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Guide to the Kitchen Brigade System

Guide to the Kitchen Brigade System

The Culinary Institute of America

The brigade system was instituted by Escoffier to streamline and simplify work in hotel kitchens. It served to eliminate the chaos and duplication of effort that could result when workers did not have clear-cut responsibilities. Under this system, each position has a station and defined responsibilities, outlined below. In smaller operations, the classic system is generally abbreviated and responsibilities are organized so as to make the best use of workspace and talents. A shortage of skilled personnel has also made modifications in the brigade system necessary. The introduction of new equipment has helped to alleviate some of the problems associated with smaller kitchen staffs.

The chef is responsible for all kitchen operations, including ordering, supervision of all stations, and development of menu items. He or she also may be known as the chef de cuisine or executive chef. The sous chef is second in command, answers to the chef, may be responsible for scheduling, fills in for the chef, and assists the station chefs (or line cooks) as neces-sary. Small operations may not have a sous chef. The range of positions in a classic brigade also include the following:

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The sauté chef (saucier) is responsible for all sautéed items and their sauces. This position is often considered the most demanding, responsible, and glamorous on the line.

The fish chef (poissonier) is responsible for fish items, often including fish butchering, and their sauces. This position is sometimes combined with the saucier position.

The roast chef (rôtisseur) is responsible for all roasted foods and related jus or other sauces.

The grill chef (grillardin is responsible for all grilled foods. This position may be combined with that of rôtisseur.

The fry chef (friturier) is responsible for all fried foods. This position may be combined with the rôtisseur position.

The vegetable chef (entremetier) is responsible for hot appetizers and frequently has responsibility for soups, vegetables, and pastas and other starches. (In a full, traditional brigade system, soups are prepared by the soup station or potager, vegetables by the legumier.) This station may also be responsible for egg dishes.