Series finale FEB. 5th!
WATCH NOW

MHz_Choice_Logo_eyebrow_150x150

Just like any great sports team, the key to a great kitchen staff is structure and discipline. In this post, we break down the famous French brigade system found in many kitchens, hotels and restaurants — as well as in MHz Choice French drama ‘Chefs’! 


Your Chefs starting line-up for the 'Big Game'!

In MHz Choice series Chefs, we go behind the kitchen doors of the fictional restaurant Le Paris. We find the charismatic and self-destructive Chef (Clovis Cornillac) in command of a ragtag kitchen brigade struggling to maintain relevance in the ever-changing landscape of French cuisine.

Though Chefs brings us into the lives and day-to-day struggles of a fictional kitchen brigade, the French brigade system, or brigade de cuisine is very much a reality. Developed by French restauranteur Georges Auguste Escoffier, the brigade system is a kitchen management tool that positions individuals into specialized tasks.

1

chef de cuisine

1. chef de cuisine

While the number of titles and positions can vary greatly depending on the size of the establishment, the overall structure remains the same. At the top of the brigade system is the chef de cuisine, or chief of the kitchen. In the series, this position is held by the conflicted and charismatic leader known simply as Chef.

Clovis Cornillac as Le Chef (chef de cuisine )

Much like the lead in Chefs, the chef de cuisine is the face of the establishment, with most of his or her work being done behind the scenes. He is responsible for setting the menu, filling kitchen positions and working with food suppliers to establish a consistent flow of quality raw ingredients. While rarely found in the kitchen, the chef de cuisine can be seen as the puppeteer behind the stage, carefully pulling the strings of his staff.


2

sous-chef de cuisine

2. sous-chef de cuisine

Second under the chef de cuisine is the sous-chef de cuisine, or deputy kitchen chef. This position, played alternately by Yann (Nicolas Gobb) and Charlène (Joyce Bibring) in Chefs, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the kitchen. Taking a more hands-on approach, he or she is responsible for overseeing each dish leaving the kitchen, and may occasionally send a dish back to be redone. The sous-chef is also responsible for filling in for the chef de cuisine in his absence.

If the chef de cuisine can be seen as the puppeteer pulling the strings from behind the scenes, the sous-chef can be seen as the puppet, giving life and nuance to an otherwise scripted set of events.

Nicolas Gob as Yann (sous-chef de cuisine)
Joyce Birbring as Charlène (sous-chef de cuisine)

3

saucier

3. saucier

Third in the brigade system is the saucier, or sauté cook. In addition to sauces, the saucier is also responsible for the warming of hors d’oeuvres or amuse-bouches, stews and the sautéing of food to order. He is also responsible for putting the finishing touches on any meat dishes.


4

chef de partie

4. chef de partie

Fourth in the brigade system is the chef de partie, or senior chef. The chef de partie is responsible for overseeing his or her particular section of the kitchen. The number and variety of stations in a given kitchen depends on the size of the establishment, as do the number of heads each chef de partie may oversee. Smaller establishments may combine several stations under one chef de partie, while larger establishments may have junior and senior positions at each station. A few examples of the stations a chef de partie could oversee are: butcher chef, fish chef, fry chef, grill chef, pantry chef, roast chef, vegetable chef and pastry chef.



5

commis chef

5. commis chef

Fifth in the brigade system is the commis chef, or junior cook. This chef reports to and works directly under the chef de partie and is responsible for maintaining the tools of his or her given station. Played by the aloof Romain (Hugo Becker) in Chefs, the commis chef can be seen as the chef de cuisine in training. Honing his chops at the bottom of the ladder, every chef de cuisine gets their start as a commis chef.

Hugo Becker as Romain (commis chef)

6

plongeur

6. plongeur

Last but not least in the in brigade system is the plongeur, or dishwasher. After all, what is a restaurant without sparkling dishes?

Much like the working hierarchy of a kitchen brings disparate elements of food together to create a masterpiece for the palette, Chefs brings the elements of jealousy, ambition, art, ego and excellence together in a high-stakes drama not for the faint of heart. Or the hungry.


You Might Also Like:

 MHz Choice is available in the U.S. & Canada. Free 30-day trial then $7.99/mo. Subscribe at mhzchoice.com.