How The Chef Hierarchy Works

Usually forms of hierarchy are involved in either the military, the monarchy, or other larger organizations. But did you know that they also apply  to restaurants? You might have heard of Executive Chef McCroakins  announcing a new dish at this place or Frog Greenville just getting promoted to sous chef. But what do these terms mean, exactly? It’s fair game to assume that these titles are there for a reason and it’s not something that’s made up.

In order to better understand how this works, it’s time to introduce the kitchen staff of our example restaurant. Just for example’s sake, let’s call it Ribbet’ on the Edge. There’s Executive Chef McCroakins, Sous Chef Greenville, Station Chef Streeven Frog, and Kitchen Assistant Tad Poleler.

Starting at the top, Executive Chef McCroakins is at the top, the leader of the kitchen. McCroakins will be responsible not only the managing the kitchen staff, but he has control of the menu and is usually in control of the food inventory. Executive chefs might not always be on the kitchen all the time cooking with the other chefs, but Executive Chefs like McCroakins will be thinking two, three, or four steps ahead in terms of the menu and the staff. That’s quite a responsible frog, indeed.

But Executive Chef McCroakins won’t be able to juggle everything on his own. So Sous Chef Greenville steps in and help Chef McCroakins carry out the operations. Greenville is pretty much the eyes-and-ears for McCroakins (not saying that the big frog can’t see or hear), making sure the food is presented correctly and that staff do not fall out of order. Greenville only got hired a little while ago, so this frog will have to wait for a bit until he gets to design his own dish. And it will probably be a long time before t himself becomes executive chef.

And the chefs the sous chef are responsible for? Meet one of the station chefs, Streeven Frog. His friends who work at smaller restaurants don’t have their own station, so they’re stuck as line cooks. But Streeven, this lucky frog. Streeven is a station chef, more specifically responsible for the insect station. He and maybe a dozen others in the Ribbet’ on the Edge are station chefs, and one day aspire to be a chef just like McCroakins. Streeven is lucky that he’s the only chef in his station, as some of his co-workers are First Cook or Second Cook in their respective stations.

And finally, it’s time to reach the little frog of Ribbit’ on the Edge. Tad Poleler. the new kitchen assistant, aspired to run his kitchen since he was a little hatchling. He’s  the only kitchen assistant, so his tasks  range  from washing produce to preparing other similar foodstuffs. He also helps all his superiors as necessary. Even though he’s the lowest on the totem pole (no pun intended there, unfortunately). Poleler chose to go to a culinary college, where he not only received his degree but also got his necessary certificates as well.

Now that you met the staff of Ribbit’ on the Edge, it’s important to note that not all places run like them . The Executive Chef might have its own Head Chefs, or there might be only one line cook. Or, larger restaurants might follow the original hierarchy called the kitchen brigade (called the brigade de kitchen for short).  If you’re the restaurant manager or the owner, it’s ultimately up to you on deciding how you’re going to organize the kitchen system. Needlessly to say, you don’t want 18 chefs in a space about as large as a Subway. So like most large frogs would, it’s wise to plan accordingly.