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Executive Chef: What Are the Roles & Responsibilities of This Kitchen Leader?

Like any other industry, though, the restaurant business has its own set of job titles and responsibilities. But for a simpler understanding, you can divide the restaurant staff into two parts; the front-of-the-house & the back-of-the-house staff.

The former manages customers, their orders & caters to all their needs. While the latter primary manages kitchen operations & inventory. The assignment of a specific position for either two parts is based on their unique set of talents, level of experience, and aptitude for working during hectic schedules.

And a key member of the kitchen staff is the executive chef.

This blog will tell you about the meaning of an executive chef along with many categories of restaurant chefs handling all the restaurant kitchen management duties.

Executive chef is preparing his special dish for the day in white dresscode.
Executive chefs sometimes directly get involved in cooking to prepare their specials.

Who is an Executive Chef?

A “chef de cuisine” or “executive chef” is the head cook in any restaurant establishment or other food serving establishment. This is a senior restaurant management role, thus the candidate must have substantial relevant experience and education.

In addition, he/she is the “head chef,” and is in charge of everything from running the kitchen to showcasing his/her unique brand of culinary expertise.

In most places, “executive chef” and “head chef” mean the same thing. But, in a fairly big fine dining restaurant business, there are two separate employees hired for these two responsibilities. In this case, the executive chef is in charge of restaurant kitchen management and has nothing to do with cooking directly. 

The head chef is in charge of all the logistics in the kitchen, including managing all the cooking, creating a good menu, controlling prices and purchasing things for the kitchen.

Responsibilities of an Executive Chef

As we mentioned before, executive chefs have a managerial role to play in a restaurant. 

  1. Verify that all food meets hygiene and safety regulations.
  2. Write enticing descriptions of food items on menus to increase sales.
  3. Recruiting, leading, and resolving staff issues.
  4. Handling office work, such as communicating with suppliers, inventory management and placing stock orders.
  5. Budgeting and cost-control in the kitchen to maximise profits.
  6. Analysing industry trends to keep the restaurant up to date with the market.
  7. Managing the acquisition, maintenance, and ordering of culinary equipment and cleaning supplies for the restaurant kitchen.

Now that you know the meaning of an executive chef, let us understand what are the types of roles in a typical restaurant kitchen. 

What Are Various Restaurant Kitchen Management Roles?

As was noted before, the executive chef is in charge of administrative tasks, while the head chef is responsible for running the kitchen itself. To fully grasp the meaning of “executive chef,” it is helpful to learn about the various positions that exist within a restaurant’s kitchen.

1. Deputy Chef (Sous Chef)

When it comes to cooking, the deputy chef is always second in command to the head chef. There may be more than one sous chef in a kitchen, depending on the size and structure of the establishment. The head chef and the sous chef may share some responsibilities, although the sous chef usually has more direct involvement. 

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Each restaurant business has a second chef who is responsible for the overall restaurant kitchen management.

Can a station chef be better than an executive chef in cooking?
A higher position does not mean they’re a better cook. Station chefs may know better cooking than executive chefs.

2. Station Chef (Chef de Partie)

It may be argued that the station chefs play one of the most important duties in the kitchen. Each dish served to customers is prepared by one of these chefs. The term ‘station chef’ actually encompasses a wide variety of occupations.

Different restaurant chefs are in charge of different ‘stations’ or types of food. One restaurant chef may specialise in preparing vegetables, while another may focus on preparing meats. There are also dessert, pastry, and sauce chefs in the kitchen. The station chef, also called the chef de partie, is responsible for all of these tasks and more.

3. Prep Chef 

As their job title implies, prep cooks are responsible for preparing meals. They are responsible for many mundane but essential duties, such as slicing vegetables and doing cooking prep.

Two prep cooks adding a final touch before the dish gets served.
Staff management is one of the most important duties of an executive chef.

4. Kitchen Caller 

The individual making the calls to the kitchen is known as the caller. The caller brings the customers’ orders to the respective station chef. They get these orders from the biller & are a connecting link between the kitchen & the dine-in area. During really hectic times, the executive chef may have to take calls.

5. Dishwasher 

The dishwasher is in the final position on the list. Dishwashers run the sanitation machines and clean the plates, bowls, and glasses to speed up service in the dining area. They do the dishes and all the kitchenware cleaning too.

For a restaurant chef to become an executive chef and oversee a culinary staff, he or she must have extensive expertise in the restaurant business and kitchen management. In order to understand and meet the needs of her or his clientele, he or she must be a strong leader with excellent communication skills with deep knowledge of the culinary world and its current trends.

We hope this blog helped you better understand the meaning and responsibilities of an executive chef.

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Kushank Joshi
Kushank Joshi
Kushank is a content writer for Petpooja. He thinks he has a good sense of humour, but he constantly cracks lame jokes while sipping his tenth cup of chai for the day. You can contact him at kushank.joshi@petpooja.com; he's fun to talk to (minus the jokes).


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