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Chef roles in a modern kitchen

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There are a range of great career opportunities for our students after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu London, with success stories that include head chefs, business owners, wine producers, chocolatiers, and even cooking show stars, but it may be difficult to decide what path you want to follow. So this series of careers articles will be exploring the wide range of routes that are available to those dedicated and talented people who have gained a Diploma at the world-leading culinary arts, wine and management school!

Kicking off this careers series with a bang, Le Cordon Bleu London is providing you with an overview of the various roles that are available in a modern kitchen. This is useful for those who may have their hearts set on the hustle and bustle of a hotel or restaurant kitchen, but might not know exactly what that choice entails. Starting with the more junior roles we will explore every part of the kitchen brigade to see how you can climb the ranks to become an experienced and successful chef.

Commis Chef:
After completing culinary training the first role that a graduate is likely to secure is that of a commis chef. This is a junior cook who works in a specific station and reports directly to the chef de partie. When a commis chef gains more experience they may be promoted to the role of first commis, overseeing the other commis chefs within the brigade.

Chef de Partie:
The chef de partie is responsible for the management of a given station in the kitchen, where they specialize in preparing particular dishes, recipes or practicing certain techniques with expertise. In busier kitchens there may also be a demi-chef de partie who works under the station chef, learning the duties and responsibilities that are essential for progression.

The exact title of a chef de partie depends on the station for which they are responsible, which includes the following:

Sous Chef de Cuisine:
The sous chef serves as the intermediary between the workers in the kitchen and the head chef, and is responsible for the smooth running of the kitchen, as they tend not to be fixed to a particular station. Within a large brigade there may be several grades of sous chefs, and the first sous chef may fill in for the head chef in their absence.

Chef de Cuisine:
More commonly known as the head chef, the chef de cuisine is responsible for the overall management of the kitchen which involves supervising staff, creating menus and new recipes, controlling costs, training staff, and maintaining a sanitary and hygienic environment for food preparation. They are usually the face of the kitchen with media and journalists, as the reputation of the restaurant tends to rely heavily on the head chef’s know-how.

Chef Exécutif:
The executive chef is only necessary in very large establishments and coordinates the head chefs of the different restaurants within the same group. The position is more of a business and management role, but the executive chef can be found in the kitchen during special events, for the creation of new menus or preparation for promotions. The executive chef is often looked upon for marketing and public relations activities so that they can maximise sales for the establishment.

So that completes Le Cordon Bleu London’s guide to the various roles that are available in a modern kitchen. If you think that you are ready to take your first step towards a career as a chef, why don’t you have a look at our cuisine courses which will equip you with the skills and techniques that you need to be successful!

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