Posted on by Cleverona Kitchen

The kitchen brigade system, also known as the “brigade de cuisine”, is a framework for hiring and organizing restaurant kitchen staff to maximize efficiency keeping the kitchen running smoothly in order to deliver orders in a timely manner. In the system, everyone has a specific and useful role, which helps the kitchen run like a well-oiled machine.

The kitchen brigade system has numerous benefits for restaurants. While fine dining establishments usually adopt the brigade system most strictly, even more, casual restaurants can benefit from its hierarchy.

This time we give recognition to those who work non-stop to provide us with quality dishes. In a kitchen, everyone’s job is important. And while the kitchen brigade system is less widely used in its full form today, it’s still the basis of most restaurant kitchen teams.



The Executive Chef

The Executive Chef sits at the top of the kitchen hierarchy. They are typically the most senior kitchen staff and will have a more business-oriented role. They manage kitchens at multiple outlets, overseeing one or more busy restaurants. Their work will often involve high-level oversight of operations as well as marketing and public relations. Some executive chefs may also have a hand in menu development.


The Chef de Cuisine (Head Chef)

Compared to an executive chef, the chef de cuisine is a more hands-on role. They are the managers of the kitchen who also collaborates with the restaurant’s general manager. Unlike the executive chef, the chef de cuisine is involved in day-to-day kitchen operations.

Depending on the size of the business or without an executive chef present, they may be at the top of the kitchen hierarchy and report directly to the restaurant manager or owner. They have a largely supervisory role, ensuring the kitchen operates smoothly and taking the lead on creating menus. The Head Chef will typically focus on managerial duties relating to the whole kitchen. Their duties might include monitoring kitchen activities, tracking the inventory, making purchases, and training new employees.


Sous Chef (Deputy Chef)

Whilst the Executive Chef and Head Chef can combine administration, financial management, and people and operations control, along with cooking, a Sous Chef is focused primarily on food.

The sous chef is the chef de cuisine's second-in-command. Typically, they will act as an intermediary between the chef de cuisine and each station within the kitchen. Strong culinary skills and management abilities are vital for a sous chef, as they must be ready to help in all areas of the kitchen as well as monitor inventory and employee performance.

They also ensure that each station in the kitchen is working correctly and safely. This can include training other chefs how to cook the dishes designed by the head or executive chef, as well as working on the stations when needed.


Chef de Partie (Station Chef)

A chef de partie will be in charge of one particular station. And while they should be equipped to work in any area if need be, a chef de partie will generally oversee a single area of production and may be titled accordingly. All of the food produced by a station is the ultimate responsibility of the chef de partie for that station. This responsibility covers the preparation and production of the food as well as the taste and quality.


Each kitchen will be set out differently, but some examples of Stations Chefs include:

  • Pastry chef: Also known as the patissier or dessert chefs, pastry chefs are responsible for providing you with delectable baked goods and desserts, including pastries, cookies, and other confections.
  • Grill chef: The Grillardin, also known as the grill chef, is, as the name implies, responsible for any foods that must be grilled. This can include meats, poultry, or even vegetables.
  • Roast chef: The Rotisseur, also known as the roast chef, is in charge of preparing any roasted or braised meats on the menu. This includes anything from steaks to veal to lamb or any other similar items. The Rotisseur may also be in charge of obtaining meats from local suppliers or arranging deliveries from other retailers.
  • Butcher chef: A meat dish’s first stop is the butcher chef’s station. The butcher prepares meats, poultry, and occasional seafood for use at their respective stations.
  • Pantry chef: The Garde Manger, also known as the pantry chef, is in charge of most cold dishes on the menu. This includes various salads and cold appetizers, such as pate, cheese spreads, or even tartars. The Garde Manger is also in charge of making any large buffet services look presentable. This is typically done with a variety of decorative vegetables and other food items, particularly when they are carved or molded into unique and artistic designs
  • Stir fry chef: The Friturier, more commonly known as the fry cook, handles any foods that must be cooked in oils or other animal fats. Like the Grillardin, the Friturier can handle anything from meats to potatoes to vegetables.
  • Poissonier: The Poissonnier, commonly referred to as the fish chef, is responsible for the preparation of all fish dishes in the kitchen. This can include acquiring fresh fish on a daily basis from local fishermen or other merchants, as well as bringing in non-local catches, as needed, to supplement the menu. The Poissonnier is also in charge of preparing all of the fish dishes on the menu, whether they are entrees or appetizers.
  • Sauce chef: The role of the Saucier, commonly known as the sauce chef, is often the highest respected role in the kitchen brigade system of stations, reporting directly to the head chef or sous-chef. The saucier is responsible for a variety of tasks, such as sautéing foods and preparing soups and stews, however, their most vital role lies within the creation of all sauces and gravies that are meant to accompany other dishes.


Commis Chef (Junior Chef)

The commis chef, known as the junior chef, is essentially a chef in training. They’re usually still learning or may have recently graduated from their program and are learning more about a specific role in the hierarchy.

It’s in this role that they will learn about how a kitchen is run from the ground up. The role can include what seem like menial tasks that are actually very important. These tasks can be seen as a “rite of passage” for chefs. It means that even an executive chef knows how to prepare a chicken and how to pack a delivery away in the right order.

Some common tasks assigned to a commis chef include:

  • Peeling and chopping vegetables.
  • Preparing cuts of meat.
  • Filleting and deboning fish.
  • Putting away deliveries of stock.
  • Cleaning stations and other areas.


Kitchen Porter

Kitchen porters assist with basic tasks in the kitchen and are less likely to have had formal training. Kitchen porters are there to keep a kitchen running smoothly whilst chefs cook. Their role typically involves introductory food preparation, such as peeling potatoes, and some cleaning duties.

Some common kitchen porter tasks include:


  • Taking trays or boxes of food to the right station.
  • Putting away a delivery of stock.
  • Keeping floors and surfaces clear of hazards.
  • Emptying kitchen bins.
  • Take used pots and pans to the dishwashing area.
  • Along with other tasks that can seem thankless. A kitchen porter is actually a very important role and keeps the kitchen running like clockwork.


Escuelerie (Dishwasher)

Every role in the kitchen is important, even the dishwasher. You can’t cook or serve food without pots, pans, plates, and cutlery.

Though a dishwasher will unlikely come into contact with food or cooking, there are still important things you need to know with this kitchen position, such as COSHH and general health and safety.

The dishwasher in a kitchen will likely report to the commis chef or chef de partie and could be asked to take on some tasks of a kitchen porter during busy services.


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