When can an experienced cook call himself a chef?

1
0
Joined Nov 18, 2020
Politely as I can, a braggart and one with a very large ego, constantly refer to himself as "Chef Brad". He graduated from BCIT (British Columbia) after a 2-year diploma program some 40 years ago. I very strongly doubt that he has a Master's or Bachelor's degree! Chef Brad has worked his entire life as a cook and has joined our group and stated that he has a "Red-Seal" certification, but doesn't have a verification number? He recently stated that it actually was a "Gold-seal" certification... which is totally incorrect! Please tell me about red, blue seals, and the 3 sub-chef units that would make me/us believe he is on the level. This man is dating a good friend and may have narcissistic traits that really concern us. Thank you for any comments or directions on how to verify my/our concerns.
 
2,092
596
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Chef actually means chief in French or the person in charge. So you can be chef forest ranger, chef plumber, etc.
In foodservice, You are a chef when you run a kitchen with a staff and the job includes food costing, scheduling, etc. not just cooking. So technically whatever certifications someone has, if they aren't running a kitchen with employees they aren't a chef.
 
106
52
Joined Apr 29, 2019
while chefwriters literalist definition certainly holds some weight, personally i take a more philosophical approach. I think most people who call themselves chefs are really cooks. I think anyone can be a cook, lots of people are. Its how i identify myself. A cook makes food happen, from your basic comfort staples to doing a bit of a blow out for special occasions and making...say, a multi course, from-scratch meal for family. Being a cook - a good cook - is an accomplishment in itself and something to be appreciated and respected. Our world is nurtured by cooks

what chefs do is more conceptional. Chefs marry cuisines and techniques, and not only just that, but in ways they have explored enough to gain the skills to make *work*. A chef is always adapting and evolving, pushing their boundaries. A chef has an insight into flavour profiles gained by years of experience and wordly knowledge and is therefore able to, as i said before, "marry" particular ideas and concepts with existing cuisines and traditions in ways which not only work but are...well...beautiful?

again this is just me. I dont really see myself as a chef, though sometimes i say it, when it seems easier and more imaginable. You can work in a kitchen for a year separated the heads of frozen squid from the tentacles for the deep frier. Your job title says (commis) chef, but really?
 
754
273
Joined May 25, 2015
Where you are there very well might be educational and experience requirements for being allowed to use the title of chef. Much like here, you can't use the title of engineer unless you have a degree in engineering (or drive a train :))

Unfortunately here, the food service industry doesn't take such things as seriously and anybody can call themselves a chef if they desire.
 
25
4
Joined Nov 9, 2020
To me, it is a person who has been in the cullinary field, back of house, for a number of years to have a well rounded knowledge on how to run a multi-stationed brigade style kitchen, do the human relations side of running a crew of (for lack of a better explanation), Line, Sous, Garde Manger, Prep, Washers and sanitation, cost your food, order the supplies, plan events, do purchasing, know how and when to upgrade facilities, present a positive image of your establishment to the customers, front of house, and owners, etc... Coordinate with FoH, Run the FoH staff through the menu, give pointers... Did I mention training? Biggest part is being the instructor for your BoH (and some FoH) staff, so they know what the standards are and hold them. Rigidly. She (or he) also has to enforce discipline, and usually makes the ultimate hiring / fring decisions for BoH (and again, sometimes FoH). Sometimes, the Exec will run the entire foods operation of 3 or 4 rooms/kitchens in a facility. When they HAVE that knowledge, skill, and ability, it's not a bragging rights, you can sense it in someone.

Food school, while giving you a good background knowledge, does NOT a "Chef" make, no more than having a fresh out of school Bachelors in Business will make someone a Fortune 500 CEO or hedge fund manager. I've been in and out of foods for decades, and while I can do an awful lot of what does a Chef (and (might) pull it off in a small joint) and learned a lot of thsoe skills in and out of kitchens, I wouldn't call myself a "Chef".

Of course, this is all my opinion, but having worked for world class Exec Chefs, some aspiring to Michelin star-dom, you can sense if they have it (or are it), ore are posers.
 
5,448
897
Joined Oct 10, 2005
40 years ago BCIT may have had culinary courses, but its all VCC (Vancouver community collage) now, has been since the '80's, and there are no " masters" or " bachelors" degrees offered, then or now.

The "Red Seal, prior to 2012 in B.C. was comprised of 200 odd multiple choice questions and thats it. After 2012 things really changed and the qualification now has some weight and meaning to it. Never heard of " Gold seal", at least not in B.C., and "Blue seal " is/was only available in the maritime provinces, with a ranking below "Red Seal".

If someone other than my employer insists I call him/her Chef, I try not to have a smart-assey voice and ask :
" So you're Chef? Whats your food and labour cost, if you dont mind me asking?"

There are zillions of words written all dealing with the word "Chef", but basically it all renders down to this:

A cook is judged by what they put on a plate

A chef is judged by how well they manage their resources

By judging I mean if they keep the job or get tossed out, because without an employer you have neither a cook or a Chef

Your guy sounds like s Schmuck, observe him, ask him questions, and don't get too friendly with him.

Hope this helps
 
3,182
633
Joined May 5, 2010
My career spans more than 50 years now. I am a cook and always will be. During my career, I was Chef 3 times.
We have a place here where I live that brought in a "kitchen manager" from the "Applebees'" chain.
The poor guy has no idea how to food cost, breakdown his recipes, weigh, and measure ingredients, yet he's still there and called Chef.
 
2,419
716
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Everybody wants to be called a Chef. Show me the money $$$ I really love how now everyone is an Executive Chef. WOW!! that must come with some big bucks. Chef wasn't good enough Now we have to be Executive Chefs......In my Business it was always my client that liked calling me Chef. Things like when they introduce me to their Corp heads. They would always say, Here's our Chef. It brought a more higher expectation to the quality of lunch that day. People love titles, the thing is you have to live up to them. You need to walk the talk. Walk into any kitchen and you'll know who the Chef is after a few minutes. A Chef carries an air of confidence and control. I remember doing a Catering one time. One of the cooks looked at me and said "You think you know it all" don't you. My answer to him was, you bet your ass I do, some one here has to. I told him he didn't think about this function until he showed up an hour ago. I've been planning this for weeks. There is no making mistakes at this level of your career. When you get here you better know it all. So, IMHO when I felt I should be called a Chef was the day I became a Know it all........ChefBillyB
 
981
212
Joined Jun 23, 2015
Chef actually means chief in French or the person in charge. So you can be chef forest ranger, chef plumber, etc.
In foodservice, You are a chef when you run a kitchen with a staff and the job includes food costing, scheduling, etc. not just cooking. So technically whatever certifications someone has, if they aren't running a kitchen with employees they aren't a chef.
Enough said.
 
2,764
576
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Again food pump, you make a coupla very good points:
"A cook is judged by what they put on a plate
A chef is judged by how well they manage their resources"


"Chef" as I have always claimed, is a vocabulary word. Call yourself the "Queen of Sweeden" if you like. Do your work and get the job done. That's what counts in My kitchen, wherever that may be, at any given time.
 
726
273
Joined Sep 17, 2018
I believe it has to do with your current situation and job responsibilities. I don't think there is such a thing as a "chef" degree from a school or college. I also don't think it's something you carry from position to position. Just because you were a chef once doesn't mean you get to continue using that title at your next job if you are manning a fryer all night.

The only chef that stays consistent between kitchens I've seen is Chef Mike and we all know how bad he is.
 
Top Bottom