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Students Corner



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 system.

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 BRIGADE.

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 Sous Chef.  



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 management.


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 kitchen.

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.


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 skilled craftsmen.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 concerned.


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.


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 cook.


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.


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.

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