What Is a Chef de Partie? (plus the skills needed)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 8 August 2022 | Published 20 May 2021

Updated 8 August 2022

Published 20 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you have ever dreamed of working in a kitchen as a professional chef, the position of a Chef de Partie is a good position to seek. It will allow you to gain some experience as a chef and be part of the leadership team. You need to learn the responsibilities and skills required to become an excellent Chef de Partie.

In this article, we discuss what a Chef de Partie is, give you some details about their responsibilities and explain how you can become one.

What is a Chef de Partie?

A Chef de Partie is a trained chef who runs a specific part of the kitchen where they cook, known as a station. They are also known as line cooks. They oversee everything that occurs in their section of the kitchen from preparation for cooking to the presentation of food. Their kitchen sections can handle a range of different foods including meat and fish, vegetables, sauces and pastries. In busier kitchens, they support the head and sous chefs to ensure consistently high-quality food is produced, deal with purchase orders and verify all goods received.

The following are some duties and responsibilities that feature in a Chef de Partie's job description:

Handling food preparations

Chef de Partie handles day-to-day food preparation and duties assigned by senior chefs to meet the restaurant's standards and quality. They work together with the Sous chef to streamline daily kitchen operations.

Ensure the quality of the food served

They forecast the day-to-day production needs of the restaurant and ensure the quality of raw and cooked food meets restaurant standards. This means ensuring that the ingredients and presented food are always of the highest quality and the service offered guarantees customer satisfaction.

Related: How to become a chef de partie (with definition and skills)

Enforcing the policies and regulations

Chef de Partie must understand the standard policies and procedures regarding receiving, preparation, storage and sanitation of food and the menu items fully, including the recipes, production and presentation methods. This helps to ensure great food handling and preservation with storage temperature and all other essential aspects being observed.

Operating kitchen equipment

Chef de Partie maintain and operate essential kitchen equipment and report malfunctions and damages to ensure the kitchen continues running smoothly.

Related: How to become a chef (with skills and salary info)

Observing kitchen hygiene

Chef de Partie are responsible for safety, hygiene and correct use of department utensils and equipment and motivates junior chefs to work under deadlines, whilst ensuring the removal of expired foods from storage and maintenance of proper preservation and waste disposal standards.

Types of Chef de Partie

There are different types of Chef de Partie titles, depending on the hotel or restaurant where you might work. The following are the most typical:

Butcher chef

The Butcher chef is also known as the Boucher and handles meat and poultry preparation before delivery to other stations. You could also handle and prepare various types of seafood such as fish and shrimp.

Related: Kitchen staff hierarchy and restaurant jobs to consider

Fish chef or Poissonnier

This role deals with the handling and preparation of all dishes that incorporate fish. You will handle the fish from the butchering process to the creation of sauces.

Roundsman or the relief cook

Acts as a replacement in any of the stations when the need arises and has to master all stations, not just a specific one. A head chef may supervise the work of a relief cook or they may have to work as an intermediary between cooks.

Related: Your Guide to Chef Apprenticeships (And How To Get Started)

Pastry chef or patissier

This Chef de Partie handles all types of desserts, pastries and baked goods within the kitchen. While a baker will only work on already prepared baking recipes, a Pastry chef may need to work on all kinds of desserts.

Saucier or sauce chef

The saucier is respected across all stations as their role requires frequent interaction with the foods prepared by the other station chefs. They report directly to the Head or Sous chef and their work involves the preparation of gravies and sauces for all the other dishes

Related: What Are the Different Types of Chefs? (With Salaries)

Vegetable chef

Deals with the preparation of vegetables, starches, eggs and soups. You can work alongside several other chefs in this station if you work for a large establishment. This can include a potage who prepares the soups while the legume prepares vegetable dishes

The position of a Chef de Partie in the kitchen

There are several types of individuals who work in the kitchen, all of whom have different titles and roles. Some will be your seniors when you become a Chef de Partie, while others will report to you. The titles follow the French Brigade (Brigade de cuisine) system, which is designed to ensure smooth kitchen operations. The structure depends on the size of a hotel or restaurant but the basic hierarchy is as follows:

Executive chef

They are also known as the group chef and they occupy the topmost position in kitchen management. They rarely do any cooking, as their role is to manage and coordinate the activities of multiple outlets. This is why it is common for only large establishments to have them.

Head chef

This chef is also known as the Chef de Cuisine and they are in charge of any single kitchen. They manage the staff, control the use of resources, liaise with suppliers and create menus. They coordinate activities and delegate some of their work to the other chefs below them. They report directly to the executive chef.

Sous chef

The Sous-chef de Cuisine is also known as the second chef as they occupy the rank of second in command in any kitchen. They may have a similar role as the head chef, but their work is more hands-on as they are involved in most of the day-to-day operations. They also act as the head chef when the latter is on leave or is unavailable and handle the Chef de Partie's duties when needed to. Depending on the size of an establishment, it may or may not have a Sous chef and others may have more than one.

Read More: What Is a Sous-Chef? Definition and FAQs

Chef de Partie

As a Chef de Partie, you will be third in command in any kitchen, but you get to control your own sections of the kitchen. You can work alone or have assistants depending on the size of the establishment.

Commis chef

A commis chef is a junior employee typically mentored by the Chef de Partie to understand how a specific kitchen station operates. On numerous occasions, a commis chef will be an individual who is still undergoing culinary training.

Kitchen porter

A kitchen porter or kitchen hand handles rudimentary tasks within the kitchen and, on numerous occasions, is an individual without any form of culinary training. They can clean the kitchen, peel potatoes, wash salads and move equipment, among other simple duties.

Read More: How to become a kitchen porter (description and salary info)

Dishwasher

The dishwasher or escuelerie may or may not work within the kitchen depending on the size of the establishment. Their role is to clean utensils and cutlery and in some establishments, the dishwasher works within a small room adjoining the kitchen specifically designed for chores only.

How to become a Chef de Partie

The most common way to become a Chef de Partie is by completing an apprenticeship. There are varying entry requirements as different organisations have different rules, but you have completed a college-level education. You can work in the kitchen in any of the junior roles as you familiarise yourself with the environment and gain experience. You can also follow the structured path of joining a culinary school and taking the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery course.

Related: How To Write a Chef CV (With an Example)

What you need to become a Chef de Partie

If you are a quick-thinking, reliable and creative individual, you can work well as a Chef de Partie. Here are the qualifications you ought to have:

  • City & Guilds 706/1 | 706/2 professional catering

  • Professional Cookery NVQ Level 2

  • Awareness of manual handling techniques

  • Food safety awards (Level 1 and 2)

  • experience with kitchen equipment

  • 1 year of relevant experience

  • Awareness of chemical safety and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) guidelines

  • Ability to read and write in the English language

  • Experience with using dangerous kitchen equipment and utensils like knives

Related: 10 Essential Chef Skills

The following qualifications will give you an edge over other candidates but are not a requirement:

  • Level 3 food safety awards

  • Level 2 workplace health and safety award

The following are other general qualities that help you excel in the job of a Chef de Partie:

  • Know-how and capability to run a station

  • Capability to work with minimal or zero close supervision

  • Capability to supervise commis chefs

  • Team management characteristics

  • Great level of attention to detail

  • Great oral communication capability

  • Admirable numeracy level

  • Motivation to grow your skills and those of the people you work alongside

  • Adaptability to change and enthusiasm to adopt new processes and ideas

  • Positivity and an approachable personality

  • Ability to work well with a team


Explore more articles