Kitchen staff jobs: from kitchen hand to executive chef

A kitchen is an engine room of a busy food service organization and it is a kitchen staff that is so vital in ensuring that the food is cooked and presented at its best. Their qualifications, professionalism, a team spirit and devotion to the job are the pledge of the restaurant's good reputation and popularity.

Well-cooked and served food is the guarantee of a restaurant's popularity, prosperity and success. The food is prepared in the kitchen which is the heart of any food service establishment and it is the kitchen staff, in particular their qualification, professionalism, team spirit and devotion to the job, which is indispensable for ensuring that the food is cooked and presented in the best possible way.

The lowest position in the kitchen staff jobs is the job of a kitchen attendant or kitchen hand who works under the supervision of a kitchen manager or Chef du Partie. The kitchen hand prepares ingredients and cleans the food preparation areas.

Kitchen manager is at the head of a small group of kitchen hands. The kitchen manager job involves first of all ensuring safety and cleanness of the kitchen. He/she organizes and supervises the work done by his team and makes sure that the food is prepared at the right quality, the right price and the right time. He also deals with health issues, discipline and recruitment.

The first step in the career ladder of the kitchen staff jobs at a hotel or a restaurant is the position of a Commis Chef. The titles of the job vary as well as diverse duties which in any case include a lot of spade work and simple cooking under the guidance of more mature chefs. Before choosing a particular field of your specialization you should work in different areas of the kitchen to gain priceless experience. The kind of hotel or restaurant, the menu and the price of the food define the type of cooking. Even when there is little preparation, excellent skills are required to make an ideally cooked, well-served dish. Carefulness in weighing ingredients and measuring portions is also vital.

The position requires an aptitude for the kitchen, ability to listen to others and follow instructions as well as to work under pressure in a busy workplace, and certainly interest in food.

Chef De Partie is a senior position among the kitchen staff jobs. Chef De Partie has a practical role being responsible for preparing, cooking and presenting a broad assortment of dishes, with the help of commis chefs. He/she may take part in elaborating new dishes and menus.
Chef De Partie is a French nom meaning "head of the section"; hence traditionally the chef de partie is in charge of a section of the kitchen - e.g. sauces, vegetables, the larder, - assisted by a number of commis chefs. This may be reflected in the job title, e.g. pastry chef, larder chef. But in our time, many food service organizations don't enjoy section-based kitchens or at best they possess just two or three sections only, and if worst comes to worst the kitchen staff operates as just one team. Under such conditions Chef De Partie undertakes a wider range of duties as mentioned above.

Sous Chef is the senior chef de partie who exercises control when the head chef is absent. Duties also involve food purchasing and storage as well as staff increase and coaching.

Responsibility for all facets of the kitchen work rests with the Head or Executive Chef. He/she contacts purchasing companies for food orders, develops menus and new dishes, as well as controls quotidian activities in the kitchen.

The best place to prepare for kitchen staff jobs is a catering college. If you can not afford to take up an academic course then take up the running - start as a kitchen hand and join any training your employer can offer.


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