There are many different types of culinary chefs, with several types often working in the same establishment. While there are also many different types of cooks, the terms "cook" and "chef" are not interchangeable. While cooks work mainly in preparing foods, while often under a chef's direction, chefs have been trained in precise culinary forms and techniques, and are also able to work on more creative aspects in the restaurant through the preparation and presentation of their dishes and through the development of an imaginative menu. Here are the different types of culinary chefs.
- Executive Chef – The most commonly known of the different types of culinary chefs is the executive chef. The executive chef oversees all of the other workers in the kitchen, as well as any other tasks needed. He is basically in charge of the kitchen or back of the house. The executive chefs duties often include developing a menu or menus, ordering and keeping track of ingredients and kitchen supplies, and hiring and training kitchen staff. While the executive chef supervises the rest of the kitchen staff, he may also prepare and cook and likely cooks for special events.
- Sous Chef – A sous chef is another different type of culinary chef. A sous chef is the second in command to the executive chef and also holds a very important role in the kitchen. The sous chef also supervises the other chefs and cooks in the kitchen, while assisting the executive chef with menu planning and ordering ingredients and supplies.
- Pastry Chef – Another different type of culinary chef is the pastry chef. A pastry chef has the duties of creating the dessert menu and the desserts themselves, solely or by overseeing other chefs or cooks.
- Line Chef – A line chef, often referred to as a line cook, is another type of culinary chef (or cook). A line chef oversees a specific section or area of a kitchen, and is proficient in the tasks needed for that section of the kitchen.
- Commis – A commis is basically an assistant or an apprentice. A commis works under the line chefs to learn the proper skills needed. This is the entry level job that most of the different types of culinary chefs begin at.
- Garde Manger – The garde manger or pantry chef is another different type of culinary chef. This chef is responsible for the preparation and creative presentation of any cold item, such as salads and hors d'oeuvres.
While these six different types of culinary chefs are likely the most common in kitchens, there at times, are other types of culinary chefs present in the kitchen, such as specialty chefs who cook one specific type of food or dish.