The Kitchen Hierarchy: Understanding the Brigade System

When dining out, we often marvel at the exquisite dishes laid before us. But have you ever wondered about the magic that happens behind the scenes? Today, we’re taking a deep-dive into the kitchen hierarchy, an integral part of any professional kitchen. We will also discuss how CHEFIN, a premier culinary service, ensures top-notch service by working exclusively with senior cooks.

Chef Mani Bharat working in a commercial kitchen

What is the Hierarchy in a Kitchen?

The kitchen hierarchy, also known as the Brigade System, was introduced by Georges Auguste Escoffier in the late 19th century. He systematised and organised kitchen operations to streamline and improve efficiency. Prior to its establishment, kitchens were often chaotic and disorganized, making it difficult to produce high-quality food consistently. Escoffier, inspired by his military experience, introduced the brigade system to bring order and efficiency to the kitchen.

The hierarchy resembles a pyramid structure with the executive chef at the apex, followed by the head chef, sous chefs, chef de parties, commis chefs, and kitchen assistants at the base. Each role has its specific responsibilities, ensuring a smooth workflow.

The Five Basic Positions in the Kitchen Brigade

  1. Executive Chef: The star of the kitchen, the Executive Chef, often referred to as the Group Chef, is at the top of the culinary pyramid. They manage, plan, and oversee all aspects of food production.
  2. Head Chef: Also known as the Chef de Cuisine, the Head Chef is in charge of day-to-day operations. They are the ones who translate the Executive Chef’s vision into delectable reality.
  3. Sous Chef: The sous chef is the second-in-command and directly assists the head chef. They are responsible for managing the kitchen in the absence of the head chef.
  4. Chef de Partie: Also known as a station chef or line cook, they are in charge of a specific area of production.
  5. Commis Chef: This role is typically an entry-level position where chefs learn about different stations and begin their culinary journey.

Here is a Kitchen Brigade Chart from Fine Dining Lovers that explains all the different levels of positions.

Why is the Kitchen Hierarchy Important?

The kitchen hierarchy plays a crucial role in maintaining order and efficiency in a busy kitchen environment. It ensures clear communication and delineates responsibilities, preventing confusion during service times. It also provides a structured career pathway for chefs, allowing for progression and skill development.

Who is a Senior Chef?

In the context of the kitchen hierarchy, a senior cook generally refers to roles equal and above the Chef de Partie level – such as the Sous Chef and Head Chef.

A Chef de Partie is responsible for a specific section of the kitchen like grill, sauté, or pastry. They manage junior chefs and kitchen assistants within their section and are crucial in maintaining high standards of food quality.

The Sous Chef is the right hand of the Head Chef and often manages the kitchen operations in their absence. They have a comprehensive understanding of every station in the kitchen and can step in whenever necessary.

The Head Chef or Executive Chef oversees the entire kitchen operation, from designing menus to maintaining food hygiene standards. They lead the team and make executive decisions.

At CHEFIN, we understand the importance of experience and expertise in delivering exceptional culinary experiences. That’s why we work exclusively with senior cooks – Chef de Partie and above. Our chefs possess vast culinary knowledge and refined skills honed over years of experience in professional kitchens.

With CHEFIN, you’re not just booking a caterer; you’re engaging a culinary artist who will create a memorable dining experience for you and your guests.

Remember, behind every great dish is a team of dedicated professionals working tirelessly to ensure your dining experience is nothing short of perfection. Next time you sit down to enjoy a meal, spare a thought for the organised chaos that is the kitchen brigade.