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A sushi chef at work
|Catering college; see European training|
A chef is a highly trained and skilled professional cook who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation of a particular cuisine. The word "chef" is derived (and shortened) from the term chef de cuisine (French pronunciation: [ʃɛf.də.kɥi.zin]), the director or head of a kitchen. Chefs can receive both formal training from an institution, as well as through apprenticeship with an experienced chef.
There are different terms that use the word chef in their titles, and deal with specific areas of food preparation, such as the Sous-chef, who acts as the second-in-command in a kitchen, or the Chef de partie, who handles a specific area of production. The Brigade system is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, many of which use the word chef in their titles. Underneath the chefs are the kitchen assistants. A chef's standard uniform includes a hat called a toque, necktie, double-breasted jacket, apron and shoes with steel or plastic toe-caps.
The word "chef" is derived (and shortened) from the term chef de cuisine (French pronunciation: [ʃɛf.də.kɥi.zin]), the director or head of a kitchen. (The French word comes from Latin and is a doublet with English "chief".) In English, the title "chef" in the culinary profession originated in the haute cuisine of the 19th century. The culinary arts, among other aspects of the French language introduced French loan-words into the English language.
Various titles, detailed below, are 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 de cuisine (or brigade system) documented by Auguste Escoffier, while others have a more general meaning depending on the individual kitchen.
|Sauté chef||saucier||[sosje]||Responsible for all sautéed items and their sauce. This is usually the highest stratified position of all the stations.|
|Fish chef||poissonnier||[pwasoɲe]||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||rôtisseur||[ʁotisœʁ]||Prepares roasted and braised meats and their appropriate sauce.|
|Grill chef||grillardin||[ɡʁijaʁdɛ̃]||Prepares all grilled foods; this position may be combined with the rotisseur.|
|Fry chef||friturier||[fʁityʁje]||Prepares all fried items; this position may be combined with the rotisseur position.|
|Vegetable chef||entremetier||[ɑ̃tʁəmetje]||Prepares hot appetizers and often prepares the soups, vegetables, pastas and starches. In smaller establishments, this station may also cover those tasks performed by the potager and legumier.|
|Potager||Prepares soups in a full brigade system. In smaller establishments, this station may be handled by the entremetier.|
|Legumier||Prepares vegetables in a full brigade system. In smaller establishments, this station may be handled by the entremetier.|
|Roundsman||tournant||[tuʁnɑ̃]||Also referred to as a swing cook, fills in as needed on stations in the kitchen.|
|Pantry chef||garde manger||[ɡaʁd mɑ̃ʒe]||Responsible for preparing cold foods including salads, cold appetizers, pâtés and other charcuterie items.|
|Butcher||boucher||[buʃe]||Butchers meats, poultry, and sometimes fish. May also be responsible for breading meats and fish.|
|Pastry chef||pâtissier||[patisje]||Makes baked goods such as pastries, cakes, breads and desserts. In larger establishments, the pastry chef often supervises a separate team in their own kitchen.|
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