What is a Chef?

Ri'Karia's Plate

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A chef is a person who cooks professionally for other people. Traditionally, a chef is a highly skilled professional cook who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation.

The word “chef” is adopted (and shortened) from the term chef de cuisine , the director or head of a kitchen. (The French word comes from Latin caput and is a doublet with English “chief”.) In English, the title “chef” in the culinary profession originated in the haute cuisine of the 19th century, that introduced many French words into the English language. Today a chef is any professional cook, regardless of rank. In non-English European languages, a “chef” is the head chef; others are “cooks.”

Below are various titles given to those working in a professional kitchen and each can be considered a title for a type of chef. Many of the titles are based on the brigade de cuisine (or…

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