Distinguishing Between a Cook & a Chef

Cook vs Chef

The roles of a cook and a chef differ in the kitchen. Many individuals may assume that the terms “cook” and “chef” are interchangeable, referring to a person who works in a kitchen, whether they are supervising operations or actively cooking. However, those in the catering and hotel industries understand that these terms refer to different roles and responsibilities, as well as differing educational qualifications.

Key Takeaways

  • A chef usually has a 2-4 year culinary degree and has trained under a seasoned chef.
  • A cook is someone passionate about cooking who may still be learning and does not necessarily have a degree.
  • A cook is considered lower in prestige, pay, and career development compared to a chef.

Who is a Chef?

A chef is someone who has trained under a known chef and has since moved up in rank. Chefs vary in their ranks, including executive chefs, sous chefs, and chefs de partie. A chef typically has a 2-4 year culinary degree, and their main responsibility after completing their training is to oversee the kitchen. This includes creating and implementing menus in a restaurant and performing a management role in the kitchen.

Who is a Cook?

A cook is someone interested in cooking, passionate about their craft, and is referred to as a cook when starting their career at a restaurant. Some individuals may regard a cook as inferior to a chef. A cook prepares food daily and performs various duties in the kitchen as needed, including cleaning and washing. They often make use of recipes and follow others’ guidelines. In culinary training centers and hotels, a cook is typically considered lower than a chef in terms of prestige, pay, and career development. However, there are cases where talented cooks have surpassed expert chefs.

Difference between Cook and Chef

  • A cook is someone who cooks food daily as a profession and may still be learning, while a chef is a cook with a degree and experience in cooking.
  • A cook may not have a degree or is still in the process of obtaining one, while a chef has a college degree in culinary arts and experience.
  • A cook performs various jobs in the kitchen, while a chef supervises the kitchen and does not wash or clean.
  • There are no types of cooks, but there are different types of chefs, such as executive chefs, sous chefs, sauciers, and pastry chefs.
  • A chef usually earns a higher salary than a cook.

Knowing the difference between a cook and a chef can help clarify their roles and responsibilities within a kitchen setting.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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