Cooking Stations Explained: Understanding a Gourmet Kitchen (2023)

Cooking Stations Explained: Understanding a Gourmet Kitchen (1)

The terms ‘Executive Chef/Chef de Cuisine’ and ‘Sous Chef’ are familiar to most people. The former is responsible for menu planning and runs the kitchen at the most senior level, while the latter oversees all food preparation and manages staff. But there are numerous other careers within a professional kitchen worthy of acclaim and just as essential to the running of such an outfit.

What follows is a depiction of the most common cooking stations within a professional kitchen space, outlining the roles of each chef along with the right tools they need in their culinary arsenal to perform their job to the highest of standards.

The Purpose of Cooking Stations

Historically, large fine-dining kitchens modelled their structure on that of the army or navy where jobs were broken down into clearly defined and structured subdivisions – known as the brigade system.

Cooking Stations Explained: Understanding a Gourmet Kitchen (2)

In cooking, these subdivisions are referred to as ‘stations’ run by a lead chef responsible for reporting back to the executive chef. This structure ensures kitchens work optimally when producing large amounts of dishes to impeccable standards.

Today, not many professional kitchens employ the full brigade system (or all cooking stations). However, many operate on a modified version and retain the traditional names. It is by far the most efficient way of working, especially when one considers the timing needed to execute dishes to a standard worthy of fine dining.

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The Types of Cooking Stations

The combination of stations in a kitchen is highly dependent upon two things:

  1. The Restaurant’s Cuisine

What food the restaurant cooks and serves dictates the type of cooking stations they need. For example, an upscale seafood restaurant will require a Poissonnier station equipped with a fryer and grill station but will not have any use for a Rotisseur, which is primarily used for roasting meats. Conversely, a restaurant focused on meat such as steaks or prime ribs would have no need for a Poissonnier station.

  1. The Size of the Kitchen

Larger establishments, such as grand hotels, operate on a full brigade system with all stations in operation. Smaller restaurants may not have the space, staff or budget to employ such a system so combine multiple stations into one and assign them to a single chef. For instance, the Entremetier station may be responsible for all vegetable, egg and soups dishes rather than relying on a separate Legumier and Potager station.

Here is a brief explanation of some of the most common stations used in professional culinary establishments throughout the world today.

The Saucier Station

As the name implies, a saucier is responsible for the creation of sauces. In some cuisines - such as French - the sauce is the star of the culinary show, bringing together often disparate elements and textures to imbue one harmonious flavor.

In addition to sauces, a saucier also prepares all pan fried and sautéed items (food fried briefly in hot oil or other fat using the technique of ‘jumping’ or ‘bouncing’ the food to avoid it stewing).

There is much scope for creativity in this important role but it is also a highly pressurized one due to the need to adhere to tight time constraints. Sauces can take many hours to perfect and as they are required to finish dishes, the saucier’s timing must be impeccable. Sautéed items are also often done to order so a saucier must be adept at managing competing tasks.

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Type of food a saucier cooks:

  • Sauces (ie Hollandaise, vinaigrette, Chateaubriand, ponzu, butterscotch, applesauce etc)
  • Gravies (rich meat flavored sauces, usually tended to for hours to create a depth of flavor)
  • Sautéed items (anything from vegetables to small pieces of meat)
  • Hot hors d'oeuvres or appetizers
  • Stews

What Equipment does a Saucier Chef need?

Apart from the right set of knives, there are two further essential items in a saucier’s cooking toolkit:

Sauté pan:

Coming in a variety of sizes, a sauté pan is quite shallow with a large, flat bottom and straight sides. The flat bottom ensures there is enough room for all the food to fit in one layer while sautéing, avoiding food over-crowding which leads to stewing and/or steaming. The wide, flat bottom aids in ‘jumping’ the food, a technique many professional sauciers use. It also provides even heat distribution, vital when sautéing food items.

Saucier pan

This is not to be confused with saucepan. Traditional saucepans have deep straight walls with a rounded bottom. Saucier pans offer flared walls with a rounded bowl-shape bottom and a wider mouth. This bowl-like shape is key in producing the finest sauces, allowing the chef whisk and stir constantly without the worry of food catching in corners. These pans are purpose-built for reducing sauces hence their name.


The Poissonnier Station

Cooking Stations Explained: Understanding a Gourmet Kitchen (3)

The name Poissonnier comes from the French word ‘fish’ so it stands to reason this chef is responsible for preparing all fish and seafood dishes. In some kitchens, this includes sourcing fresh fish and seafood each day.

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Type of food a Poissonnier cooks:

  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Accompanying Sauces

What Equipment does a Poissonnier need?

Apart from the correct pots and pans, a possionier’s main ally in the kitchen are the right fish and seafood knives. In some cuisines - such as Japanese - the ability to create the finest fish slices is of utmost importance, both for aesthetics and flavor. Investing in a set such as the Kanpeki Knife Set is paramount to a poissonnier’s trade.

A poissonnier’s knife set should include:

  1. A Chef or Santoku Knife – perfect for creating fine slices
  2. A paring knife – ideal for deveining prawns and separating scallops from their shell
  3. A boning knife – essential for filleting and boning
  4. An oyster shucker – to enable safe shelling

The Rotisseur Station

Cooking Stations Explained: Understanding a Gourmet Kitchen (4)

The chef in charge of this station must be a culinary meat master. They will be tasked with cooking all red and white meat utilizing a variety of cooking methods. While the name ‘rotisseur’ suggests roasting is the primary one, this is not in fact true. A rotisseur will also grill but often braise meats too, using a quick sear to lock in flavor and then a long, slow roast either on the stove or in the oven.

A rotisseur is highly skilled in the chemical makeup of proteins so fully understands how best to prepare certain cuts to draw out maximum flavor. They may also be in charge of sourcing produce and also employing their supreme knife skills to either butcher or carve meat - or sometimes both.

Type of food a rotisseur cooks:

  • all cuts of meat (pork, beef, chicken and other game)
  • marinades – must understand which marinades work best with certain meats

What Equipment does a Rotisseur need?

Once again, a keen understanding of kitchen knife types and using the correct ones is of utmost importance here. After all, the right cut has an inordinate amount of impact on the final outcome of the dish.

Some important knives for a rotisseur include:

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  1. A chef or Santoku knife – very versatile in creating anything from fine slices through to rough chops
  2. A utility knife – similar to the above but more adept at producing even slices
  3. A cleaver – for chopping large meat bones
  4. A boning knife – essential for de-boning and butterflying
  5. A paring knife – good for stripping fine pieces of meat (ie when frenching lamb cutlets)
  6. A carving knife – produces even slices, preserving the flavor of roasted meats

The Entremetier Station (often includes a Legumier and Potager Station)

Cooking Stations Explained: Understanding a Gourmet Kitchen (5)

Generally speaking, an entremetier is a vegetable chef responsible for the preparation of dishes that do not involve meat, fish or seafood. This includes egg-based dishes. In larger kitchens, an entremetier often runs the station by overseeing both a legumier chef (all vegetable dishes) and a potager chef (all soup-based dishes).

Types of food an entremetier, legumier and potager cooks:

  • vegetable-based dishes
  • soups
  • stock

What Equipment does a Entremetier, Legumier and Potager need?

Aside from essentials such as sauté pans and heavy-based soups pots, the entremetier station should be well-stocked with a wide selection of knives to be able to create the right cuts, particularly when employing finer cutting techniques, such as sengiri to enhance dish presentation in Japanese cuisine or brunoise for consommé.

A recommended selection of knives include:

  1. A chef or Santoku knife – very versatile in creating anything from fine slices through to rough chops
  2. A utility knife – similar to the above but more adept at producing even slices
  3. A cleaver – for chopping large vegetables such as melons
  4. A paring knife – good for intricate cuts and shaping vegetables for garnish

The Pâtissier Station

A Pâtissier or pastry chef prepares all sweet items including desserts for their restaurant. In smaller kitchens, they may also be tasked with producing pasta, bread and other baked goods. Some larger restaurants or specialty cake shops may also employ a separate decorator responsible for creating sophisticated embellishes for cakes such as chocolate carvings or complicated sugar work.

Type of food a Pâtissier cooks:

  • Desserts
  • Baked goods including bread
  • Pasta
  • Decorations for cakes

What Equipment does a Pâtissier need?

For those skilled in the intricate art of pastries, cake making and plated desserts, a full set of kitchen pots, pans and specialty utensils – such as sugar thermometers – is vital. Knife-wise, a chef, paring and bread/cake knife are indispensable both during production of such goods as well as in their sophisticated finishings.

That is a brief inventory of the main cooking stations and their chefs as found in the majority of professional kitchens in restaurants around the world. A finely honed establishment can only be as good as the masters working in their kitchens and as evidenced in this article, each one plays a pivotal role in achieving this.

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FAQs

What makes a kitchen a gourmet kitchen? ›

What is a gourmet kitchen? It's a state-of-the-art culinary setup that's equipped with a large range of special features, appliances, and accessories that make cooking gourmet, exotic, and specialty foods from scratch in your own kitchen a reality.

What is the difference between a chef kitchen and a gourmet kitchen? ›

A gourmet kitchen is a more casual version of a high-end kitchen, designed for a serious cook who wants to prepare quality meals for the family and impress dinner guests with elaborate meals, but who does not need all the professional-level equipment that's a must for a chef's kitchen.

What qualifies something as gourmet? ›

Gourmet food is any food of high quality and/or rarity, crafted to deliver exquisite taste and presented in a pleasing fashion. Ingredients that are rare or hard to cultivate on one continent, thus considered gourmet, can be common on another.

What are the seven major stations in a classical kitchen? ›

This reorganization divided the kitchen into departments, or stations, based on the kinds of foods produced.
...
The major positions are as follows:
  • Chef. The chef is the person in charge of the kitchen. ...
  • Chef De Cuisine. ...
  • Sous Chef. ...
  • Station Chef/Chef De Partie (CDP) ...
  • Cooks and Assistants.
5 Apr 2022

What is the hierarchy in a kitchen brigade? ›

What is the hierarchy in a kitchen brigade? Like a general is the head of the army, an executive chef is the head of the kitchen in a restaurant. According to the kitchen brigade system, the chef de cuisine is second-in-command to the executive chef.

How many stations are there in a kitchen? ›

Station Chefs

There are 10 basic stations in the Brigade kitchen, each with its own chef.

How does the kitchen brigade system work? ›

What Is a Kitchen Brigade? The kitchen brigade system (brigade de cuisine) is a hierarchical system that delineates responsibility for each station in a professional kitchen. The system is attributed to Georges Auguste Escoffier, who first instituted it in the kitchen at London's Savoy Hotel.

How do I convert to gourmet kitchen? ›

Here are the 7 Gourmet Kitchen Ideas that make a kitchen gourmet:
  1. Install a High-End Cooking Range in Your Gourmet Kitchen.
  2. Opt for a Double Oven.
  3. Choose a Sustainable Flooring Option.
  4. Go for Easy-to-Clean Surfaces.
  5. Install Lighting Features Where Needed.
  6. Consider Warm Colors.
  7. Promote Organization.
8 Jan 2014

What is a second kitchen called? ›

A scullery is generally an additional small kitchen, a second kitchen, used for the dirty work of cleaning and storing dishes. A scullery kitchen provides more workspace and, today, may also conceal messy cooking and cleaning activities from the main kitchen.

What is a chef's kiss? ›

Noun. chef's kiss (plural chef's kisses) A gesture in which the fingers and thumb of one hand are pinched together, kissed, and then blown away, signifying that something is delicious or exquisite. quotations ▼

What is the definition of a gourmet cook? ›

A gourmet chef has a very high level of skill in preparing food and making good use of the finest ingredients. The chef may be talented in creating new dishes and using innovative techniques. Skill in the presentation of food on the plate also defines a gourmet chef.

What is fancy cooking called? ›

Gourmet (US: /ɡɔːrˈmeɪ/, UK: /ˈɡɔːrmeɪ/) is a cultural ideal associated with the culinary arts of fine food and drink, or haute cuisine, which is characterized by refined, even elaborate preparations and presentations of aesthetically balanced meals of several contrasting, often quite rich courses.

Are gourmet meals healthy? ›

If you have a busy lifestyle and are wanting meals that are nutritious, low in fat and high in protein to help you reach your weight loss goals, Gourmet Meals is the answer. Gourmet Meals offer a vast selection of delicious, healthy meals that are prepared from the highest quality local produce.

What type of chef is Gordon Ramsay? ›

His restaurant group, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, was founded in 1997 and has been awarded 17 Michelin stars overall; it currently holds a total of seven.
...
Gordon Ramsay.
Gordon Ramsay OBE
Culinary career
Cooking styleEuropean
Rating(s) Michelin Stars The Good Food Guide AA Rosettes
9 more rows

What is a Level 5 chef? ›

Cook (tradesperson) Grade 4 (wage level 5) A demi chef or equivalent who has completed an apprenticeship* or has passed the appropriate trade test* and who is engaged to perform general or specialised cooking, butchering, baking or pastry cooking duties or supervises and trains other cooks and kitchen employees.

What is the difference between a chef and a cook? ›

According to the Cambridge dictionary, a cook is 'someone who prepares and cooks food', while a chef is 'a skilled and trained cook who works in a hotel or restaurant'. These definitions imply that a chef is a type of cook, but they differ in that a chef has developed learned skills, and has undergone training.

How do I convert to gourmet kitchen? ›

Here are the 7 Gourmet Kitchen Ideas that make a kitchen gourmet:
  1. Install a High-End Cooking Range in Your Gourmet Kitchen.
  2. Opt for a Double Oven.
  3. Choose a Sustainable Flooring Option.
  4. Go for Easy-to-Clean Surfaces.
  5. Install Lighting Features Where Needed.
  6. Consider Warm Colors.
  7. Promote Organization.
8 Jan 2014

How much does it cost to build a gourmet kitchen? ›

Kitchen Cost Per Square Foot

An inexpensive kitchen costs about $5,000 to $10,000. A mid-range kitchen costs about $11,000 to $28,000. A luxury kitchen costs more than $29,000, with an average of $45,000.

What is the definition of an eat in kitchen? ›

An eat-in kitchen is by definition a room in the house or apartment, where, in addition to the kitchenette, there is also a dining area– thus, it is also known as a “kitchen living room” or “kitchen dining room.” Unlike the open kitchen, which forms a structural unit with the living-dining area, the eat-in kitchen has ...

Where should a stove be placed in a kitchen? ›

All the objects inside the kitchen represent fire, so gas stoves, cylinders, microwave ovens, toasters, among other appliances should be placed in the south-east part of the kitchen. Also, these items should be placed in a manner which will compel a person to face the east while cooking.

How much does a chef kitchen cost? ›

Installing a chef's kitchen does tend to be very expensive. While costs vary greatly by location, a good chef's kitchen will cost between $50,000 and $100,000. Many top-of-the-line refrigerators and ovens start at $6,000. Another drawback is that it's a big room that needs lots of attention and constant cleanup.

How much should a 10x10 kitchen remodel cost? ›

On average, a 10×10 kitchen remodel costs between $15,000 and $30,000 or $75 to $150 per square foot. Most homeowners spend around $17,280 and $32,803 or $80 to $200 per square foot. Further, the total 10×10 kitchen remodel cost varies depending on various factors. For many homes, a 10×10 kitchen is an average size.

How much is a kitchen remodel 2022? ›

Based on national averages, for a typical, medium-sized space (120 sqft), a full, rip-and-replace kitchen remodel will range from $21,000 to $84,000 and up, depending on finishes. This estimate includes all materials, labor, overhead, and a standard general contractor margin.

How much does an open concept kitchen cost? ›

For an open floor plan, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000 (depending on the size and structure of the space) – and goes up from there if the structure of a second story is involved.

What is EIK kitchen? ›

eik: Eat-in-kitchen: a kitchen large enough to hold a table and chairs.

What is the table in the kitchen called? ›

Kitchen island tables are typically placed at the center of the kitchen and beneath a source of light—like a chandelier, pendants or track lighting.

What is dining area in kitchen called? ›

For informal daily meals, most medium size houses and larger will have a space adjacent to the kitchen where table and chairs can be placed, larger spaces are often known as a dinette while a smaller one is called a breakfast nook.

Where should the fridge go in the kitchen? ›

The fridge should always be located in close proximity to a bench with ample available space. This will allow grocery loading to be prompt, meaning the door is open for a lesser amount of time, and when gathering ingredients for food preparation one can easily grab what is required and place down promptly on the bench.

Where should water pots be placed in kitchen? ›

4. Where should water pots be placed in the kitchen? Water pots and other utensils should be placed in the northeast corner of the kitchen. 5.

Can a fridge be next to a stove? ›

The short answer is yes. A stove can be right next to a refrigerator, especially in a very small kitchen. However, it's not the best placement for two appliances that serve the opposite functions, to cool and to heat.

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