Chef de Partie Job Description
Chefs de partie, also known as station chefs or line cooks, oversee a specific section of a kitchen, which can include sauces, vegetables, or fish. Depending on the size of the kitchen, a chef de partie can be solely responsible for their section or direct a team of chefs and cooks to coordinate food preparation activities.
Chefs de partie report to the sous chef, executive chef, or head chef, and may contribute to menu development as well as food preparation. In this role, chefs de partie strive to ensure that their part of the meal is correctly prepared and presented according to both the chef’s and the customer’s expectations.
Chef de Partie Duties and Responsibilities
While a chef de partie’s duties can depend on the type or size of kitchen they work in, many of these core responsibilities are the same everywhere:
Direct Section Activities
The primary responsibility of the chef de partie is conducting meal preparation activities within their section of the kitchen. A chef de partie who’s in charge of meat will ensure that steaks and other meats are cooked to order. Chefs de partie in larger kitchens direct kitchen staff and assign responsibility for various elements that go into their part of each dish.
Coordinate with Other Sections
Chefs de partie work closely with other chefs de partie and other members of the kitchen staff. This ensures that elements of the meal are ready on time and prevents delays in service. For example, a vegetable chef de partie might wait until another section is ready before grilling vegetables and adding them to the dish.
Maintain Food Quality
Chefs de partie maintain the restaurant’s quality and reputation by monitoring the food served to customers. They may inspect their section’s contributions to ensure presentation and consistency and taste food from their section to make sure that it’s correctly cooked and seasoned.
Contribute to Menu Development
Chefs de partie contribute to a restaurant’s menu development. They work closely with the head chef to discuss customer demand, seasonal ingredient availability, and special events, and may also suggest menu options or new dishes. In this aspect of the role, chefs de partie may also determine how their specific section fits into preparing seasonal or special menu items.
Ensure Ingredient Quality
Chefs de partie play an important role in ensuring ingredient quality. This can include checking deliveries to make sure that ingredients are fresh, quantities are correct, and that ingredients are properly stored and accessible to chefs working within their section. The chef de partie may also place orders with distributors and maintain oversight of common ingredients used by multiple sections.
Maintain Kitchen Cleanliness and Safety
As part of their kitchen leadership role, chefs de partie also maintain kitchen cleanliness and safety. They may oversee, develop, or enhance processes for food safety and storage, or may help maintain or replace kitchen equipment that isn’t working as expected. Many chefs de partie also prepare safety and cleanliness guidelines for workers in their section and make sure they adhere to strict standards of professionalism and hygiene.
Chef de Partie Skills and Qualifications
Chefs de partie oversee operations and food preparation in a specific part of a kitchen, often leading teams of cooks. Restaurants tend to hire chefs de partie with several years of kitchen experience and the following skills:
- Food preparation – because they oversee a large aspect of the kitchen, chefs de partie need to be able to successfully prepare that section’s elements and dishes on time and with a high level of quality and presentation
- Menu development – chefs de partie often collaborate with the head chef to develop a restaurant’s menu, so experience with creating new dishes and changing items based on ingredient availability and quality is necessary
- Team leadership – in this role, the chef de partie oversees a team of chefs and cooks within their section, so they need to be effective leaders, able to delegate and to direct a wide range of employees
- Food handling – chefs de partie should also be familiar with best practices for safely handling and storing food, ensuring that ingredients are fresh, and maintaining clean work areas within their section of the kitchen
- Communication skills – communication skills are also vital in this role, as chefs de partie need to communicate with other chefs and may also need to create written training materials for employees
Chef de Partie Education and Training
While education requirements for chefs de partie can vary from kitchen to kitchen, workers in this role should be experienced cooks or chefs. Most kitchens look for individuals with several years of food preparation experience and some knowledge of team leadership and personnel management. Completing a culinary school program and achieving certification through an organization like the American Culinary Federation can also help increase a chef de partie’s job prospects.
Chef de Partie Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs and head cooks earn an average salary of $45,950 per year. The highest-paid 10 percent of chefs and head cooks earn more than $78,570 annually, while the lowest paid earn less than $25,020 per year.
The BLS estimates that chef and head cook employment will grow 10 percent by 2026, which is a slightly faster pace than the average for all occupations.
We found several resources on the web if you’d like to learn more about working as a chef de partie:
American Culinary Federation – the ACF provides a certification program for executive chefs as well as professional development resources and events for culinary professionals
How to Become a Chef: The Essential Guide for Becoming a Chef and Building a Successful Culinary Career – author Brandon Fiore provides tips and advice for new cooks, particularly focusing on how to sustain a career in this field
“12 Types of Chefs You Need to Know About” – this blog post explores the various chef titles that can exist in a large kitchen, including an explanation of the chef de partie’s role
Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food with Advice from Top Culinary Professionals – this book explores careers within the food industry and provides advice for finding work in roles including chef de partie