Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Chef is a French word, which has entered other languages, denoting a professional cook. It is a contraction of the phrase chef de cuisine hence originally a description of rank as much as, if not more than, occupation. There are chefs in many other fields, not least chef de bureau (administration), chef d’équipe (fire-fighting, industry, or sport), chef de patrouille (scouting), or chef d’état (politics). Even within the sphere of professional catering there is the chef de rang: the waiter in charge of a group of tables in a grand restaurant.