what is a chef really?

Joined May 31, 2003
hi folks,
the other day i was being interviewed by a culinary student and she asked me "what is a chef"? to me that's a hard question, i think i just told her some true to life stories about guys i worked for before. can you guys give me your vision of what a chef should be.



Joined Jun 15, 2003
Wow, there are many thoughs, perceptions and ideas behind what a chef is and what a chef should be.

My perception is this.


1/ A Leader!
2/ A Team Player
3/ Has Eyes all throughout the kitchen & fronthouse.
4/ Can jump in to any station with competance.
5/ Understands all health & safety issues.
6/ Open to new ideas and shares older ones.
7/ Willing to train and to be a teacher of sorts.
8/ Can pull off the magic touch under all circumstances.
9/ Strong sense of organization and timing.
10/ Must have ability to cost and control.
11/ Supportive

I am sure there are a lot more that I have not mentioned, I am sure others will add more to this list.

Chef Hogan
Joined Apr 13, 2003
being a chef means so many things,,, i think real time kitchen experience and work ethic are the two main players in being a "CHEF" . you have to know your clientel not just by food preference but also their cultural differences and culture. being a chef to me is :

love counselor
money lender
bs artist
maintinence worker
and everything else your employees nedd from you, without them you arent a chef,,, you are an extremely overworked cook


Joined Jun 15, 2003
Man, I cannot believe I forgot all those ones, just thought I had to do all these things... ;-)

Great list soussweets...
Guess who had to change the thermal couple in the Garland unit yesterday??
Joined Jan 24, 2003
Clinically insane obssesive
lipsmakinthirstquenchinacetastinmotivatingoodtalki ncoolwalkinfastlivinevergivincoollivin............ chefy
Permanently untanned
Tired & Vague
The happiest man in the world.
Joined Oct 6, 2002
A chef must meet all three criterias

1) Produce great food
2) Management skill
3) Have the inability to clean up after themselves
Joined Oct 13, 2001
A chef is big daddy . Able to do it all and continue to learn and teach at all times . Just call me Dad ! And then ?????????????????
Joined Jan 21, 2002
A chef is everything except.......wait a miinute!

A chef IS everything. S/He is something or someone to everybody they come in contact with. From spouse, parent, friend or lover, to enemy. Who knows. That hat may be one color but the (invisible maybe) title changes from one conversation to the next.
Joined Jun 9, 2003
a chef. the title the status. is something given to quikly in the world today. a chef is a position that is earned. like all the proceeding posting have said. People when some kind of power wants to call themselves chef. it is something you earn by having the it. There is another thing that is going out of the window today. Is training; there is not much training or challenging done like in the past. Most do not push you. To teach the fundamentals to the staff. It is a shame.
Joined Apr 13, 2004
Hmm... I think a chef is someone who is always passionate about food, has many years of hardworking experience, and a knowledge and gift for cooking that is above the norm and incredible organizational skills. I get irked by how freely people apply that title to themselves. I myself am a cook (a really good one) Over the years I've heard people label themselves a chef because they passed the journeyman test or are running a soup and sandwich place or just for working in a kitchen at all. ( the latest self proclaimed chef I worked with asked me stuff like "how long does bread dough rise for? and "does it matter what tempeture the oil is at to fry chicken")? I think like any art you have to spend a long time and work pretty hard to be a master at it .
Joined Apr 14, 2004
I agree. I think the title of Chef should be reserved for those who have had extensive formal training. You study to become a chef because you love to cook/bake. It is only after entering into the work force that all these other duties and responsibilities become necessary evils.
Joined Jun 18, 2003
what is this about extensive Formal training! I have worked with people
with extensive formal training that didnt know the difference between
a zuccini and a cucumber! Not to minimize culinary school-
I think a person who is passionate and creative in their cooking, and has
know-how whether it be, formal or informal, should get the title of chef.
I agree with the others about being a mentor, and a medic and such,
We all have to do a little more than our position implies.
Joined Apr 13, 2004
Hey chefgirlrd! I agree. there's plenty of chefs out there that just worked with good people to learn from and worked hard. You don't have to have formal education (doesn't hurt) but if you're really passionate about it and willing to do whatever it takes to learn you can. I have met people with formal training who were pretty **** unimpressive and conversely people who had no formal training that are brilliant.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
A chef is in my opinion the person in charge of all food production in the kitchen!You are management , the boss or perhaps the owner but you are in charge of this.If you are good you have an income, if not you will find out quickly!Do not revel in the degrees that you can post in your office but remember as cooks or chefs that we are only as good as our last meal my friends! That is all the customer and our bosses ever remember!
Peace , Doug....................
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