In the traditional kitchen hierarchy, the Executive Chef position represents the pinnacle of culinary achievement.


One could say that the word “executive” can be added to a Chef’s title to identify clearly who the real boss is. But, if you have worked in the restaurant or food/beverage industry, you’ll have an idea of the weight that this designation carries. 

But certain positions are combined into other roles when such a large staff is unnecessary. This is why it is essential to include the brigade’s second command – the Chef de Cuisine (CDC) or Head Chef. Some restaurants may technically only have the CDC performing the administrative roles by an Executive Chef.


What is the significant difference between Executive Chef and Chef de Cuisine?


 It truly depends on how large the staff is. 

The designation of Executive Chef in the ideal brigade hierarchy doesn’t do much cooking anymore but instead works in an office. Meanwhile, the Chef de Cuisine is the hands-on leader in a restaurant kitchen, directly responsible for every dish that comes out of the kitchen. 

The Executive Chef is at the top of the restaurant management structure and is the head kitchen administrator. They usually oversee several small restaurant kitchens or extensive facilities, such as those found in hotels, banquet halls, resorts and even hospitals.

As an administrator, the Executive Chef instructs and inspires the many staff employed by the organization to improve the customer experience throughout the facility or restaurant. They manage the entire restaurant, including all front of house (FOH) operations, but they are no longer involved in the day-to-day aspect. They deal with tons of paperwork as they organize training, deal with suppliers, manage costs and enforces company policies. 

This way, the Executive Chef can simultaneously deal with multiple kitchens, with each of those kitchens run by a Chef de Cuisine. 


Here are examples of responsibilities they are likely to perform in their roles. In structures without an Executive Chef, it is the Chef de Cuisine who takes on these responsibilities:


  • Executive chefs are in charge of creating creative and diverse menu items that meet the requirements of each kitchen. They ensure that the restaurant’s menu aligns with the restaurant’s identity.
  •  Responsible for hiring and training new chefs. To ensure consistency in food quality, the Executive Chef / Chef de Cuisine needs to hire the right person, prepare them accordingly and cross-train within the department. They may work with chef agencies to hire relief chefs, mainly when dealing with emergency leaves or needing additional chefs to support an event. We at Anytime Chefs have been working with various restaurants and venues to help them throughout the entire hiring or recruitment process.
  • Ensure the implementation of a food production schedule for each department to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of employees’ work schedules.
  • Ensure that maximum profitability is achieved by managing budgets, costs and expenses. This includes inventory and purchasing of food or items, as well as utilities and payroll costs.
  • Develop quality control procedures to help improve productivity, establish and maintain uniformly high standards, and minimize food waste.
  • Develop a regular maintenance schedule for kitchen equipment to ensure quality, safety, and function across all facilities.
  • Develop and implement food safety handling procedures and sanitation safeguards.


RELATED READ: Why Using Chef Agencies To Hire Chefs Can Be A Smart Move For You 


Because the role of Executive Chef / Chef de Cuisine involves responsibilities beyond the day to day cooking routine, you need a chef with attributes and skills that reflect:

  • Experience managing a kitchen environment
  • Education through culinary arts school preferred
  • Knowledge of local and federal health and food safety standards
  • Knowledge of modern food and culinary trends
  • Creative culinary style
  • Strong kitchen leadership skills


In Summary:

Executive chefs / Chef de Cuisine are highly skilled chefs considered the lead chefs of the kitchen brigade. As the lead chefs who manage the restaurant’s kitchen, they carry responsibilities outside the daily cooking routine. 


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

Ciao for now,


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