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Commis Chef

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“Commis” is French for “assistant.”

A commis chef is the first step to becoming a head or executive chef.

They are an apprentice or assistant chef who is continuing culinary arts training under an experienced chef de partie.

Their job responsibilities include food preparation, ordering ingredients and inventory, rotating stock, and keeping a restaurant kitchen organized.

As a junior chef, commis chefs perform various cooking duties and meal preparations to develop their culinary skills while learning alongside senior chefs.

What is a Commis Chef?

Commis chefs are the foundation of any commercial restaurant kitchen and are chefs in training.

They are studying to become a head chef or executive chef.

Commis chefs are responsible for learning and organizing all aspects of food service, from preparation to serving.

A commis chef trains under a chef de partie also called station chef or line chef.

The chef de partie is the head of a kitchen station.

The commis chef’s role is to learn their assigned station while also gaining diverse experience in the culinary industry.

Also Called: A commis chef is also called a junior chef or assistant chef.

What Does a Commis Chef Do?

In their training, commis chefs learn from senior chefs about menu preparation, ordering ingredients, stocking supplies, meal preparation, food presentation, and customer service.

The station chef might change to different workstations throughout the kitchen.

The commis chef is responsible for assisting them with multiple duties at various stations.

They might be responsible for one menu item or multiple dishes.

Depending on their specialty, a commis chef could learn while multitasking alongside a sous chef and head chef.

Jobs Related to Commis Chef

Once a commis chef gains enough experience, the kitchen brigade progression is:

Work Opportunities in the Commis Chef Industry

image showing a commis chef making a dish in a kitchen

Commis Chef Job Description

The commis chef job description includes having good organization skills.

In addition, successful commis chefs are attentive to the kitchen’s needs.

They work next to the chef de partie to learn and grow as a chef.

A commis chef learns different stations in a professional kitchen and its operations, from stocking the pantry to directing traffic flow.

The commis chef role is responsible for taking inventory, ordering supplies, organizing, and basic cleaning in the kitchen.

They communicate with different chefs about the food’s appearance to meet an executive chef’s high standard.

Top Commis Chef Jobs and Careers

Commis chefs are in training to become:

  • Catering Chef
  • Pastry Chef
  • Executive or Head Chef of a Restaurant

Where Can a Commis Chef Work?

After moving up the kitchen hierarchy, commis chefs have experience working in different stations in a professional cookery and various specialties in the culinary industry.

They can work in a large commercial kitchen or a small fine dining establishment.

Depending on their specialty, there are a variety of culinary jobs that a commis chef performs.

Current Commis Chef Job Openings

Job openings exist all over California’s wine country.

There are also openings for commis chefs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Exciting cities for young chef to begin their training.

What It’s Like to be a Commis Chef

Is Being a Commis Chef Hard?

A commercial kitchen moves at a fast pace and can be a high-stress environment.

Therefore, commis chefs need to be organized and stay focused under pressure.

Is a Commis Chef Job Stressful?

The average commis chef has a high-stress level position.

They have to keep up with the fast-paced environment and be able to multitask.

They also have to be able to handle demanding customers.

A commis chef interview question might include asking about your customer service experience.

Common Commis Chef Work Day

It’s an exciting and challenging position learning all aspects of the culinary industry.

However, commis chefs must be committed to their education and training to be successful.

They must know how to cook various types of food and ensure that everything ordered is ready when it arrives at the table.

They are learning a lot about the restaurant industry and assisting the chef de partie, so they must remain calm in the stressful kitchen environment.

A commis chef’s responsibilities can vary depending on the size and type of restaurant they work in.

A typical day for a commis chef involves:

  • preparing ingredients
  • organizing stocks
  • maintaining high standards for food quality and safety
  • disposing of expired foods
  • directing kitchen traffic.

Work Hours & Schedule

Commis chefs work long hours.

For example, they might work from when the restaurant opens until closing.

Depending on a restaurant’s hours of operation, a commis chef’s schedule varies and can often be unpredictable.

Commis Chef Dress Code

Most restaurants will have their uniform dress code, so you need to check with management on what that is.

Hygiene is important so wear proper hair nets over your head and beard, if you have one.

Keep in mind you will be smelling like restaurant food after your shift.

Commis chefs typically wear the same attire as chefs.

A chef jacket, apron, and chef’s toque or chef’s hat are the standard uniforms a commis chef would wear.

Restaurant kitchen floors get wet, greasy, and slippery, so it’s imperative to wear good slip-resistant or non-slip shoes.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

A commis chef’s work-life balance is not good because they devote most of their time to learning culinary arts under the guidance of senior chefs.

Commis chefs work weekends and late hours, especially in restaurants with bars.

As a junior chefs, they are in training, so they gain experience working different shifts.

Do Commis Chef Make Good Money?

Commis chefs are in training and still learning.

They are the lowest level of chef in the kitchen, so they make the lowest salary of the kitchen chef staff.

Depending on the commis chef apprenticeship level, their salary varies.

However, commis chefs are in high demand in many kitchens because they are considered one of the most challenging positions.

How Much Do Commis Chef Make?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a commis chef in the United States is $45,359.

However, the lowest salary reported was $28,197, and the highest was $72,966.

Being a commis chef is hard work, but it is also gratifying.

Salary for commis chefs varies depending on experience.

Overview of the Commis Chef Industry

image showing a commis chef making a dish in a kitchen

Commis Chef Field: Career Progression

Commercial kitchens have an established hierarchy or kitchen brigade system.

To become a sous chef or head chef, you must start as a commis chef.

Commis chef is the foundation to becoming an executive chef.

This position is where chef training begins.

Working as a commis chef gets you on track towards becoming a head chef in a commercial kitchen.

Commis Chef Job Outlook

The restaurant industry is one of the largest employers in the country, so the outlook for a chef’s career path is promising.

People always want to experience a world-class meal, so there will always be a need for qualified commis chefs.

Demand for Commis Chef

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment projections show that demand for commis chefs appears to be about 9% growth between 2014 and 2024.

Commis Chef Facts

Beyond working in the kitchen, commis chefs gain valuable customer service experience.

As a result, they may decide to move into restaurant management or other areas of the hospitality industry.

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Commis Chefs

image showing a commis chef in a kitchen with an assistant chef helper

Who Should Consider a Commis Chef Career Path?

To be successful as a commis chef, you must have excellent cooking skills and strong management skills.  

Do not become a chef if you do not like cooking or food.

Also, keep in mind that chefs are on their feet through their shift.

Is it Hard to Become a Commis Chef?

Becoming a commis chef not hard if you love restaurant work.

A commis chef is the most junior chef in a kitchen and is responsible for preparing, serving, and cleaning up.

In contrast, the head chef or sous chef oversees the cooking.

What Do I Need to Become a Commis Chef?

Formal education is not necessarily required to be a commis chef, so a high school diploma or GED is the only education needed.

A job description might mention that you will need a food handler’s permit, so check with the restaurant you are applying to see if they offer help with permits.

Requirements for Becoming a Commis Chef

Requirements for a commis chef vary depending on the restaurant or catering company, but generally they require at least an associate’s degree in culinary arts or equivalent work experience.

What Skills Does a Commis Chef Need?

Many employers require commis chefs to have experience working in a kitchen and to have good organizational skills.

Commis chefs typically need cooking, pastry making, and salad dressing skills.

They also need good communication and organizational skills.

What Education Does a Commis Chef Need?

There is no specific education requirement for becoming a commis chef.

Still, many chefs recommend having at least some culinary school training.

What Experience Does a Commis Chef Need?

A commis chef typically has a minimum of 2 years of culinary experience or experience working in a restaurant.

Commis Chef Education & Schooling

image showing a commis chef making a dish in a kitchen

What is Taught in a Commis Chef Course?

Culinary arts classes at a community college would begin a formal education toward becoming a chef.

Some specialized culinary schools will train students in their specialties, such as pastry or gourmet cooking.

Culinary school is classroom work, reading about the art of cooking, studying techniques and methods, and practicing in commercial kitchens.

How Long Does a Commis Chef Course Take?

It only takes about two years of working in a restaurant or two years of formal education to become a commis chef.

Wrapping Up: Become a Commis Chef

Gaining experience in a commercial kitchen is the first step to becoming a commis chef.

To be a successful commis chef, you should start working in a restaurant kitchen.

Learn different stations and duties, and commit to training with a chef de partie.

If you can, take culinary classes while you gain work experience in the restaurant.

Commis chefs must be able to efficiently multitask and handle multiple assignments simultaneously, which is handy when working in a busy kitchen.

Most importantly, commis chefs must have strong culinary skills and a passion for becoming a chef.

They are in training and must be committed to learning from their chef de partie.

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