The cook oversees the preparation and cooking of food and meals in hotels, restaurants, canteens, cruise ships, hospitals, etc. In large restaurants and hotels, cooks are organized into teams with different responsibilities:
- Chef saucier or sauces
- Poissonnier or fish chef
- Rotisseur or barbecue chef
- Grill chef
- Friturier or fried chef
- Entremetier or vegetable chef
- Chef tournant or shift
- Pantry chef
- Butcher chef
- Pastry chef
- Second Chef/Assistant Kitchen
Obviously, these are restaurants or hotels of the highest level. Usually, in the kitchens of small/medium establishments, there is a cook and a kitchen help. They are found in almost all kitchens because it is difficult for a single person to cook a complete menu for more than 10 guests.
Chefs and cooks work in the kitchens of all types of food service establishments, from bars to cruise ships to educational centers and hotels. Duties vary depending on skills, qualifications, and position. In general, the duties of a cook are as follows:
Menu planning. Menu planning and food purchasing are usually handled by the Chef de Cuisine. In contrast, cooks in lower-level positions, especially trainees or assistants, prepare food before cooking.
Personnel management. As mentioned earlier, in a small kitchen where there are only one or two cooks, they are the ones who must prepare and then cook all the dishes from appetizers to desserts. In luxury restaurants, on the other hand, the chef may have to manage dozens of employees (cooks and kitchen staff).
Managing cooking times and food preparation. Preparing a dish can take from a few minutes to a few hours, so time management and teamwork are essential.
Completing administrative tasks. Chefs not only oversee the work of their team, but are also tasked with other activities such as accounting and budgeting, staff training, and inventory control.
They must update menus and keep abreast of culinary trends and techniques. Chefs and cooks must be well-versed in culinary techniques and stay abreast of current trends and nutritional quality of foods to develop menus that appeal to customers.
Adhere to and follow strict health, sanitation and food safety standards.
Chef, requirements and skills
The qualities needed to be a good cook/cook are the following:
- The ability to remain calm under pressure
- Be able to organize and make decisions quickly
- have a long-term view of the profession, as training can be very long
- Ability to work in a team
- good communication skills
- Creativity and imagination to come up with new ideas for the menu and presentation of dishes
- Be able to maintain hygiene and food safety standards
- Ability to stay within budget
- Leadership skills
Cook, professional qualifications
Let us assume that there are gastronomy schools and courses of all kinds, but still no official national register for this profession, so that anyone can start working as a chef or cook themselves at any point in their lives.
This is a positive aspect, those who have not attended school, but have put a lot of passion into their work, spend a lot of time in the kitchen and learn the profession gradually. On the other hand, there are also people who enter this profession with knowledge and sufficient skills.
Chefs can have very different salaries depending on their skills, qualifications, the restaurant they work in, and the country.
An inexperienced cook can earn between €1,300 and €1,400 per month. An experienced chef earns more than €2,500 to €3,500 and more. Of course, the cook / cooks:
- who work in certain countries (Dubai, Switzerland, USA, etc.)
- who work in Michelin star restaurants
- who work in 5-star hotels
- who work as private chefs in residences or on luxury yachts receive higher salaries.