The organization of
kitchens will vary, mainly due to the size and the type of the
establishment. Obviously, where a kitchen has hundred Chefs preparing
for banquets for up to 1000 people and a lunch and dinner service for
300-400 customers with a la carte menu, the organization will be quite
different from a small restaurant doing thirty table d'hote lunches or a
hospital diet kitchen preparing diets.
Even when there are two
kitchens of a similar nature, the internal organization may vary as each
Chef de Cuisine will have his own way of running his kitchen. It has
been found most satisfactory in organizing the work of a kitchen to
divide it into "Parties' or "Corners".
The parties system was
perfected by Escoffier and it was the result of studying about the food
production and the recipes allocating tasks to different specialists so
as to help produce the more complex dishes regularly, efficiently and
swiftly. The kitchen was divided into sections, each one of which was
responsible for a particular contribution to the entire food production
In the kind of kitchen
Escoffier organized, the parties system reached the height
of complexity because the
end-products had to be of the highest finish and yet be completed to
order in rapid sequence for a substantial number of customers. A set
pattern was made.
Basically the principles
of kitchen organization represent a standard practice though there are
no set rules for deciding how many sections and how many staff a
particular kitchen requires. Each catering establishment has different
factors to be taken into consideration such as extent of menu, number of
persons to be served and management policy.
A large kitchen, which
caters for a large number, will have more sections than a smaller
kitchen catering for lesser numbers. The number of staff in a section is
determined by the amount of work to be done and importance of the
contribution of the section to the menus and the skill of work. The base
of different kitchen organizations is taken from the Traditional Kitchen
Organization that was pioneered by Auguste Escoffier, the instigator of
the partie or corner system. He had many sections such as grill, roast,
vegetable, fish, sauce, soup, larder, patisseur etc. As everything was
done manually it was necessary but now the sections have become fewer,
because of labour-saving machines, convenience foods and combined
catering equipment (microwave cum convection ovens, etc.), and the
changing of public taste, which seeks simpler menus and meals.
Latest trends are that
the kitchen organizations vary with almost every establishment. In
former times there were specialized large staffs called brigades. The
various sections were being clubbed together to suit the establishments.
Many kitchens use fresh
food, ready to cook and sometimes ready to serve. This speeds the
preparation and cooking times. The kitchens have become smaller and cook
more versatile. New establishments employ less cooks.
The team of cooks and
their assistants under the partie system is commonly called the KITCHEN
Specialists head the
parties and with their assistants help produce complex dishes with great
speed and efficiency. All the heads of the parties come under the
control of the Chef de Cuisine (Head) aided by one or more sous chefs.
In small establishments, head of the larder or sauce section acts as
DUTIES OF KITCHEN STAFF
CHEF DE CUISINE
The Chef carries the full
responsibilities for his kitchen. He must be both cook and
administrator, i.e. as well as being able to cook, an authority on
culinary matters, he needs to be capable of quick service and
maintaining discipline. He must have a strict sense of economy and
efficiency. He should be fully acquainted with the prices, market
trends, commodities in season and customer requirements. His principal
function is to plan, organize and supervise the work of the kitchen.
He prepares a
pre-determined percentage of profit and work in accordance with the
policy of the establishment.
He is responsible for
staffing, selection and dismissal in conjunction with the Personnel
Department. If need be, he should train the trainee cooks.
Modern experts favour
relieving the Chef from the details of purchasing so that he can
concentrate on more important aspects of managing his kitchen and
attending to the actual food production side. Purchasing is becoming
specialized and is vital to the economic structure of the undertaking.
It is done in consultation and co-operation with the Chef.
The Chef is responsible
for the staffing of the kitchen and for the organization of duty
rosters. The Chef concerns himself with the quality of food and its
presentation. He is the departmental head and is responsible to the
The assistant head chef
understudies the Head Chef in all his duties. It is the sous chef who
calls up the order from the kitchen and supervises the service. He is
mainly responsible for the efficient day to day functioning of the
The sous chef supervises
the practical kitchen activities. When the chef is busy and he can make
ad hoc staff changes during the working day to reliever pressure.
In large establishments
there are a number of sous chefs, especially when there are separate
kitchens like grill room, restaurant, and banquet service.
CHEF DE PARTIE
For the different
sections in the kitchen, there is a “Chef de Partie” i.e. roast cook,
larder cook, etc. Each chef de party is assisted according to the
production load, by one or more commis cooks; first, second, third
commis and also trainees. It is sometimes the practice, where long
operating hours apply, for the working period, to be split up between
the chef de partie and his first commis, though the chef de partie is
entirely responsible for his partie throughout the working period.
Alternatively there may be two separate and complete “brigades” rotating
upon an a.m. and a p.m. basis. This system is very much favoured, since
it does away with split duties.
All the Chef de Parties
may be regarded as supervisors or foremen of their sections as well as
CHEF SAUCIER (SAUCE
The sauce cook is usually
the “star” party because it is most complex. The Chef Saucier will be
Sous Chef in the making and will eventually rise to Chef de Cuisine. It
is here that all the sauces, meat, poultry entrees are prepared together
with the necessary garnishes. He prepares his own mise-en-place, for
many items he will receive, steaks prepared from larder, etc. The sauces
prepared must be distinctive but not overpowering.
CHEF ROTTISEUR (ROAST
He is responsible for the
production of all roasts and grills of meat, poultry and game, grilled
and deep fried fish, deep fried vegetables, potatoes and savouries. He
prepares sauces, accompaniments and garnishes for roasts and grills. In
large establishments grilled items are the responsibility of the
grillardin or grill cook. It is usual for the grill cook to work under
the supervision of the roast.
CHEF POISSONNIER (FISH
The fish cook prepares
all the fish entrees and the roast cook deals with all roasts and deep
fired foods. The fish prepared comes from the larder and the chef does
the cooking, garnishing, saucing and the dishing of fish.
The repertoire of fish
dishes and their accompanying sauces is a great experience, and training
and judgment are required from this Chef.
CHEF POTAGER (SOUP
The soup cook prepares
all types of soups, and is responsible for the garnishes accompanying
the soups. The Chef sometimes begins work early, the work of the potager
is important as soup gives an impression of the meal to follow.
CHEF GARDE MANAGER
The larder cook is the
most spectacular and the busiest, because the work is never ending. As
well as feeding the main kitchen with prepared foods for processing it
has to keep the cold buffet supplied. It is a cold section and is the
storehouse of the kitchen where all perishable foods are kept.
He has a wide range of
work to do, as the larder have various subsections such as hors
d’oeuvre, and a salad section, butchery section. The cold buffet work,
sandwiches, canapés are his responsibility also.
The vegetable cook is
responsible for the production of vegetables and potatoes.
CHEF PATISSIER (PASTRY
The pastry cook has
different status but certainly not less than the sauce cook and the
larder cook. His work is specialized and he prepares hot and cold
pudding, cakes, pastries, break etc. He is also responsible for special
display work and the supply to the main kitchen of items of pastry.
CHEF DE BANQUET
In many of the large
hotels with extensive banquet commitments, the brigade will carry a
banquet chef and one or two commis.
The banquet chef is
responsible for organizing the service, co-ordinating with the chefs de
parties, the time and service, numbers for the arrival of various dishes
to the service area. He will further arrange, to what point the dishes
will be finished and make the necessary arrangements to carry out
completion at the service point.
Sometimes this will mean
his having to move his service staff from one service point to another,
i.e. there may be an established banquet service point in the larder,
another in the pastry section, apart from the main service area in the
kitchen allocated for this purpose.
The banquet chef will
co-ordinate with the banqueting manager regarding times, service
numbers, special dishes required and special instructions to the waiters
CHEF TOURANT (RELIEF
He is relief chef de
parties. He takes over a section when its chef goes on leave or has and
off day. Chef is usually a senior, capable commis as he has knowledge of
the various sections.
CHEF DE PETIT DE
JEUNER (BREAKFAST COOK)
He commences his duty
very early. He does not rank as a chef de partie but nevertheless needs
to be of good skill, within limited field. He is responsible for the
complete breakfast service. Afterwards he has to complete his mis-en-place
for the following morning. Sometimes he assists the soup or vegetable
CHEF COMMUNAR (STAFF
In small establishment
the staff food is prepared by different chefs de parties.
In large establishments a
separate section or a separate kitchen prepares the meals. Staff
ordinarily prepares meals for lower or supervisory staff. All the
executives have their meals in restaurants. Wholesome food and
inexpensive meals are prepared.
KITCHEN PORTERS /
The head porter controls
the issue and collection of laundry to the kitchen personnel that is
supplied by the establishment.
Although a lot of duties
of the kitchen porter require little skill, by correct good training,
they become most valuable members of the kitchen brigade.