Chef de Partie : Career, Roles & Responsibilities

Published: 11th September 2009
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Also referred to as a 'station chef' or a 'line cook', the Chef de Partie has the responsibility for the food production management of a specific kitchen section. Chef de Partie work in larger kitchens where there are a number of sections to handle and supervise. Each separate section of the kitchen is also known as a 'station', hence the name 'station chef'. Career as Chef de Partie is both lucrative and demanding. A much profitable career, the position of a Chef de Partie also asks for a lot of commitment and hard work. These chefs would require standing on their feet for a longer period in the kitchen area. The work, however, never seems to be boring, as there are always new challenges to meet and innovative management to be done. Each of the sections in a large kitchen come along with their own staff and the Chef de Partie has to shoulder the responsibilities of managing food production in the specific section that they have been assigned.

Depending on the requirements, it happens many times that one single station or section of a kitchen has more than one Chef de Partie. To avoid any confusion while referring to a particular Chef de Partie, they are named 'first cook', 'second cook', 'third cook' and so on and so forth. Generally, one particular station has just one or two kitchen workers at a time. The assigning of the kitchen section to a Chef de Partie depends on their expertise and their areas of specialization. Kitchen that have a big team need Chef de Partie for the smooth functioning of the kitchen work. A restaurant may feature a menu with a variety of specialize food items. Each Chef de Partie, therefore, is responsible to manage the food production area that they are high skilled in.

Career as Chef de Partie happens to be one of the most rewarding in the culinary art. Along with a challenging environment, the career also provides with excellent promotional opportunities. While working at different stations of the kitchen, the Chef de Partie also has the opportunity of proving their managerial skills. The Chef de Partie, with their expertise, skill set and dedication, can also reach the position of Saute Chef, responsible for the management of sauted items in the kitchen. As mentioned above, the Chef de Partie can be stationed at any of the specialized sections in a large kitchen. A larger kitchen can feature many stations that need specialized chefs including a grill chef, a fish chef, a vegetable chef, a pastry chef, a roast chef and a butcher among others.

Saute Chef is the most prominent position that a Chef de Partie can be assigned while managing food production in a large kitchen. Besides the preparation of sauted items, the Chef de Partie (promoted to the position of Saute Chef) can sometimes take up a dual role; they might function as a Saute Chef and a Fish Chef at the same time. As the name suggests, the Fish Chef manages the proper and prompt cutting-cum-preparation of fish and its sauté. The Chef de Partie may take up many roles according to the area of food production they specialize in. As a Roast Chef, the Chef de Partie has the responsibility of preparing braised and roasted meat. While larger kitchens have different dedicated sections for different kinds of food production, small kitchen may require the Chef de Partie to perform two or three roles at one time. For example to the Chef de Partie may be asked to function both as Grill Chef and Fry Chef at the same time. This is generally done in smaller kitchens keeping the economic factor in mind.

Similarly, the roles of a vegetable chef (legumier) and that of a soup chef (potager) can be combined into one, eliminating the need of two different Chef de Partie for the work. This dual combination of the Chef de Parties' role not only expedites the process of preparation, but it also helps smaller kitchen remain with their budget. In high-end restaurants and larger kitchens, however, each of the roles and responsibilities of the Chef de Partie is separate and specialized. Other roles that the Chef de Partie can take up include Saucier, Garde manger, Poissonier, Entermetier, Rotisseur, Pastry Chef, Fry Cook and Tournant and Commis Chef, each employed to manage and work in their specialized area of food production.

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