Becoming A Chef: Specialty Chefs And Their Responsibilities

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When most people talk about becoming a chef, it is assumed their goal is to attain the title of Executive Chef. However, there are many specialty chef positions available to those who have the proper culinary arts training.

If you dream of becoming a professional chef, take a few moments to look over the list below. While small restaurants might not offer all the positions listed, you'll likely find them in many larger restaurants in popular cities such as San Francisco or Miami. Culinary school instructors advise building your skills in the various specialties in order to move up in position and responsibility.

Line/Station Chef - An entry-level position for those just out of cooking school, a Line or Station Chef (also called a Line Cook) prepares one type of food. Vegetable Chef/Cook, Fry Chef/Cook and Grill Chef/Cook are commonly known titles. There are normally several line chefs at each restaurant.

Garde Manger Chef - The Garde Manger Chef requires special culinary arts training in working with cold food preparations. Dealing exclusively with cold sauces, the Garde Manger Chef creates and prepares vinaigrettes and dressings. S/he is also responsible for developing new salsas, pickles, chutneys and relishes. Other dishes are often created to include the sauces or relishes the Garde Manger Chef prepares; for example, swordfish with mango chutney would be a collaborative dish between the Garde Manger Chef and the Executive Chef.

Pastry Chef - Responsible for all the breads, pastries, cakes and confections, the Pastry Chef has a sweet job. As a Pastry Chef, you'll have the responsibility of developing and designing the dessert menu as well as all bread items used by the restaurant. Creativity and an eye for beautiful presentation are must-have qualities.

Sous Chef - The second in command behind the Executive Chef, the Sous Chef is a conductor of sorts. S/he is usually a culinary school graduate with several years of practical work experience under their belt. They finish and/or decorate special dishes or presentations; however, they also have many responsibilities that are not cooking related. A Sous Chef maintains kitchen records, estimates the types and quantities of food that need to be purchased, inspects the kitchen along with its equipment and utensils, and assumes the role of the Executive Chef in her/his absence.

Executive Chef - Normally a cooking school graduate with exceptional experience in all aspects of cooking, the Executive Chef is the final authority in the kitchen. The Executive Chef oversees the kitchen staff and directs the preparation of all food. His/her responsibilities might also entail allocating serving sizes, ordering food and/or supplies and assigning work schedules. The Executive Chef helps create and approve menu items and daily specials.

As you can see, becoming a Chef can mean several different things, depending on your passion, your education and your experience. Not all strive to be Executive Chefs. Those with a love for sweets might acquire culinary arts training with a strong emphasis in pastries in order to later open their own bakery. The possibilities are endless yet are certainly obtainable for those who have talent, passion and a love of cooking.

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About The Author, Mike C
Mike Churchill provides online marketing support for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami. Cooking school applications are currently being accepted. If you have a love of cooking and are in Miami, culinary schoolcould be your next step. Visit us online today at