What Kind of Chef Should You Be? (A Look at Different Types of Chefs in the Kitchen)

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The Malaysian culinary industry is thriving, with many major culinary events being held in the country and a lot of Malaysian chefs gaining international fame and winning the Michelin-star awards. For those who aspire to follow the footsteps of Chef Wan or Chef Ismail, who are both world-renowned Malaysian chefs, check out the 12 different types of chefs you can find and become in Malaysia:1

  1. Expediter Because it’s very important to make sure that the dish is perfect before it reaches the table, this task is usually undertaken by the executive chefs themselves. As an expediter, you’ll be the last in line when it comes to food preparation. Your main role is to deliver the food personally or with the help of a waiter.2
  2. Line Cook (Commis) This is an entry-level position which requires you to do basically everything that needs to be done in the kitchen, be it arranging dishes or cutting vegetables. The fast-paced position offers you a chance to move up the career ladder.3
  3. Pantry Chef (Gard Manger) For this role, you’ll be in charge of cold items such as dressings, cold sauces, hors d’ oeuvres and salads. However, your biggest responsibility is to make the dishes look presentable.4
  4. Fry Cook For restaurants serving mainly fried-based dishes, like a Southern restaurant, there must be a frying station of which a fry cook is needed to man the station.5
  5. Meat Cook (Rotisseur) As a meat cook, you’re responsible for everything meat; from grilling and broiling to braising and roasting. The tasks may also overlap with the saucier, in which you need to handle gravies.6
  6. Vegetable Cook (Entremetier) For this role, your main responsibility is to deal with dishes with ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, rice, and soups.7
  7. Fish Cook (Poissonier) As a fish cook, you’ll handle everything seafood, especially when it comes to cooking and preparation.8
  8. Saucier As a saucier, your role is to handle and prepare sauces. Some types of cuisine, like French, rely heavily on sauces, which is why a saucier may be needed.9
  9. Station Chef (Chef de Partie) If you hold this role, you’re normally assigned to a single station only, be it the grill, the salads, or the soups. You may work under the direct supervision of an executive chef or sous chef.10
  10. Pastry Chef (Patissier) Pastry chefs require a different kind of culinary training, and they’re mostly trained at baking schools. Your daily tasks revolve around desserts, breads, and pastries.11
  11. Sous Chef You’re the second in command after the executive chef, and your role is to manage the kitchen, including supervising every preparation of every dish and making sure everything is perfect.

    Team of young chefs preparing delicatessen dishes
    Team of young chefs preparing delicatessen dishes
  12. Executive Chef (Chef de Cuisine) You’re the big boss in the kitchen, and it’ll take you years of training and experience to reach this top position. As the executive chef, you get to create your own unique dishes and oversee everything.

Pursuing a career in the Malaysian culinary industry can be lucrative if you learn your craft well, and understand your own strengths and weaknesses. The many culinary courses in Malaysia could open the doors for you into becoming the right type of chef that fits your passion and personality. The key ingredient to your successful culinary career is finding and choosing the right culinary course that you’re most passionate about, and that you know you would thrive in. This is what made Chef Wan very successful in his culinary career.

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