What does "Chef" literally stand for?

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What does "Chef" literally stand for?  - What is bugging you about the industry in Australia.


I am finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish what the common term “chef " literally stands for”.


The idiom “chef “originally universally acknowledged the chef as the “chief” of a commercial kitchen, or in some instances awarded by peers to a person acknowledging their excellence in cookery skills.

The role was easily identifiable by common job descriptions, comparable key performance indicators, involved comparable general duties, included similar key responsibilities underpinned by a competency set of commercial cookery knowledge and skills which was known by the general community as a respectable career path in society.

So what has replaced the meaning of “chef” and with it unfortunately, the copious contemporary derivatives.

  • Currently uneducated people appear to be embarrassed to call themselves a cook.
  • We presently do not have apprentice cooks, because they are now only apprentice chefs or apprentice “chiefs”.
  • Apart from the rare educated employer who uses the term, the industry has lost the development stage called “commis”, which was and is a critical period in a cookery path and in my opinion the fundamental reason why the commercial cookery industry will from now to eternity encounter skill shortages.
  • The chef de partie has emerged as the contemporary sous chef or the kitchen title claimed by amateurs or staff just out of their apprenticeship.
  • The former genuine sous chef is now an executive sous chef because they have a couple of apprentices reporting to them.
  • We have “celebrity chefs” who have never managed a kitchen, because it’s fashionable to be a “celebrity” and opportune to combine the refined title of chef that is difficult to verify as an occupation” whilst paradoxically qualified chefs have demoted themselves to a celebrity chef status because it’s chic.
  • Its is quite easy to collect business cards from executive chefs with a total of three staff
  • There are nine year old master chefs who would not know how to compile or cost a menu competing with genuine “master chefs” who have dedicated their life and can demonstrate excellence in the many facets of food preparation and not just the preparation of a recipe.
  • It is now smarter to be a chef educator instead of a cookery teacher and sadly even Vocational Education in Secondary schools purports to teach secondary school students to become chefs.

But if you really wish to identify the pretenders from the genuine professional trained chef, look and listen.

You will see celebrity chefs on TV:

  • Licking fingers while encouraging other participants in the program to do so,
  • Having a tea towels hung over their shoulders,
  • Wearing in-appropriate professional uniform that may include jeans and T shirt,
  • Incorrectly and ineptly holding a knife or using the wrong knife for the wrong job,
  • Unable to pronounce
  • Unable to correctly manipulate a pan to sauté, leaving pot handles over the edge of the stove,
  • Working with disordered and untidy benches,
  • Or even from the rudimentary incorrect peeling, slicing or dicing of an onion. Yet they are introduced, titled or programmed on the show as a "chef".

What would happen if they have to prepare and cook an omelet without the backup of a recipe or retake. I suppose that product would turn out to be: rock hard, scrambled egg probably still in its shell and pronounced as a new style of cuisine.

Whose fault ?


This adulteration of the term chef started when cooks believed that using the title “chef“ was an easy way to self-promote and improve their status within their community. Greedy employers jumped onto the bandwagon by advertising ambiguous, more impressive kitchen job titles as an alternative to a ‘true’ promotion and as a substitute for genuine salary increases.


The term “cook” accurately summarizes in a single word the real value of the person’s role to society and particularly appropriate for the commercial kitchen, while the term “chef” accurately describes the chief administrator of all the cooks in the kitchen.

I have no difficulty with sensible descriptors that demonstrate an ultimate responsibility as a chef manager, for example “corporate chef”, “research chef” provided they have their verified skill set as a cook.


A person who makes their living by preparing, cooking and presenting food as a living is a cook and they belong to the cookery industry and must have the four measurable attributes of skills, attitude, knowledge and experience.

  • The cookery industry has replaced the priceless cook with a myriad of pretentious chefs who cannot or do not cook for a living or titled way beyond their skill set.
  • It is already hard enough to accept some who dress like rubic cubes or clowns without adding their ignorance when they indicate they are “cheffing” at the moment, or currently working in cheffery industry?

Lets try and keep titles sensible

From:Monsieur Professeur Hill. XYZ. Administrative Executive food and beverage director, Superstar, connoisseur, Crook, Master cheffery degree in Gastronomy from University of Numbailly (purchased).

Sometimes also called George Hill

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