So, you’ve decided that a job as a chef de partie is the one for you?
Experience in the field is one of the most important aspects of becoming any level chef, especially as a chef de partie as this is not an entry level position. Spending a few initial years of your career earning experience and learning the ins and outs of your field of expertise is a hugely beneficial way of developing your culinary skills whilst also working with fellow chefs.
Alternatively, to become a chef de partie, completing relevant courses and educational schemes is always beneficial. A good educational grounding will provide an excellent foundation for a long and rewarding career as a chef.
Some of the qualifications you could begin with are:
• City and Guilds diploma in Professional Cookery
• BTEC HND in Professional Cookery
• Foundation degree in Culinary Arts
These courses can be obtained through college courses, apprenticeships or at university.
Universities and courses can be found using the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.
Depending on the path you take to get that first step through the kitchen door, whether it’s a university course you’ve enrolled on, an apprenticeship scheme or you’ve decided to start from the bottom and work your way up through the ranks. You’re probably now wondering where it begins in the kitchen and what steps will take you to that goal of becoming a chef de partie…
So, you’ve made it to the kitchen, what’s next?
The lowest rank in the kitchen is the kitchen porter. Starting here, you will mainly be charged with cleaning responsibilities and some simple food preparation.
After working as a kitchen porter for some time, promotion to Commis Chef will then see you developing more advanced culinary skills, progressing into basic cooking. This role is a key training step in your chef career. A commis chef works in a particular section of the kitchen and will rotate around these areas during their training.
It’s time to become a Chef de Partie
After some years of developing and refining you career as a chef, it’s time to step up to the role of a chef de partie. As a chef de partie (also known as a station chef or line cook) you will rank third under the head chef and the sous chef.
The chef de partie do more than just cooking. A Chef de partie usually has their own field of expertise that means they are the master of their section. Another responsibility of chef de partie could be to train entry level chefs, demi-chef de parties or the assistants to work well under all circumstances in the kitchen, including working under pressure to ensure the smooth running of service. Chef ‘s who are successful in this position will quickly learn an in-depth familiarity with their section operations. And will be able to resolve any problems that may occur on the job.
Also another job of a chef de partie could include the plating of dishes on the starter section. Furthermore, they will make sure all the food is cooked to the customer’s expectations to the best level of quality possible to keep the customers happy.
In the busier kitchens, you will usually get help from a demi-chef, commis chef or a trainee chef.
The skills needed to be a great Chef de Partie:
Attention to Detail: Cooking is a science, so a chef de partie needs to be precise. Every ingredient and measurement must be exact. Chefs need to be precise in other ways as well; whether ordering food products or figuring out what time to cook certain items so that they are all plated at the same time, a chef needs to have an eye for detail.
Creativity: Working in the food industry requires creativity. Chef de parties must be open to incorporating new food items into their section to continue the development of menus as well as to improving older recipes. Creativity and imagination will keep customers coming back to a restaurant.
Culinary Expertise: The most important hard skill a chef de partie needs is an ability to cook, as well as knowledge of the kitchen. This broad skill includes a variety of smaller skills, including knife skills and tasting skills. Chefs need to be able to cook precisely and efficiently. They also need to be skilled at recognizing flavours, this skill would have been developed throughout the years being in the kitchen and also through learning more about the establishment you work in.
Team Player: As a chef de partie you are part of a team and must be able to work well with others. Not only must he or she work with the cooks in the kitchen, but he or she must also be able to work effectively with staff and management.
Organization: A chef de partie must be very organized in the kitchen. Often, they have to work on a variety of tasks at once and must do so while keeping the kitchen organized. They must create order and structure in the kitchen so that the environment is not chaotic.
Passion: This is a key skill to have throughout your whole chef career, as you will know the passion is what first attracted you to the food sector. As a chef de partie, your passion is key to not only push you to be YOUR best but your passion will reflect on the business itself and your trainees.
How To Develop Your Career as a Chef de Partie
So, you’ve been a Chef de partie for some time now and you’re looking to take the next step in your career, the next step for you is to become a sous chef. You’ve been looking up to the Sous Chef for quite some time and once you have enough experience and have learned the ropes, you’ll be ready to take on the next step in your career.
A Sous-Chef is the second in command in a kitchen; the person ranking next after the executive chef. The Sous chef holds a lot of responsibility in the kitchen, which can eventually lead to promotion to becoming the Executive/Head Chef.