How to address people in the kitchen

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by rpooley, May 5, 2017.

  1. rpooley

    rpooley

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    So I've been helping out in a few restaurant kitchens in Chicago these past few months, just on my off hours, to learn more about cooking, the industry, etc.

    I know the Chef partner is to be addressed as "chef" but below him were three other guys.  Based on other threads here, I think they would be sous chefs (i.e., in charge when the Chef partner was not there).  They would all assign me different tasks to do or give instruction.  To be safe, I just said "yes chef" to all of them.

    I may not have been correct but I felt funny addressing them by their first names, which they all gave me the first time we met.  Did I commit a big faux pas?
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Not really. I'm sure no one noticed and if they did, didn't mind. You can always ask them what they prefer to be called but for general purposes, you didn't do anything wrong. "Yes, Chef" is the all purpose reply to being given instruction. 
     
  3. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Call everyone by name. I have never had anyone in any of my food services call me Chef. This only happens in Schools or kitchens that think they are bigger than life. I wouldn't put to many people on a pedestal. Everyone works hard in the kitchen, If the Chef and Sous tell you to call them Chef then do it. Other wish call them by name. 
     
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I have been called chef a few times in situations that weren't school or kitchens that thought they were larger than life. The first time each individual did it for me, it was just an honest spur of the moment show of respect; and it was appreciated by me. Who doesn't like a recognition of their efforts and hard work?

    As long as it isn't flippant, suck up, or because it a person thinks it is expected of them; I say go for it.
     
  5. rpooley

    rpooley

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    I think they knew it was out of respect. For instance, the second time I made a braised octopus during the week, I was multitasking, got nervous, and forgot to put the spices in a sachet. One of the three walked by, saw it and said "didn't someone tell you to use a sachet?" I felt like a bonehead because I do it all the time at home. I just said "yes, chef". But right after that he reminded me of one of the most important kitchen rules, "we can always fix it".
     
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    sounds like a good crew
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I sorry, but I totally disagree.  Every place I worked, as a cook, I always called the Executive Chef, "Chef", and not by his/her name unless they said to call them by name.  Most Sous Chefs I would call by name, but even then I often just slipped in to saying " yes, chef".  it was how I was trained.  It's a sign of respect.  Fast forward a few years and I have become an Executive Chef.  I never required anyone to call me "Chef".  Some of my cooks did and some didn't and personally I didn't mind, but to this day, even when I am helping out in a buddies kitchen if they ask me to do something, I always respond with "Yes, chef" out of respect for their role in the kitchen as boss.  So my bit of advice to you is continue to the Executive Chef and Sous Chefs, "Chef" and if they wish to be more informal then they will tell you to call them by name.
     
  8. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    This probably more complicated than it needs to be./img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif   I find that some experienced folks and especially the ones with formal training will refer to me as "Chef" but I don't recall ever asking anyone to do it.  The owner calls me Chef because I think it makes him feel like a big shot to have a "real chef"./img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif   If it was a bigger kitchen it would be another matter but I have maybe eight cooks total and four dishers so it's unnecessarily formal to use a title with me.  But that's just me.  If I wasn't the Chef then I'd go by whatever the Chef wanted to be called.
     
  9. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    The owner of a local farm store calls me Chef whenever she sees me but I think it's because she can't remember my name. Lol.
     
  10. rpooley

    rpooley

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    I have to admit that for the first 2-3 days, it was less embarrassing than saying I couldn't remember someone's name and waiting for someone else to call it out.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif