Who Does What in a Restaurant Kitchen?
“To me, there’s no great chef without a great team.”
– Daniel Boulud, Chef
According to Gordon Ramsay, a great restaurant runs on “uniqueness,” “passion,” “adrenaline,” “creativity,” and “ambition.” Through the collaboration of various individuals, a restaurant can achieve an ambiance of these characteristics. Similar to characters in a play, each position in the kitchen is crucial to the creation of a dish that customers will never forget. Below are the different positions in a restaurant, starting from the top to the bottom.
The Executive Chef
“A good chef has to be a manager, a businessman and a great cook. To marry all three together is sometimes difficult.”
– Wolfgang Puck, Chef
Also known as the Head Chef, the Executive Chef is the main player when it comes to the kitchen. These chefs are responsible for putting together delicious menus and specials. The quality of cooking that comes from the chef is the level of culinary skills the Sous Chef and Line Cooks must achieve.
As Puck explained in the quote above, Executive Chefs do more than just cooking. They are also responsible for directing the management of the kitchen. Furthermore, it is up to the Head Chef to find ambitious employees with a drive to obtain the highest quality of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If certain employees are not meeting such expectations, it is up to the Executive Chef to replace them. In the end, whatever leaves the kitchen is under the responsibility of the Executive Chef.
The Sous Chef
“To watch a good cook work well on his station is to witness multitasking of the highest order.”
– Michael Gibney, Sous Chef
Individuals that hold this position are not only partners to the Head Chefs, but they are expected to have equivalent culinary and management skills as the Executive Chef. Sous Chefs are also responsible for quickly stepping in at full capacity when the Head Chef is not present.
The Line Chef(s)
“There’s a bond among a kitchen staff, I think. You spend more time with your chef in the kitchen than you do with your own family.”
– Gordon Ramsay, Chef
Line Chefs become the ultimate team in the kitchen. With the Executive and Sous Chef setting standards, menus, and specials, it is up to the Line Chefs to make it happen. Not only are they responsible for efficiency when it comes to cooking each meal, but they are also responsible for crafting every part of the meal to make it flavorful and memorable to customers.
This team can be divided up into different stations depending on the demand of the restaurant. For example, one line chef be over the grill, while another can be over the frying. Culinary Schools provided some examples of different types of line cooks that could be used at a restaurant:
- Grill Chef
- Saute Chef
- Roast Chef
- Fry Chef
- Saucier Chef
The Expeditor & Caller
“Take your time, and hurry up!”
-Candy Argondizza, Chef
While not every kitchen has an Expeditor or a Caller, high in-demand restaurants do, and they are very crucial to the performance of the overall kitchen staff.
The Expeditor is responsible for coordinating and establishing orders to tables and keeps the staff moving in a fashion to where customers can receive their food at the appropriate time.
At busy restaurants, it is quite normal to hear someone yelling orders and timing on meals. That is the Caller’s job. Callers remind individuals what has been ordered, when the food needs to be ready, etc.