What is the general truthful and accurate meaning of the terms “Cook” and “Chef”?
In many instances both titles are inappropriately used throughout the commercial cookery community, and tragically misinterpreted by many in the public arena.
The confusion between the meaning of the title cook and chef is apparent since the many pretenders to fit a self-inflated view of entitlement have hijacked the term “Chef”; and because they believe, the title “chef” brings to the table creditability and respectability.
Anyone who prepares and cooks food for a living is a “cook” and “Chef “is a clearly defined position of responsibility and experience.
The meaning is clearly acknowledged in many dictionaries where “cookery” is described as the art and practice of cooking and a “cook” is defined as a person who has studied the art, and practice of cooking.
The name of the trade is “commercial cookery” and a person who has successfully studied commercial cookery is a cook. While at the same time the designation “chef “is traditionally recognised in many countries as a skilled cook who is the sole manager of a commercial kitchen.
The etymology or historical derivation of the term “chef “ (in several languages and originally a French expression) translates to chief and therefore should be correctly used only to describe the supervisor of a commercial kitchen brigade.
There are some amazing inaccurate descriptions such as:
An apprentice chef is an expression not found as a technical description in any acknowledged dictionary or technical manual. Subsequently, I am an apprentice chef is obviously misrepresentative, as one cannot train to be an apprentice chief.
The technically accurate title of a person training to develop into a chef is an "apprentice cook" or a trainee cook and employed in an "apprenticeship in cookery". They are not an apprentice in cheffery nor employed in the trade of cheffery.
Schools, colleges, and cookery institutes may well be doing more harm than good when advertising they teach students to be chefs.
They do not help the industry, nor their students, and only encourage a continuing misunderstanding of correct titles and career paths. Just as "I am cheffing" when asked what one does for a living is illogical and nonsensical, it is akin to describing oneself as a manager, without qualifying where at, or what you actually manage.
Likewise, describing oneself as a chef is also technically inaccurate of one’s career, unless the person’s role is to manage a kitchen brigade, or is a part of the supervision process in a commercial kitchen.
Chef de partie is a metaphor for a supervisor cook or the cook in charge of a team within a brigade. Chef de parties are still cooks by trade.
Chef de cuisine is a legitimate title when in charge of a kitchen brigade and Executive chefs titled as such, only when responsible for multiple kitchen brigades. One cannot be an Executive chef when responsible for only one kitchen, no matter...