I don't want to be called Chef she sais....

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by desdinova, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. desdinova

    desdinova

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    So I own a Catering company.  We do about 500 events (18,000 plates) per year, so I don't know if that's big or small.  I want to refer to my Chef as the Executive Chef (in adverts and introductions, and in professional situations) but she doesn't want to hear it.

    In her mind, Chef went to culinary school.  Now I have read the threads on here about the title "Chef".  Maybe I should just point her here.   While she started as a cook at this establishment over 11 years ago, once trained by the then owner/Executive Chef, she really started running the Kitchen while he went on to other endevours.  She does the ordering, recipes, menus, training, cooking, baking, etc.. She has a couple of assistants as the needs arise.  Our events range in size from at least 10 box lunches, to full service weddings for several hundred, to corporate buffet service for several 1000.   She was a cook, a great cook, long before she started working for the previous owner of the establishment.  She had been in professional kitchens for many years assisting, but at those times it wasn't really her job, she just helped out.   She got hired at our place originally because she was known as such a good cook by everyone.  When I purchased the company a few years ago, it was only going to happen if she stayed on as the chef.  

    Frankly, if ANYONE deserves the title Chef, it's her.   I have danced around it a few times, but as we are getting more and more established and working with other professionals, I want to call her Chef.   If in the kitchen with our staff we'll call her whatever she wants...   it's her Kitchen.... but when we are on an event, or in a networking atmosphere, I almost feel people think I'm not respecting her when I don't call her Chef.  I'll just introduce her as "this is xxxxx, she's in charge of the Kitchen" or something like that.   

    Does anyone have an idea's on how I can coax her into realizing she really is the Executive Chef.  

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    She's a Chef... Boss of other cooks, is what she is. She may not feel she deserves the title but it has nothing to do with going to culinary school. Sure, she is not constantly commanding a whole brigade of cooks but she does the job of a Chef.

    I've always worked in, or owned, or managed smaller companies, so I just kind of had to accept the title over the years as they dragged on and I had gained more responsibility. I was always sort of a "supervisor" of cooks in little operations for years before I would ever accept that I was "the Chef" until my boss started introducing me to banquet clients as "the Chef here". 

    It's your company, call her whatever you want in front of clients. She will accept it as a compliment over time. Or, maybe not?
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    She most certainly is a "chef."  She runs the kitchen.  She does pretty much everything a chef does.  It's not about some degree.  It's not even about how vast someone's experience is.  It's about being the boss of the kitchen.  Of being in charge of that kitchen.  Of handling not only the food aspect the financial aspects the HR aspects and all the other aspects that go with running a kitchen.  That is what being a chef is and by the sounds of it that is exactly what she is doing and as such deserves the title whether she thinks she does or not.
     
  4. halb

    halb

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    There seems to be a lot of misconception these days with everyone thinking you are nobody unless you graduated from some college. In this industry it's what you know and what experience you have that counts and that is what qualifies her for the title of chef. Attending culinary school doesn't grant you that title.
     
  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    She's the chef. As everyone has already pointed out, she's the person in charge of the kitchen. That's what a chef is. 

    I'm a culinary graduate but didn't become a chef until I ran a kitchen. Now I don't run a kitchen so I"m not currently a chef. I still have the culinary diploma, but I don't do the job. 

    She's the chef. 
     
  6. desdinova

    desdinova

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    Thanks for the responses everyone.  I think part of the issue is the previous Chef was kindof oldschool...  and that's all she's seen.   Also, the work she does is so second nature that I don't think she realizes that other people have gone to school and spent years practicing and learning things that she knows off the top of her head or just does without thinking.

    Anyway.. thanks again... I am going to show her this thread and some of the others.    Of course, then she'll want more money....  oh well..  can't win'em all.
     
  7. chefdwilliams

    chefdwilliams

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    school, no school, to me the title "chef" is something other people give you. If you and the other cooks respect her and the work she does, then call her chef.

    I went to school with some cooks that I  wouldn't call "chef' ever, plus I had line cooks with no school experience that I called chef once I saw the work product they had.

    Other then getting an ACF certification, Like I said, chef is something people call you and she sounds like that is exactly what she should be called
     
  8. chefross

    chefross

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    Chef....so you don't consider someone in charge of and managing a kitchen as being called "Chef?"
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Just out of curiousity chefdwilliams, did you give yourself that name, or did others give it to you?
     
  10. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Sadly, ACF certification proves zilch. I'll wait to see how Mr. or Mrs. Certified behaves in the kitchen and under pressure. 
     
  11. chefdwilliams

    chefdwilliams

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    If a person runs a kitchen but doesn't cook at all, to me that is a kitchen manager... 
     
  12. chefdwilliams

    chefdwilliams

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    Early in my career it was my front and back of house that called me chef.

    What i am trying to say is other then an actual certification like ACF, there isn't a chef title. it usually come with time served putting in your dues and what people consider you. To me ANYONE call call themselves a chef, again, IMO its more what people think of you (staff, guests etc) not what you think of yourself.
     
  13. chefdwilliams

    chefdwilliams

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    EXACTLY!!
     
  14. chefross

    chefross

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    I can appreciate that Chef.

    I've worked for "Production managers" in many a food service account, as well as "Kitchen managers" in small chain restaurants.

    Some had actual hands on experience and were simply promoted to the position. In that circumstance they really WERE a Chef... Only the names changed.

    With regard to kitchen managers, they are just that.....they run a kitchen from a management perspective.

    While it may not be necessary to know how to cook, it sure comes in handy when someone calls in sick and manager has to.

    In this day and age, if you work in the food business as a kitchen manager, you're going to have to have extensive hands on kitchen experience BEFORE you can be a manager.

    Not a lot....but enough to give you some idea of what's what.

    And ACF certification depends entirely on the person not that title thing......
     
  15. jimyra

    jimyra

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    I worked in a place and had a kitchen manager in charge.  He was an excellent cook and did his management duties before or after the shift. He title of kitchen manager was because the term sou chef or any other chef title had a higher pay rate.
     
  16. chef brah

    chef brah

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    Of course shes a Chef. if she isnt Chef then I dont know what a Chef is.

    but maybe she feels so because she has been involved more into production instead of working on developing her own style of cuisine and pushing boundaries of menu and experimentation?

    in mainstream media, a Chef is someone whos also a creative or artistically inclined person...thats where the glorification comes in