Ask Auntie

Cook or chef?

Q. What is the difference between a cook and a chef?

Asks Ramon in Singapore.

A. Hmm, not really my area, I’m much better at telling you what to do with an ingredient, but I will have a go.

A cook is someone who takes ingredients and using ideas or recipes puts them together to form a dish. Good cooks have a highly developed sense of taste and smell, they are creative and have technical skills. Someone who works in a kitchen alone or under direction, even someone who creates new recipes and dishes and regardless of the amount of experience that they have… is still a cook.

A chef on the other hand, is someone who leads a brigade of cooks, they are a commander, conductor and teacher, and their primary role aside from choosing and developing dishes to go on the menu, is to make sure that everything runs smoothly in the kitchen and to control the quality of the food that it produces.

In my opinion the two things call for very different sets of skills, you can be an average cook but a great chef or an average chef but an amazing cook.

One thought on “Cook or chef?

  • October 2, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I think that is a pretty decent definition, but I think it would be very very difficult to be a good chef without being a very good cook first.


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