Culinary art is the art of preparing and cooking foods. The word "culinary" is defined as something related to, or connected with, cooking. A culinarion is a person working in the culinary arts. A culinarian working in restaurants is commonly known as a cook or a chef. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. Increasingly they are required to have a knowledge of the science of food and an understanding of diet and nutrition. They work primarily in restaurants, fast food chain store franchises, delicatessens, hospitals and other institutions. Kitchen conditions vary depending on the type of business, restaurant, nursing home, etc.

Careers in culinary arts

Related careers

Below is a list of the wide variety of culinary arts occupations.
  • Consulting and Design Specialists – Work with restaurant owners in developing menus, the layout and design of dining rooms, and service protocols.
  • Dining Room Service – Manage a restaurant, cafeterias, clubs, etc. Diplomas and degree programs are offered in restaurant management by colleges around the world.
  • Food and Beverage Controller – Purchase and source ingredients in large hotels as well as manage the stores and stock control.
  • Entrepreneurship – Deepen and invest in businesses, such as bakeries, restaurants, or specialty foods (such as (chocolatescheese, etc.).
  • Food and Beverage Managers – Manage all food and beverage outlets in hotels and other large establishments.
  • Food Stylists and Photographers – Work with magazines, books, catalogs and other media to make food visually appealing.
  • Food Writers and Food Critics – Communicate with the public on food trends, chefs and restaurants though newspapersmagazines,blogs, and books. Notables in this field include Julia ChildCraig Claiborne and James Beard.
  • Research and Development Kitchens – Develop new products for commercial manufacturers and may also work in test kitchens for publications, restaurant chains, grocery chains, or others.
  • Sales – Introduce chefs and business owners to new products and equipment relevant to food production and service.
  • Instructors – Teach aspects of culinary arts in high school, vocational schools, colleges, recreational programs, and for specialty businesses (for example, the professional and recreational courses in baking at King Arthur Flour).

Chef de cuisine, executive chef and head chef

This person is in charge of all things related to the kitchen which usually includes menu creation; management, scheduling and payroll of entire kitchen staff; ordering; and plating design. Chef de cuisine is the traditional French term from which the English word chef is derived. Head chef is often used to designate someone with the same duties as an executive chef, but there is usually someone in charge of them, possibly making the larger executive decisions such as direction of menu, final authority in staff management decisions, etc. This is often the case for chefs with several restaurants.


The Sous-Chef de Cuisine (under-chef of the kitchen) is the second in command and direct assistant of the Executive Chef. This person may be responsible for scheduling and substituting when the Executive Chef is off-duty and will also fill in for or assist the Chef de Partie (line cook) when needed. Smaller operations may not have a sous-chef, but larger operations may have several.


The expediter (in French aboyeur) takes the orders from the dining room and relays them to the stations in the kitchen. This person also often puts the finishing touches on the dish before it goes to the dining room. In some operations this task may be done by either the executive chef or the sous-chef.

Chef de partie

chef de partie, also known as a "station chef" or "line cook", is in charge of a particular area of production. In large kitchens, each station chef might have several cooks and/or assistants. In most kitchens however, the station chef is the only worker in that department. Line cooks are often divided into a hierarchy of their own, starting with "first cook", then "second cook", and so on as needed.
Station-chef titles which are part of the brigade system include
sauté chefsaucier[sosje]Responsible for all sautéed items and their sauce. This is usually the highest stratified position of all the stations.
fish chefpoissonnier[pwasoɲe]Prepares fish dishes and often does all fish butchering as well as appropriate sauces. This station may be combined with the saucier position.
roast chefrôtisseur[ʁotisœʁ]Prepares roasted and braised meats and their appropriate sauce.
grill chefgrillardin[ɡʁijaʁdɛ̃]Prepares all grilled foods; this position may be combined with the rotisseur.
fry cheffriturier[fʁityʁje]Prepares all fried items; this position may be combined with the rotisseur position.
vegetable chefentremetier[ɑ̃tʁəmetje]Prepares hot appetizers and often prepares the soups, vegetables, pastas and starches. In a full brigade system a potager would prepare soups and a legumier would prepare vegetables.
roundsmantournant[tuʁnɑ̃]Also referred to as a swing cook, fills in as needed on stations in the kitchen.
pantry chefgarde manger[ɡaʁd mɑ̃ʒe]Responsible for preparing cold foods, including salads, cold appetizerspâtés and other charcuterieitems.
butcherboucher[buʃe]Butchers meats, poultry and sometimes fish. May also be responsible for breading meats and fish.
pastry chefpâtissier[patisje]Is qualified in making baked goods such as pastries, cakes, biscuits, macarons, chocolates, breads and desserts. Pastry Chefs can specialize in cakes in patisseries or bakeries by making wedding, cupcakes, birthday and special occasion cakes. In larger establishments, the pastry chef often supervises a separate team in their own kitchen or separate shop.


A commis is an apprentice in larger kitchens who works under a chef de partie to learn the station's responsibilities and operation. This may be a chef who has recently completed formal culinary training or is still undergoing training.