probably an opinion thing

Joined Dec 12, 2000
OK, I'm just wondering how you all feel about this, I've noticed that it is quite a common thing for the public to call anyone who cooks in a restaurant a Chef, I sort of feel that this is a misuse of a proper title, because myself, yes I cook in a restaurant and I do have my trade papers, but I have not written my CCC examinations, so therfore I only consider myself to be a cook. I'll give you an example, I was in a restaurant a while ago, and while the server was at the table taking our order, there was this big noise came from the kitchen, so we kind of looked around, and her response was oh don't worry about that, it was just one of our chefs. Another example is my friend, she has this e-pal, and she mentioned in conversation that he is in the restaurant industry, so I asked what he did, and she said, he's one of the chefs and such and such a place.
let me know what you think.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
I feel the same way - I get squirmy when people call me 'chef', but that's because I know what the title really means, and most folk not in the biz don't know. I think also that in America, the title has shifted in its meaning from the original; in America, we do tend to think of anyone in the kitchen professionally as a 'chef'.

I've never attended a formal schooling but am extremely proud of what I've accomplished on my own, and under the informal tutelage of some very accomplished professionals. Still, I'd never bestow the title chef upon myself. When other people use the title in reference to me, I just try to do a little gentle education.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Is that good or bad? When people you work with start calling you chef then you're a chef. It's more than how well you can cook, whether or not you've taken your exams. It's in how you hold yourself, how you present your knowledge, and how you handle the expectations that the title bestows upon you.

My wife is always called Doctor at work. In a place where half the people she works with have doctorates, very few are addressed as Doctor. Some insist on being called Doctor, some really don't care, and some really have no business being called anything but **** :)

Joined Jul 31, 2000
Do a search on the top of cheftalk. type in (the meaning of the word chef)
Then check out these two threads
"The term chef" by Andrew
and " a word meaning chef" by david simpson.
I hope this helps
Joined Nov 29, 2001
This sounds a lot like calling anything layered a Napoleon. A term with a proper definition becoming a generic "label."

Chef translates to "in charge" so actually, the top dog is the Chef, regardless of where the establishment is, or how upscale it is. Sous Chef (while I don't know the literal translation) is accepted as "next in charge."

XMIL#2 one day said, "I know food, I'm a chef." Keep in mind, this woman was a drunk who did not believe in kitchen timers and spent most of her day clutching a huge tumbler of rum and coke. She burnt everything she ever made (unless it was braised or poached, then she simply overcooked it). I attended a reputable cooking school and I find it hard sometimes to refer to myself as a chef - how could this lunatic possibly define herself with this term???

In my opinion, Chef means a person who makes his or her living running a kitchen. The term should remain pure. If there are 2 people who fill this bill, say a day and a night person, one is the Day Chef and one is the Night Chef. To pin the label Chef on a line cook is inappropriate and definitely compromises the effect on the true Chef.


Joined Nov 24, 2000
I agree! I am currently a LINE COOK not a CHEF in the kitchen that I work in.I think there is a liberal use of the term "Chef" in our little world today and I don't agree
with a generic term for any person in a kitchen that has an apron on as a "Chef".In the past I held the position in a kitchen or two (or three) And that is serious busness..As far as pinning a label on a line cook as a chef by a server, I think sometimes it just happens in the moment and not a serious statement as to who is running the show. Anything to please the guest at the moment.
Bill (I think a lot of you are getting your fethers ruffelled over nothing)

Joined Dec 7, 2001
Dear brothers and sisters,

You may be chefs, but you're still all cooks!

I wouldn't waste my time about titles, just cook.

incidentally, there is a nifty little site that allows for english to be translated into various languages and vice versa.

Chef = Head
Sous = Under

Of course while most Chefs know this, those that i respect the most JUST COOK and don't waste their precious time quibbling.


Joined Feb 6, 2002
Ask any of the top chefs and you know what they will tell you....

"I'm not a chef. I'm just a GOOD COOK." :D

So that is what I aspire to be. Another GOOD COOK.


Joined Nov 24, 2000
Originally posted by ShawtyCat
Ask any of the top chefs and you know what they will tell you....

"I'm not a chef. I'm just a GOOD COOK." :D

So that is what I aspire to be. Another GOOD COOK.
Yup, thats what it's all about.
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