WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / In-Depth Articles / Types of Chefs
Types of Chefs

Types of Chefs

Last updated on 10/03/2018

In a busy restaurant, one key factor for success is hiring the right chef. There can actually be various types of chefs operating in one kitchen. That leads us to ask, "What are the different types of chefs?" Read on to learn the difference between the various chef titles and the tasks those chefs perform in a bustling restaurant kitchen.

You may use the following links to navigate to and learn more about a specific type of chef.

Background on Chef Titles

The different chef titles emerged in the 19th century with the creation of the French Brigade System. Chef Georges Auguste Escoffier created this system to provide restaurants with a kitchen hierarchy in order to operate more efficiently. Not every kitchen operates under the French Brigade System, and some positions in the system may be combined depending on the size of the restaurant. However, it has provided a basic outline that restaurant owners can refer to when setting up their kitchen hierarchy and stations.

Types of Chefs

Chefs will generally hold the higher ranked positions in a kitchen. Additionally, a restaurant will usually have managerial chefs and specialized chefs. Each type of chef can cover a variety of different tasks, from organization and training to menu development and recipe creation. Becoming a chef requires years of education and experience, climbing from entry-level positions to the ultimate goal of executive chef.

Managerial Chefs

In managerial chef positions, there is an established hierarchy because these chefs have the most responsibility in the kitchen to ensure the restaurant's overall success. The following roles are listed in descending order.

Chef-Owner (Group Chef)

Three different types of chefs
  • Primary Task: Business management
  • There is only one per kitchen.
  • They are responsible for running the establishment as a whole.
  • They will often work on menu engineering.

Executive Chef (Chef de Cuisine, Head Chef)

  • Primary Task: Kitchen management
  • There is only one per kitchen, leading to high competition for the role.
  • They oversee daily operations, kitchen costs, food preparation, and menu planning.
  • They will often create most of the new recipes and dishes for the menu.

Sous Chef (Second Chef, Under Chef)

  • Primary Task: Team management
  • There can be more than one in a kitchen depending on the size of the establishment.
  • They oversee the details of each dish and oversee the food lines.
  • They are the second in command and will run the kitchen in the executive chef’s absence.
  • They will usually train newly hired chefs and cooks.

Senior Chef (Chef de Partie, Station Chef)

  • Primary Task: Station management
  • There can more than one in a kitchen.
  • They are in charge of specific stations in the kitchen.
  • They are usually specialist on a certain portion of the menu and will ensure that high-quality food leaves their station.
Back to Top

Specialized Chefs

A hierarchy generally does not exist between specialized chefs. Each of them is an expert in their specific field.

Pastry Chef (Patissier)

A Pastry Chef decorating a cupcake
  • Primary Task: Prepare pastries, breads, and desserts
  • They may be in charge of the whole dessert menu.
  • The position usually requires extensive specialized training or the completion of a degree in baking.
  • Depending on the establishment, this position can be equivalent to executive chef.

Sauce Chef (Saucier, Saute Chef)

  • Primary Task: Choose and prepare sauces and gravies for all meal types
  • They may also prepare soups and stews.
  • This is mainly a position found in locations that serve French cuisine.

Fish Chef (Poissonier)

  • Primary Task: Prepare and cook seafood
  • They may also be responsible for acquiring the seafood used in an establishment from a local market or non-local vendor.

Vegetable Chef (Entremetier)

A Vegetable Chef preparing vegetables
  • Primary Task: Prepare and cook vegetables and starches
  • They may also be responsible for some soups and egg dishes.

Meat Chef (Rotisseur, Roast Chef)

  • Primary Task: Prepare and cook meats by roasting, braising, broiling, or other methods
  • They may also be in charge of obtaining the meat from local suppliers and retailers.

Pantry Chef (Garde Manger)

  • Primary Task: Preparing cold food items like salads, cold cuts, hors d’oeuvres, and dressings
  • They will also be responsible for setting up buffet lines and adding centerpieces for an upscale presentation that may include carved and molded ice or fruits.

Fry Chef (Friturier)

  • Primary Task: Cook foods that need to be fried
  • They are mainly needed in fast food establishments.

Grill Chef (Grillardin)

  • Primary Task: Cook foods that need to be grilled
  • They will generally grill meats and sometimes vegetables.

Butcher Chef (Boucher)

  • Primary Task: Prepare cuts of meat for other station chefs to cook
  • They are mainly needed in larger establishments to keep up with the demand.
Back to Top

Types of Cooks

Cooks will usually occupy entry-level positions in a kitchen and experience training from the specialized chefs. They are more likely to cook by following recipes given to them and flow between the different cook positions as needed.

Line Cook (Commis)

Line Cook learning from Sous Chef
  • Primary Task: Cooking where needed and completing an assortment of kitchen tasks
  • They will learn different cooking styles from the specialized chefs in the kitchen.
  • They are usually still in culinary school and getting experience through the position.
  • They may be required to do miscellaneous tasks like plating dishes, taking orders, or cutting vegetables.

Prep Cook (Kitchen Porter, Kitchen Hand, Kitchen Assistant)

  • Primary Task: Responsible for daily food prep and kitchen tasks
  • Their responsibilities revolve around kitchen basics like chopping ingredients, properly labeling containers in storage, and cleaning countertops.

Relief Cook (Chef de Tourant, Roundsman, Swing Cook)

  • Primary Task: Fills in wherever needed
  • They will assist chefs that may be overwhelmed at their stations.

Short Order Cook

  • Primary Task: Prepare quick and simple meals
  • They are responsible for clearing as many order tickets as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of the meal.
  • They mainly focus on making foods like sandwiches and salads.
Back to Top

Working in a commercial kitchen can be fast-paced in terms of daily tasks and upward mobility. Various chef and cook positions are needed to keep a restaurant running smoothly and the hierarchy can look very different from kitchen to kitchen. There are even more restaurant positions and jobs than listed above for the whole establishment to succeed. It is important to keep in mind that becoming a chef requires years of training. Work your way from the bottom up through the different jobs available, find an area you can specialize in, and pursue it with gusto.

Related Resources

Creating a Restaurant Employee Handbook

Writing your employee handbook is critical when opening a new restaurant. It dictates your workers’ behavior and lets them know how the company operates internally. Your employees' understanding of the handbook ensures they know how to properly conduct themselves at work, saves management from answering the same questions over and over again, and legally protects the restaurant if there is a dispute over restaurant policies. With such an important document, it can be daunting when sitting down to write the handbook. You should always consult an employment attorney before you finalize and start handing out your handbook to ensure all legal information is correct for your specific area. Things to keep in mind Employee handbooks are for everyo

How to Hire a Manager For Your Restaurant

Contrary to what the title implies, restaurant owners spend a lot of time away from their business. This kind of structure, known as absentee business, requires managing a restaurant even when the owner is unavailable. That's where a restaurant manager becomes important. This person makes sure all of your operations run smoothly, meaning restaurant manager duties range from equipment delivery to hospitality. General managers are critical to a business's success, and hiring a general manager can be a difficult process. But once you have your hiring process set up, finding the right restaurant general manager only takes a matter of time. Restaurant Manager Duties Determining the exact responsibilities of your manager will help you find the ri

Front of House vs. Back of House

In order for a successful restaurant to flourish, there are many parts that must work together to create a positive experience and end result for the consumer. Understanding the differences between front of house and back of house functions will significantly help your restaurant flow more effortlessly and increase efficiency. Being knowledgeable about the parts of a restaurant, the breakdown between front of house and back of house, along with the specific role of its employees is an important concept to grasp when working in the hospitality industry. You can use the links below to jump to specific topics you'd like to learn about: What is the Front of House? What is the Back of House? Front of House Positions Back of House Positions Commu

Subscribe now for great deals and industry tips! Sign up for our mailing list to have weekly discounts and industry knowledge sent right to your inbox.

From Our

At WebstaurantStore we love sharing our fun! Check out some of our weekly Instagram posts! We might even have a recipe or two to share!

View Posts
Display, merchandise, and serve a delicious variety of ice cream flavors with this Avantco ice cream dipping cabinet! Holding up to 12 ice cream tubs at a time, the unit is perfect for ice cream shops, candy stores, dessert bars, and cafeterias. The frozen storage space beneath the display even provides a convenient place for holding up to 8 tubs of back-up flavors, making it a convenient unit for businesses with limited space. Incorporate delicious beef recipes into your menu with this Knauss Foods 6 Ib. classic dried beef deli knuckle. It's ideal for crafting specialty sandwiches and subs or for putting together a tasty party tray with meats and cheeses. Simply cut it into a fine slice and spread softened cream cheese, worcestershire, scallions, and pepper on one side, then roll it up to create a tasty appetizer that's easy to grab and delicious to snack on. This beef accents any of your dishes with a mildly salty, yet beefy and smoky flavor profile that's especially delicious.â € Create signature cookies, easy pie crust designs, or fondant shapes for your bakery, restaurant, or cafe with this Ateco pineapple plunger cutter. Made of high-impact, food-grade plastic, this plunger cutter is perfect for daily use at your bakery. It's great for cutting, embossing, and pressing out fondant and gum paste decorations. Featuring a whimsical pineapple shape, this cutter ensures consistency of size while shortening preparation time. Fire up the grill and test your skills with these grilling techniques.
Food Service Resources

Tips, guides, & advice

Explore Resources
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • MasterCard
  • Paypal