The Kitchen Brigade System, or “brigade de cuisine”, is a structure for hiring and organizing restaurant kitchen staff with efficiency as the ultimate goal.

 

Everyone has a specific and valuable role in the method, which helps the kitchen run like a well-oiled machine.

The Executive Chef and the Head Chef manage the whole kitchen system, and the Sous Chef handles the active part of being the bridge between the admin and cooking departments of the kitchen. The one who executes the essential skills in their respective stations is the Chef de Partie.

The restaurant kitchen is divided into several stations for every type of food preparation needed. Each station has a designated chef skilled in that particular expertise, and this chef is called the Chef de Partie or Line Cook. 

The Chef de Partie, also called “Line Cook, “is in charge of a specific station or section and reports to the Sous Chef. 

The different labels depend on which station they handle: 

 

The Sauté Chef or Saucier 

 

The Sauté Chef or Saucier prepares all sauteed items and their accompanying sauces. The Saucier is one of the most respected positions in the kitchen since their most vital role lies in creating the sauces that will accompany other dishes as well as plating food. They’re responsible for sautéing foods, soups, stews and stocks. They report directly to the head chef or sous-chef. 

 

The Poissonier or Fish Chef 

 

The Poissonier or Fish chef prepares all fish / piscine dishes and seafood, whether entrees or appetizers. This role can include daily purchasing of fresh fish from suppliers. The Poissonnier may also prepare the sauces that need to accompany the fish, stocks or soups in some kitchens.

 

The Friturier or Fry Chef

 

The Friturier or the Fry Chef prepares all fried foods. They handle any foods cooked in oils or other animal fats. Like the Grillardin, the Friturier can take anything from meats to potatoes to vegetables.

 

The Grillardin or Grill Chef

 

The Grillardin or The Grill Chef prepares all the grilled menu items, including meats, poultry, or vegetables.

 

The Rotisserie or Roast Chef

 

The Rotisserie or the Roast Chef prepares all roasted and braised meats and their accompanying sauces. The Rotisserie may also be in charge of procuring meats from local suppliers or other retailers. Their role from the Grill Chef differs because their part often focuses on simmering the meats. 

 

The Entremetier or Entrée Preparer

 

The Entremetier or Entrée Preparer prepares all starches, vegetables, soups, and egg dishes.

They are in charge of entrees or the “entrance” to the meal. In the olden days, an entrée was typically a lighter starter course. Now, the entrée is considered as the “main course”. 

One line chef only manages most stations, but bigger establishments may often employ two different chefs to work this station: The Potager and Legumier. A Potager Chef handles any soups on the menu, and a Legume Chef handles any vegetable dishes.

 

The Patissier or Pastry Chef

 

The Patissier or the Pastry Chef creates and presents all dessert items such as baked goods and sophisticated cold desserts. 

Since the Pastry Chef’s job is to create and present all dessert items, it is typically the most artistically demanding role.  

In the olden days, the Patissier’s role also involves supervising an ice-cream chef (glacier) and candy cook (confiseur), the one in charge of making large showpieces (decorateur) and the boulangier (baker).

 

The Garde Manger or Pantry Chef

 

The Garde Manger or the Pantry Chef is in charge of most cold dishes, such as salads and cold appetizers. The Garde Manger also presents extensive buffet services using decorative vegetables or other food items and ice carvings. 

 

The Boucher or The Butcher

 

The Boucher or The Butcher handles meat and poultry preparation before handing them over to the respective stations for the dish preparation. 

 

The Tournant or Roundsman

 

The Tournant or Roundsman is an all-around chef in the kitchen brigade. This role calls for flexibility as they assist with various tasks in each station as needed. This is why the Tournant needs to have a broad knowledge of the basic operations of each station so they can step in when another station member is absent or during busy hours.

Generally, the responsibilities of a Chef de Partie include: 

  • Preparation, cooking and presentation of quality dishes in their respective stations
  • Assisting either the Head Chef and Sous Chef in creating and developing recipes as well as health and safety management 
  • Monitoring portion control and waste management

Depending on the establishment, the Chef de Partie may have someone under his supervision to assist him, called the Commis Chef section or Junior Chef. 

 

Commis Chef (Junior Chef)

 

The Commis Chef (Junior Chef) round out the brigade system hierarchy. They are trainees and may still be taking formal culinary training or have recently completed it. They help the line cooks they work with to execute orders. For example: if under the Poissonnier, the junior chef would help prepare fish dishes. Training as a Commis Chef is all about on-the-job training where they learn all about ingredients, techniques, kitchen management, service standards and food hygiene.

 

RELATED READ:  The Kitchen Brigade: The Kitchen Hierarchy That Gets Things Done

 

In Summary:

The Kitchen Brigade system help create a hierarchy and delineate responsibilities among the kitchen team, whether formal or casual. Each designation has a role in ensuring working efficiency – from the top Executive Chef to the junior chef. In particular, Chef de Parties (and their Commis Chef) are important kitchen roles that take much of the action in the kitchen.

While the kitchen brigade system was created in French army kitchens, restaurants have used it for centuries. But not every restaurant kitchen strictly follows the French Brigade System and some positions are combined depending on the size of the restaurant.The restaurant industry’s needs are ever-evolving and it is possible that the brigade system will evolve with them. But successful systems are successful because they are effective. You may not follow the exact traditional kitchen brigade system but making use of it and adapting its most relevant aspects can help for maximum efficiency.

 

That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,
Thomas

 


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