The culinary industry has a boundless selection of different career choices. Many pursue the dream of earning the title of Executive Chef, where they will be in charge of all things related to the kitchen. But it takes many working parts (and other chefs) to make up a kitchen that Executive Chefs must understand first. Each chef is just as vital as the next when it comes to running a successful kitchen. Explore the many positions you can hold when working as a chef in a commercial kitchen. Also explore where you might work – restaurants, hotels, and casinos, among other places!
Executive Chef (Chef de Cuisine, Head Chef): The Executive Chef is in charge of everything that has to do with the kitchen. As the “boss of the kitchen,” they normally take care of menu creation, managing the kitchen staff and inventory, and plate design. More often than not, there is only one Executive Chef at a restaurant. Getting to this position takes a lot of experience and formal training from a culinary school, along with working in a real-world environment in the culinary field. The Executive Chef must be able to maintain complete control, as they are essentially responsible for everything that goes from the kitchen to the dining area.
Sous Chef: The Sous Chef is the Culinary Chef, right under the Executive Chef in the chain of command in the kitchen. The Sous Chef has a lot of responsibility and is more hands-on when it comes with dealing with the actual dishes in the kitchen. These micromanagers oversee all the details of how the dishes are being prepared and ensure that everything is being done properly.
Pastry Chef (Pâtissier): The position of Pastry Chef requires one to be an early bird. These chefs get up very early and end their day close to lunchtime. Pastry Chefs (or Pâtissiers) are generally trained in a baking school or culinary program that is designed around baking. Their work is concentrated around breads, desserts and pastries. Pastry Chefs also benefit from having the security of the many job opportunities that are available.
Station Chef (Chef de Partie): Station Chefs are in charge of running a particular section of the kitchen. This type of chef usually manages a small group of workers, or operates independently if the kitchen is small enough. These chefs work under the Sous Chef to make sure all of their stations’ foods are prepared and ready for serving. Station Chefs require extensive experience of working in a kitchen, and are normally third in command under the Executive and Sous Chefs.
Fish Cook (Poissonnier), Vegetable Cook (Entremetier), and Meat Cook (Rotisseur): These chefs work specifically in preparing and cooking the ingredients in their stations.
Saucier: Accountable for the backbone ingredient of most dishes, Sauciers make the sauces. These sauce cooks prepare sauces, stews, hors d’oeuvres, and sautéed dishes to order.
Pantry Chef (Gard Manger): The Pantry Chef (also known as a Gard Manger) is the chef who is responsible for of all of the cold items, from salads and dressings to appetizers and cold sauces. A large portion of their job centers on presentation, making the kitchen’s dishes look presentable.
Line Cook (Commis): The Line Cook is traditionally the entry-level position in the kitchen. The job duties range from setting up stations, prepping food and cooking, to cleaning up. Line Cooks are generally working up on their techniques so that they can advance their positions and responsibilities in the kitchen.
These are only a few positions that you can obtain as a commercial cook. Star Career Academy’s Culinary Programs are designed to prepare graduates for entry-level employment in culinary establishments that include restaurants, corporate dining rooms, hospitals, hotels, and catering businesses. You will learn the fundamentals of food preparation, quality food production and catering through lessons, demonstrations and performance-based training in a simulated employment environment. Our Philadelphia, Long Island, Manhattan, and Newark Campuses all currently offer this program. Turn your passion for cooking into your career and apply now!