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Types of Chefs and Their Responsibilities

Shruti Bhat
Cooking is an art, and chefs are the artists. These culinary professionals have trained for years to excel in their chosen field of expertise. This story will help you understand the hierarchy in a restaurant kitchen, along with the types of chefs and what do they do.

Did You Know?

Working as a full-time chef is not as easy as it may seem. Chefs are known to work up to 11 hours a day and around 60 hours a week!
We often visit restaurants and enjoy fine dining on many occasions. Little do we know about what goes on behind those kitchen doors. Let's be honest, one person could not have planned, prepared, plated, and sent out hundreds of dishes at a time.
All the dishes that you see around you, being served at each table and even the bread basket that you have gladly polished off, were carefully prepared by various chefs. These chefs are trained professionals who work together like finely-tuned machines, who man their respective stations in order to serve you a delicious meal.
They have the basic know-how about the entire kitchen, yet have their own field of expertise. Let's take a closer look at the different types of chefs and what do they do in the kitchen.

Types of Chefs in a Professional Kitchen

Executive Chef

The word chef, in French, literally means the chief. Every kitchen has an executive chef who is simply known as chef. This is the highest position in the kitchen, which is often found in fine dining and upscale restaurants and establishments.

➤ (S)he plans the menus and assures their quality and standard.
➤ Directs food preparation and cooking activity.
➤ Handles inventory
➤ Comes up with the plating design.
➤ Estimates the food requirement and costs.
➤ Arranges for equipment repair and/or purchase.
➤ Supervises the specialist chefs, sous-chef, and other cooks.
➤ May or may not cook, unless it is for a special guest or occasion.

To become an executive chef, one needs to have attended a culinary school or vocational center, and with relevant experience, one gradually works his way up.


The word sous-chef, in French, literally translates to under-chief. The sous-chef steps into the chef's shoes in his/her absence.
➤ (S)he is responsible for overlooking the line chefs.
➤ Introduces new techniques and equipment to the staff.
➤ Helps plan menus.
➤ Informs the executive chef of any repairs or kitchen supplies that may be required.
➤ May or may not cook.
The sous-chef is often on his/ her way to becoming a head chef. Therefore, they too need to have a formal culinary education, and relevant work experience.

Chef de Partie

Chef de Partie are also known as station chefs, line cooks/chefs, senior chefs. They are assigned with a specific part of the meal. They direct in the prep work of the kitchen. Following are the types of Line Chefs:

Boulanger makes bread and bread products viz. unsweetened dough products, breads, rolls, etc.
Butcher or Boucher
Butchers poultry meat, and at times, even fish and seafood. They also assist in breading the meats.

The confiseur is in charge of preparing candies and petit fours.
The décorateur prepares edible decorations for cakes and pastries. 

The entremetier is in charge of preparing hot appetizers, along with vegetables, soups, eggs, pastas, starches, legumes, etc.
The friturier makes all sorts of fried items, and at times, the friturier has to double up as a rotisseur. 

Grand Manager 
Grand Manager is also known as the cold-foods chef or pantry chef. This chef is in charge of cool foods; viz. dressing, salads, charcuterie items, cold hors d'oeuvres, pâtés, etc.
At times the grillardin is combined with the rotisseur position. He prepares all types of grilled food. 

Patissier or pastry chef is in charge of all sorts of pastries and desserts. S/he supervises other chefs; viz. boulanger, confiseur, and the decorateur.
The glacier makes frozen and cold desserts. 

The poissonnier, or the fish chef, is responsible for all types of fish, including shellfish and their sauces. He often cleans the fish himself.
This chef makes all the soups and stocks needed for the kitchen and on the menu. 

The rotisseur is responsible for all the roasting and braising of the meat. S/he also is responsible of preparing their gravies.
Sauté Chef 
As the name suggest the sauté chef, or the saucier or sauce chef, sautés and makes sauces for various dishes. This is also the highest position of all line chefs.

Other Helping Chefs

Butcher Commis 
The butcher commis work under the chef de partie. These cooks consist of the bulk of the kitchen staff.

Chef de Tournant

Chef de tournant, or relief cooks or roundsmans, or swinging chefs, are the helping cooks. They help at all the stations of the kitchen and assist other chefs in their work. They have the basic knowledge of every aspect and station of the kitchen.
The job of a chef is physically demanding yet extremely satisfying. The harder he works the better he gets at his forte, and the more lucrative a chef's salary becomes. Besides the pay, all the hard work, and years of dedication is often fueled by passion for the art and flair for cooking.