Defining The Different Titles In The Kitchen

Our first class session of culinary 101 will answer a subject that many of our ChefTalk viewers have been asking about--what the different positions or divisions of the kitchen are. We will define each of the classical kitchen positions. Not every professional kitchen has a different person for each of these positions (i.e. in smaller establishments often one cook might perform the responsibilities of several different stations or positions).

Chef: The term literally means "the chief" in French. Every kitchen has a chef or executive chef who is responsible for the operations of the entire kitchen. (A commonly misused term in English, not every cook is a chef.)

Sous-Chef: This position means "the under chief" in French. This is person is second in command and takes responsibility for the kitchen operations if the chef is absent.

Chef de Partie: The person in charge of any of the following kitchen positions:

Poissonier: The fish cook--all fish and shellfish items and their sauces.

Rotisseur: The person responsible for roasted items.

Saucier: The person responsible for sautéed items and many different sauces. Traditionally, it is the third person in command, just under the sous-chef.

Grillardin: The grill cook.

Potager: The soup and often stock cook.

Entremetier: The vegetable cook.

Friturier: The deep fry cook.

Garde-Manger: The person who prepares cold savory items Boucher.

The Butcher Commis: The common cook under one of the Chef de Partie. This level of cook comprises the bulk of the kitchen staff.

Tournant: A cook who rotates throughout the entire kitchen where needed (i.e. to replace a sick employee).

Patissier: The pastry chef/cook, often under the direction of the chef.

Confiseur: The candy cook.

Boulanger: The bread cook.