Introduction to the Junior ChefThe kitchen is one of the most important places in the culinary world. It is where creativity and passion come together to create some of the most delectable dishes. But running a kitchen is not a one-man show. It takes a team of professionals with different skills and experience levels to make it thrive. One of the most crucial members of a kitchen team is the junior chef, sometimes known as a commis chef.
Understanding the Role of a Commis ChefA commis chef is the lowest-ranked position in a kitchen. It is a junior chef who has recently completed a few years of culinary school or training and is learning the basics of working in a professional kitchen. The commis chef’s role is to work alongside experienced chefs to help prepare and cook dishes, learn new techniques, and understand how the kitchen operates. They are responsible for basic tasks such as chopping, slicing, and peeling ingredients. Key Point: Junior chefs learn by observing and participating in the daily operations of a busy kitchen.
Educational Requirements for a Junior ChefTo become a junior chef, one must first complete a culinary program at a recognized institution. These programs provide hands-on training in basic culinary skills, such as food preparation, knife skills, and cooking methods. Some culinary schools also offer internships or apprenticeships, which allow culinary students to gain valuable experience in a real-world setting. Once their training is complete, junior chefs start at the bottom of the kitchen hierarchy, working their way up through the ranks. They are expected to learn the ropes, honing their skills and gaining the knowledge they need to become successful chefs in the future.
Collaborating with Chefs at StationsThe job of a commis chef involves collaborating with more experienced chefs who work at different stations throughout the kitchen. This allows them to learn new techniques and skills while also gaining experience in a variety of kitchen environments. Commis chefs work in different stations such as the hot station, salad station, and pastry station. During their time working in one station, they are expected to learn everything about the station, take orders from the chef de partie, and work with other chefs to prepare meals. Key Point: Junior chefs work under more experienced chefs to learn different culinary methods and grow their skills.
Learning About Kitchen SurroundingsJunior chefs are also responsible for taking care of the kitchen environment. They clean and maintain the kitchen equipment such as knives, pots, and pans while learning kitchen safety and hygiene practices. They must also understand the stock and inventory system, learning how to manage the kitchen’s necessary supplies. Through collaboration and hands-on experience, junior chefs learn about the full spectrum of a kitchen, including:
- Food ordering and storing
- Budgeting and costing