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Everything You Need to Know About the Modern Kitchen Brigade System



Have you ever wondered about how restaurants manage to cook hundreds of meals a day without taking forever to serve? Restaurant kitchens utilize an efficient system capable of producing hot meals every day and in the shortest time possible, allowing them to serve many customers at once. Otherwise, restaurants could quickly spiral into chaos.

A modern kitchen brigade system helps restaurants to stay on top of orders day in and day out. If you need a reliable and organized approach to your restaurant kitchen's operations, this comprehensive infographic has got you covered.


What is the Kitchen Brigade System?

The kitchen brigade system is a kitchen's chain of command. Its purpose is to define each task for each worker, leading to a streamlined food production process that allows for quicker food preparation with consistent results.

When properly implemented, the kitchen brigade system can:

  • Simplify food production
    The system minimizes chaos by assigning a particular task to a specific person. Remaining in dedicated workstations allows chefs and their staff to focus on individual tasks for a well-coordinated, straightforward process in the kitchen.
  • Conserve resources
    Resource management helps the team cost-effectively utilize resources—including time and energy, labor and utility assets, and goods. For instance, each chef tackles a particular duty in preparing the menu, which helps in preventing duplicated efforts.

Thought Inception

Georges-Auguste Escoffier was born in Villeneuve-Loubet, France, on Oct. 28, 1846. He was a French chef referred to as "the king of chefs and the chef of kings." He served seven years in the military, which influenced the hierarchical structure of the kitchen brigade.

As the head of the kitchens at the Carlton Hotel and the Savoy Hotel, he developed a renowned global reputation. Escoffier tallied 62 years of continuous service, regarded as a record in his field. In 1893, Escoffier met the well-known singer Nellie Melba when she stayed at the Savoy Hotel. He invented the peach Melba in her honor.

After nine years, Escoffier moved to the Carlton Hotel, where he would stay for 23 years until his retirement. During his term there, after serving the emperor of Germany, Emperor William II told him, "I am the Emperor of Germany, but you are the Emperor of Chefs." In recognition of Escoffier's addition to the prestige of French cooking abroad, he was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1920.

Traditional vs. Modern Kitchen Brigade: Key Differences

If you're looking for the best setup for your kitchen, it might be best to know the comparison between a traditional and a modern kitchen brigade. Then you can determine what positions you can forgo and retain.

Traditional Kitchen Brigade

Under Chef Escoffier's traditional kitchen brigade, there was a strict separation of tasks into different workstations. Almost every step had a specific person doing the job; dairy products – like butter and whipped cream – and condiments like ketchup were all created by hand.

Due to the lack of technology during the early days, chefs had to be creative with their techniques. Without refrigeration or the help of mixers, not only was the gastronomical experience unpolished, but it was also time-consuming.

Modern Kitchen Brigade

Today, kitchen positions have a more flexible scope. Since not all kitchens are the same, small kitchens require one person to do more work. As such, most cooks are cross-trained to work in other workstations.

With the introduction of technology, the hours-long meal times have been cut by significant numbers such that kitchens can now serve food in 30 minutes or fewer. This improvement is also thanks to the adoption of more modern practices and restaurant equipment like blenders, mixers, food processors, etc.

Read: 10 Kitchen Must-Haves for All Types of Cooks

Ingredients like butter and cream that were once hand-prepped are commercially available nowadays. Butchers and fishmongers are no longer required since restaurants often get pre-cut meats and fish from vendors.

The Structure of the Modern Kitchen Brigade

Executive Chef

The executive chef is the most senior kitchen staff. They typically have managerial roles, such as overseeing the restaurant, operations, cost management, marketing, and public relations. They may also have a hand in developing the menu. The executive chef may work the line during service, but it is more common for them to supervise for things to move along quickly, only stepping in to assist as necessary.

Chef de cuisine/Head Chef

They are in charge of the entire kitchen. In smaller restaurants, this person may have the designation of the executive chef and the same roles. In larger restaurants, the chef de cuisine reports to the executive chef.


This position expedites the processes between the dining room and the kitchen by relaying orders to the appropriate kitchen stations and checking the dishes before they leave the kitchen.


These chefs are responsible for preparing the "family meal," or the meal served to the restaurant staff before service begins. The communard reports directly to the head chef.

Sous Chef

This person is next in command after the head chef. They are heavily involved in the kitchen's day-to-day activities and are usually knowledgeable in cooking. They fill in for other positions when someone isn't available.

Larger restaurants can have multiple sous chefs ranked in hierarchical order from Executive Sous Chef to Senior Sous Chef and Junior Sous Chef.

Chef de partie/Station Chef

This role is vital in the brigade system. A chef in this position coordinates each section at busy times, making cooking and preparing food much more efficient.

This position has several categories, and each chef de partie is responsible for a particular kitchen section.

  • Saucier/Entree Chef
    The saucier is one of the most respected chefs in the kitchen and often reports directly to one of the sous chefs or the head chef. Their central role is preparing sauces for dishes prepared by other chefs. Appetizers, entrees, and even desserts use sauces.
  • Rotisseur/Roast Chef
    They are responsible for preparing roasted or braised meats on the menu, such as steak and lamb chops. The rotisseur may be responsible for finding meat from local suppliers or arranging deliveries from other retailers.
  • Poissonnier/Fish Chef
    They work in the kitchen preparing all the fish dishes. Their role may also include purchasing fresh fish from local fishers or other merchants daily and bringing in catches from outside the area to supplement the menu.
  • Entremetier/Vegetable Chef
    As the name suggests, this station processes and prepares all vegetable-related dishes, from soups to salads and egg-based platters.

    It is often divided into two separate stations: Legumier is responsible for processing, preparing, and cooking raw vegetables, while Potager is the designated person for preparing soups and soup-related menu items.
  • Garde manger/Pantry Chef
    They are in charge of most cold dishes on the menu, including salads and cold starters such as pâtés, cheese spreads, or tartars.

    The garde manger is also responsible for making extensive buffet services look presentable, often done with various decorative food items. Think food carvings with unique and artistic designs.
  • Patissier/Pastry Chef
    This station is responsible for baking goods, such as bread and pastries. Pastry chefs are known for their delicious sweet bread and croissants for breakfast, but they also know how to make sophisticated chocolates and petit fours.

Apprentis/Apprentice Chef

An apprentice is someone who learns the skills necessary for a professional career under the guidance of a more experienced individual. They ensure that the kitchen is well-maintained. Cleaning up spills, maintaining food freshness, testing cooking equipment, and preparing utensils are all part of their job.

Read: How to Hire Michelin Star-Worthy Kitchen Staff: 8 Skills to Look For

Commis/Junior Chef

A junior chef is someone who works under a station chef, learning about the kitchen environment and the different tasks that are involved in cooking. This person has recently completed some schooling or training in the culinary field and is now beginning to work.


Besides washing dishes and cleaning food equipment, the assigned staff cleans and tidies up the kitchen by scrubbing floors and wiping the counters. They ensure that the dining areas are clean for guests to enjoy their meals.

The Benefits of the Modern Kitchen Brigade

  • Maximizes efficiency and consistency
    The kitchen brigade's systematic food preparation framework enables line cooks to adapt to the food industry's fast-paced environment.
  • Saves time and money
    Since employees know their exact roles, they can clearly distinguish which tasks fall under their responsibility and which don't. An efficient team means streamlined processes with fewer errors, saving time and money for the restaurant.
  • Maintains a high level of food quality
    The restaurant can produce high-quality, good-tasting food as employees continuously perform their tasks and perfect their techniques.
  • Gives kitchen staff a clear career path
    The kitchen brigade system follows a specific hierarchy, giving each employee a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities. This delineation of assignments can also motivate employees to strive to be better at their jobs in the hopes of advancing to the next level.
  • Separates and organizes the different kitchen departments
    Having a clear distinction of roles and responsibilities makes it easier for employees to be accountable for their respective tasks and workstations, preventing mix-ups and confusion among kitchen teams.

Build Your Dream Team

If you're looking for the best strategy to realign your staff and boost their efficiency, a modern kitchen brigade can help you achieve that. You can gain many benefits from applying this system, from clear roles and responsibilities to streamlined kitchen processes and cost savings.

However, having an organized system is just one step in boosting kitchen staff productivity. You also need high-quality restaurant equipment that will enable your chefs to perform at their best. Charlie's Fixtures is a top-of-the-line restaurant equipment company that modernizes restaurant kitchens to help you and your staff consistently deliver an excellent customer dining experience.

Check out our restaurant equipment for delivery, or contact us to see how we can help.

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