CHEF

being a chef

Chefs prepare food and coordinate kitchen activities in restaurants, hotels, and other facilities.

Chefs are responsible for the preparation and presentation of food in restaurants, hotels, and other facilities. They are more highly trained than regular cooks and their duties include not just cooking but also budgeting, purchasing supplies, hiring staff, and ensuring that things run smoothly in the kitchen. There are several different levels of chefs in a typical large kitchen. At the top, there is the executive chef, who spends most of his or her time doing paperwork and handling managerial tasks such as hiring and firing staff. It’s the executive chef’s job to purchase food and kitchen supplies, while at the same time attempting to keep costs within the restaurant’s budget. Then there’s the sous-chef, who plans menus, trains new staff, and helps supervise the kitchen. Next are the station or specialty chefs, who are responsible for a particular area, such as desserts, soups, or salads. Finally, there are the cooks, who do most of the actual cleaning, chopping, and cooking. Some chefs are responsible for many of these roles at once. For instance, chefs who work in small restaurants may have only a few helpers. Test kitchen chefs, who develop recipes for televised cooking shows and lifestyle magazines, may work alone much of the time. All chefs ensure their food meets high standards of taste, appearance, and hygiene during preparation. They are also responsible for creating new recipes or dishes, something which may require a great deal of research and experimentation. Chefs may work as generalists or choose to become specialists. In large, expensive restaurants, for example, you often find chefs who concentrate on dessert preparation or on the development of sauces for haute cuisine. Some chefs specialize in a particular country’s cuisine, such as rich French or spicy Indian cuisine. Due to their skillful preparation of traditional dishes and refreshing twists in creating new ones, some chefs have earned fame both for themselves and for their restaurants.

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