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A chef de partie controls a section of the kitchen. They are third in command after a head chef and then a sous chef. Typically they manage a small team of workers, though they sometimes are the sole person working in their section of the kitchen. Often the position is referred to as a "station chef" or a "line cook."
Many of these chefs have attended culinary school, though this is not always required. This job requires a lot of independence and is therefore not an entry-level position. A chef de partie should have considerable experience working in a professional kitchen at a lower level such as an apprenticeship.
Skills and Knowledge
A chef de partie is expected to be knowledgeable about the culinary industry and food preparation. Often chef de parties have a specialty such as pastries, which they should know thoroughly. A person holding this position must be organized, have the ability to delegate tasks well and be able to work well in a high stress environment. They should also be able to take direction well from either the sous chef or the head chef.
The main responsibility of a chef de partie is to oversee and aid in the preparation, cooking and presentation of food in a restaurant. They must delegate duties to chefs working in their section of the kitchen. Additionally, they must monitor to make sure food quality, presentation and safety standards are being adhered to. Finally, they are responsible for troubleshooting any issues that arise in their section of the kitchen.
Though restaurants are typically lean and attractive, kitchens can be hot and crowded. They may pose many safety threats such as hot stoves, sharp knives and wet floors. Additionally they can be very hectic during times when the restaurant is busy. Chefs are under constant pressure to make sure food gets prepared well and quickly. They may have to work long, irregular hours under high pressure.
According to Hcareers.com, the average chef de partie brings in between $20,000 and $34,000 per year. These individuals, however, can bring in more by working for larger organizations or taking on extra responsibilities such as the training of an apprentice. Additionally, many chef de parties go on to be sous chefs or head chefs who typically earn around $38,770 per year.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for chefs is thought to be fairly good, despite the industry facing slower than average growth. This is in part because turnover is fairly high for chefs because of the demanding work environment. Jobs at upscale restaurants that typically pay more for their chef de parties are more competitive.
2016 Salary Information for Chefs and Head Cooks
Chefs and head cooks earned a median annual salary of $43,180 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, chefs and head cooks earned a 25th percentile salary of $32,230, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $59,080, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 146,500 people were employed in the U.S. as chefs and head cooks.