The Brigade de Cuisine
Late in the 19th century, in London's Savoy Hotel, Escoffier developed the modern brigade system from the structure he learned while serving in the French Army, . He organized the kitchen into a hierarchy of authority, responsibility, and function.
Like an army there is a strict structure with a chain of command - Executive Chef or Chef de Cuisine, Sous Chefs and then chef's de partie's responsible for different departments, and then demi chefs, cooks and comiss below them. This structure is seen in large establishments and variations of it, with more levels of delegation in large multi unit properties and much simpler structures in small fine dining restaurants.
Below is an exhaustive list of the different members of the kitchen brigade system. Only the largest of establishments would have an extensive staff of this size. As noted under certain titles, certain positions are combined into other positions when such a large staff is unnecessary.
- Chef de cuisine (Kitchen chef) - Responsible for overall management of kitchen. They supervise staff, create menus and new recipes with the assistance of the restaurant manager, make purchases of raw food items, trains apprentices and maintains a sanitary and hygiene environment for the preparation of food.
- Sous-chef de cuisine (Deputy kitchen chef) - Receives orders directly from the chef de cuisine for the management of the kitchen and often represents the chef de cuisine when he or she is not present.
- Chef de partie (Senior chef) - Responsible for managing a given station in the kitchen where they specialize in preparing particular dishes. Those that work in a lesser station are commonly referred to as a demi-chef.
- Cuisinier (Cook) - This position is an independent one where they usually prepare specific dishes in a station. They may also be referred to as a cuisinier de partie.
- Commis (Junior cook) - Also works in a specific station, but reports directly to the chef de partie and takes care of the tools for the station.
- Apprenti(e) (Apprentice)- Many times they are students gaining theoretical and practical training in school and work experience in the kitchen. They perform preparatory work and/or cleaning work.
- Plongeur (Dishwasher) - Cleans dishes and utensils and may be entrusted with basic preparatory jobs.
- Marmiton - (Pot and pan washer) In larger restaurants takes care of all the pots and pans instead of the plongeur.
- Saucier (Sauce maker/Sauté cook) - Prepares sauces, warm hors d'oeuvres, completes meat dishes and in smaller restaurants may work on fish dishes and prepares sautéed items. This is one of the most respected positions in the kitchen brigade.
- Rôtisseur (Roast cook) - Manages a team of cooks that roasts, broils and deep fries dishes.
- Grillardin (Grill cook) - In a larger kitchen this person prepares the grilled foods instead of the rôtisseur.
- Friturier (Fry cook) - In larger kitchens this person prepares fried foods instead of the rôtisseur.
- Poissonnier (Fish cook) - Prepares fish and seafood dishes.
- Entremetier (Entrée preparer) - Prepares soups and other dishes not involving meat or fish, including vegetable dishes and egg dishes.
- Potager (soup cook) - In larger kitchens this person reports to the entremetier and prepares the soups.
- Legumier (Vegetable cook) - In larger kitchen this person also reports to the entremetier and prepares the vegetable dishes.
- Garde manger (Pantry supervisor) - responsible for preparation of cold hors d'oeuvres, prepares salads, organizes large buffet displays and prepares charcuterie items.
- Tournant (Spare hand/ roundsman) - Moves throughout kitchen assisting other positions in kitchen
- Pâtissier (Pastry cook) - Prepares desserts and other meal end sweets and for location without a boulanger also prepares breads and other baked items. They may also prepare pasta for the restaurant.
- Confiseur - Prepares candies and petit fours in larger restaurants instead of the pâtissier.
- Glacier - Prepares frozen and cold desserts in larger restaurants instead of the pâtissier.
- Décorateur - Prepares show pieces and specialty cakes in larger restaurants instead of the pâtissier.
- Boulanger (Baker) - Prepares bread, cakes and breakfast pastries in larger restaurants instead of the pâtissier.
- Boucher (Butcher) - butchers meats, poultry and sometimes fish. May also be in charge of breading meat and fish items.
- Aboyeur (Announcer/ expediter) - Takes orders from dining room and distributes them to the various stations. This position may also be performed by the sous-chef de partie.
- Communard - Prepares the meal served to the restaurant staff.
- Garçon de cuisine - Performs preparatory and auxiliary work for support in larger restaurants.
Today, most restaurants use some simplified variation of Escoffier's kitchen brigade. Typically, the executive chef coordinates kitchen activities, sets standards, manages costs, and directs training and work efforts. The sous chef sees that the food is prepared, portioned, and presented according to the executive chef's standards. The line cooks run the stations and prepare menu items according to specifications, aided by assistants and apprentices
The information for this article was obtained primarily from Wikipedia.