Top 37 Slang For Chef – Meaning & Usage

Being a chef is not just about cooking delicious food; it’s a lifestyle filled with passion, creativity, and a language all its own. From the bustling kitchen to the prestigious culinary schools, there are countless words and phrases that only those in the culinary world truly understand. In this article, we’ve gathered the top slang for chef that will have you feeling like a seasoned pro in no time. So whether you’re a professional chef or just love spending time in the kitchen, get ready to expand your culinary vocabulary and impress your friends with your newfound chef slang knowledge.

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1. Sous

This term refers to the second-in-command in a professional kitchen. The sous chef assists the head chef in managing the kitchen, supervising staff, and ensuring smooth operations.

  • For example, a chef might say, “I need the sous to prepare the sauce while I work on the main course.”
  • In a restaurant review, a critic might mention, “The sous chef’s attention to detail really shone through in the dishes.”
  • A kitchen staff member might ask, “Should I take this issue to the head chef or the sous chef?”

2. Chef de Partie

Also known as a station chef, this term refers to a chef who is in charge of a particular section or station in the kitchen. They are responsible for preparing and cooking specific types of food.

  • For instance, a chef de partie might be in charge of the grill station in a restaurant.
  • In a discussion about kitchen hierarchy, someone might say, “The chef de partie is a crucial role in maintaining efficiency.”
  • A chef might instruct the chef de partie, “Make sure the steaks are cooked to medium-rare perfection.”

3. Line Cook

A line cook is a chef who works in a specific station on the cooking line in a professional kitchen. They are responsible for preparing and cooking various dishes according to the chef’s instructions and recipes.

  • For example, a line cook might work on the pasta station in an Italian restaurant.
  • In a conversation about kitchen roles, someone might ask, “Are you a line cook or a prep cook?”
  • A chef might give feedback to a line cook, “Your plating skills have really improved. Keep up the good work!”

4. Expediter

An expediter is a chef or kitchen staff member who coordinates and communicates between the kitchen and the front of house staff. They ensure that orders are prepared and delivered in a timely manner.

  • For instance, an expediter might call out orders to the line cooks and communicate with the servers.
  • In a busy restaurant, an expediter might say, “We need those appetizers ready ASAP!”
  • A chef might rely on the expediter to keep things organized and running smoothly during a hectic dinner rush.

5. Mise en place

This term refers to the practice of preparing and organizing all necessary ingredients and equipment before cooking. It involves prepping, measuring, and arranging ingredients to ensure a smooth cooking process.

  • For example, a chef might say, “Make sure your mise en place is ready before we start cooking.”
  • In a cooking tutorial, the instructor might emphasize the importance of mise en place for efficiency.
  • A chef might teach a novice cook, “Mise en place is the key to staying organized and keeping your kitchen clean.”

6. Executive Chef

The executive chef is the highest-ranking chef in a professional kitchen. They are responsible for overseeing the entire kitchen operation, including menu planning, staff management, and ensuring the quality of the food.

  • For example, a restaurant might advertise, “Come taste the creations of our talented executive chef.”
  • In a cooking competition show, the host might introduce a challenge by saying, “Today, our executive chefs will battle it out for the title of Top Chef.”
  • A culinary student might aspire to become an executive chef and say, “I want to run my own kitchen and be known as a top chef in the industry.”

The head chef is the chef in charge of a specific kitchen or section within a kitchen. They oversee the day-to-day operations, manage the kitchen staff, and ensure that dishes are prepared and served according to the restaurant’s standards.

  • For instance, a restaurant might have a head chef for the hot kitchen and another for the pastry section.
  • In a busy kitchen, the head chef might give instructions to the line cooks, saying, “Make sure the steaks are cooked to medium-rare before plating.”
  • A culinary school instructor might explain the role of a head chef by saying, “The head chef is like the captain of a ship, guiding the kitchen team to success.”

8. Chef’s Table

The chef’s table is a special dining experience where guests sit at a table located in or near the kitchen. It offers a unique opportunity to interact with the chef, watch the culinary creations being prepared, and enjoy a customized menu.

  • For example, a high-end restaurant might offer a chef’s table experience for special occasions.
  • A food critic might write a review, saying, “The chef’s table at this restaurant provides an intimate and unforgettable dining experience.”
  • A food enthusiast might share their experience, saying, “I had the privilege of dining at the chef’s table and witnessing the artistry of the kitchen firsthand.”

9. Michelin Star

A Michelin star is a prestigious award given to exceptional restaurants by the Michelin Guide. It is a symbol of culinary excellence and is highly coveted by chefs and restaurants around the world.

  • For instance, a restaurant might proudly display their Michelin star rating on their website or signage.
  • A food blogger might write a post, saying, “I had the privilege of dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant and the experience was truly remarkable.”
  • A chef might aspire to earn a Michelin star and say, “My ultimate goal is to create dishes worthy of a Michelin star and be recognized for my culinary skills.”

10. Farm-to-Table

Farm-to-table refers to a culinary philosophy and movement that emphasizes using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in restaurant menus. It promotes sustainable agriculture, supports local farmers, and aims to provide diners with fresh and flavorful dishes.

  • For example, a restaurant might advertise, “Our farm-to-table menu features ingredients sourced directly from local farms.”
  • A chef might explain their approach, saying, “I believe in the importance of knowing where our food comes from and supporting local farmers.”
  • A food enthusiast might appreciate a farm-to-table restaurant and say, “I love the taste and quality of the ingredients used in farm-to-table dishes.”

11. Foodie

A foodie is someone who has a passionate interest in food and enjoys exploring different cuisines and dining experiences. The term is often used to describe someone who is knowledgeable about food and seeks out unique and high-quality culinary experiences.

  • For example, a foodie might say, “I love trying new restaurants and discovering hidden food gems in the city.”
  • A food blogger might write, “As a foodie, I’m always on the lookout for the best street food in town.”
  • Someone might ask, “Are there any foodie-friendly events happening this weekend?”

12. Culinary School

Culinary school refers to an educational institution that offers specialized training in the culinary arts. It is a place where aspiring chefs and cooks learn various cooking techniques, culinary skills, and gain knowledge about different cuisines.

  • For instance, a student might say, “I’m currently enrolled in culinary school to become a professional chef.”
  • A chef might recommend, “If you want to pursue a career in the culinary industry, attending a reputable culinary school is a great starting point.”
  • Someone might ask, “Can you recommend any good culinary schools in the area?”

13. BOHICA

BOHICA is an acronym that stands for “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.” It is a slang term used in the culinary industry to express frustration or resignation when faced with a difficult or challenging situation.

  • For example, a chef might say, “We’re short-staffed tonight, so it’s going to be a BOHICA kind of shift.”
  • A line cook might vent, “BOHICA, the dish pit is overflowing again.”
  • Someone might joke, “BOHICA is the unofficial motto of every busy restaurant.”

14. 86

In the culinary world, the term “86” is used to indicate that an item or ingredient is no longer available or out of stock. It originated from the restaurant industry and is commonly used by chefs, servers, and kitchen staff.

  • For instance, a server might inform a customer, “I’m sorry, but the salmon dish is 86ed for tonight.”
  • A chef might say, “We need to 86 the shrimp special, we ran out of fresh shrimp.”
  • Someone might ask, “Do you have any vegetarian options or are they all 86ed?”

15. Expo

In a restaurant kitchen, the term “expo” refers to the expediter, who is responsible for coordinating the flow of food from the kitchen to the dining area. The expo ensures that each dish is properly prepared, garnished, and presented before it is served to the customers.

  • For example, a chef might say, “The expo is in charge of quality control and ensuring all orders are complete.”
  • A line cook might ask, “When will the expo be ready to receive the next round of tickets?”
  • Someone might observe, “The expo’s role is crucial in maintaining a smooth service and timely delivery of food.”

16. Brigade

The term “brigade” refers to the team of chefs and kitchen staff working together in a professional kitchen. It is a hierarchical system where each member has specific roles and responsibilities.

  • For example, a chef might say, “The brigade is divided into different stations such as sauté, grill, and pastry.”
  • In a discussion about kitchen organization, someone might explain, “The brigade system ensures efficient workflow and coordination.”
  • A culinary student might learn about the brigade system in class and say, “I’m excited to join a brigade and gain practical experience in a real kitchen.”

17. Plating

Plating refers to the process of arranging and presenting food on a plate or dish. It involves careful placement of food items, garnishes, and sauces to create an appealing and visually appealing dish.

  • For instance, a chef might say, “The plating of this dish needs to be elegant and visually stunning.”
  • In a cooking competition, a judge might criticize a contestant’s plating and comment, “The dish lacks proper plating and looks messy.”
  • A food blogger might write, “The restaurant’s attention to detail in plating their dishes is commendable.”

18. Grill cook

A grill cook is a chef who specializes in cooking food on a grill or barbecue. They are responsible for grilling various types of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients to perfection.

  • For example, a chef might say, “We need a skilled grill cook to handle the steak orders.”
  • In a restaurant, a customer might ask, “Can I speak to the grill cook? I want my burger cooked medium-rare.”
  • A culinary student interested in grilling might say, “I want to become a grill cook and master the art of grilling different types of meats.”

19. Chef de cuisine

Chef de cuisine is a French term that translates to “head chef” in English. It refers to the chef in charge of a kitchen, responsible for overseeing all culinary operations, menu planning, and managing the kitchen staff.

  • For instance, a restaurant owner might say, “Our chef de cuisine has years of experience in Michelin-starred restaurants.”
  • In a fine dining establishment, a server might introduce the chef de cuisine to a table and say, “Allow me to introduce our talented head chef.”
  • A culinary school instructor might explain, “The chef de cuisine is responsible for maintaining the quality and consistency of dishes served in the restaurant.”

20. Sous chef

A sous chef is the second-in-command in a professional kitchen, working directly under the head chef. They assist the chef de cuisine in various tasks, including food preparation, recipe development, and kitchen management.

  • For example, a head chef might say, “I rely on my sous chef to handle the day-to-day operations in the kitchen.”
  • In a restaurant, a customer might request to speak to the sous chef and say, “I have a special dietary restriction. Can the sous chef accommodate my needs?”
  • A culinary student aspiring to become a head chef might say, “I’m currently working as a sous chef to gain valuable experience and learn from the best.”

21. Chef’s whites

Refers to the traditional white uniform worn by chefs in the kitchen. It typically consists of a white double-breasted jacket, white pants, and a white chef hat. The term “chef’s whites” is used to describe the distinctive attire of a chef.

  • For example, a chef might say, “I need to change into my chef’s whites before starting my shift.”
  • In a discussion about kitchen attire, someone might ask, “Why do chefs wear those white uniforms?”
  • A cooking show host might comment, “The contestants are all dressed in their chef’s whites, ready to compete.”

22. Culinary artist

Describes a chef who approaches cooking as an art form and uses their culinary skills to create visually stunning and innovative dishes. The term “culinary artist” emphasizes the creativity and artistic expression involved in the culinary field.

  • For instance, a food critic might write, “The chef at this restaurant is a true culinary artist, turning simple ingredients into edible masterpieces.”
  • In a conversation about different cooking styles, someone might say, “I consider myself more of a culinary artist than a traditional chef.”
  • A chef might introduce themselves by saying, “I’m Chef John, a culinary artist specializing in fusion cuisine.”

23. Food wizard

Refers to a chef who has exceptional culinary skills and knowledge, often able to create amazing dishes seemingly out of thin air. The term “food wizard” highlights the chef’s ability to work culinary magic in the kitchen.

  • For example, a food blogger might write, “This restaurant’s head chef is a true food wizard, constantly surprising diners with their innovative creations.”
  • In a discussion about talented chefs, someone might say, “I’ve heard Chef Sarah is a food wizard, able to transform ordinary ingredients into extraordinary dishes.”
  • A cooking show host might exclaim, “Watch closely as our food wizard chef prepares a dish that will leave you spellbound!”

24. Kitchen maestro

Describes a chef who is highly skilled and experienced in the culinary arts, able to orchestrate the kitchen and its operations with precision and expertise. The term “kitchen maestro” emphasizes the chef’s ability to lead and manage the kitchen like a conductor leading an orchestra.

  • For instance, a restaurant owner might say, “Our head chef is a kitchen maestro, ensuring every dish that leaves the kitchen is of the highest quality.”
  • In a conversation about successful chefs, someone might comment, “To run a successful restaurant, you need a kitchen maestro at the helm.”
  • A chef might introduce themselves by saying, “I’m Chef Michael, a kitchen maestro with over 20 years of experience in the industry.”

25. Gastronomic genius

Refers to a chef who has exceptional knowledge and expertise in the field of gastronomy, able to create extraordinary and innovative dishes that push the boundaries of taste and presentation. The term “gastronomic genius” highlights the chef’s ability to think outside the box and create culinary masterpieces.

  • For example, a food critic might write, “The chef at this restaurant is a true gastronomic genius, constantly surprising diners with their unique flavor combinations.”
  • In a discussion about influential chefs, someone might say, “Ferran Adrià is a gastronomic genius, revolutionizing the culinary world with his molecular gastronomy techniques.”
  • A cooking show host might introduce a guest chef by saying, “Joining us today is a gastronomic genius, known for their innovative approach to cooking.”

26. Cuisine virtuoso

This term refers to a chef who is highly skilled and knowledgeable in the art of cooking. A cuisine virtuoso is someone who can create exceptional dishes and is well-versed in various culinary techniques.

  • For example, a food critic might describe a chef as a “cuisine virtuoso” for their ability to create innovative and delicious dishes.
  • In a restaurant kitchen, a chef might praise a colleague by saying, “You’re a true cuisine virtuoso. Your dishes are always perfection.”
  • A cooking show host might introduce a guest chef as a “cuisine virtuoso” known for their expertise in a specific cuisine.
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27. Kitchen rockstar

This term is used to describe a chef who is exceptionally talented and skilled in the kitchen. A kitchen rockstar is someone who can handle high-pressure situations, create incredible dishes, and consistently deliver outstanding results.

  • For instance, a restaurant owner might say, “We have a team of kitchen rockstars who work tirelessly to create unforgettable dining experiences.”
  • In a culinary competition, a judge might comment, “This dish was prepared by a true kitchen rockstar. The flavors and presentation are outstanding.”
  • A chef might refer to themselves as a “kitchen rockstar” when talking about their passion for cooking and dedication to their craft.

28. Commis Chef

This term refers to a junior or apprentice chef who works under the guidance of a more experienced chef. A commis chef is responsible for assisting with food preparation, learning culinary techniques, and gaining hands-on experience in a professional kitchen.

  • For example, a head chef might assign tasks to a commis chef and say, “As a commis chef, your role is to assist with mise en place and learn from the senior chefs.”
  • In a culinary school, a student might aspire to become a commis chef as their first step towards a successful culinary career.
  • A chef might mention their experience as a commis chef when discussing their culinary journey and the importance of starting from the bottom.

29. Cuisinier

This term is the French word for “chef” and is often used to refer to a professional cook or chef in French cuisine. Cuisinier is a title that signifies expertise and proficiency in the culinary arts.

  • For instance, a French restaurant might have a sign that says “Cuisinier” to indicate the presence of a skilled chef in the kitchen.
  • In a culinary school, students might learn about the role of a cuisinier in French culinary traditions and techniques.
  • A chef might describe themselves as a “cuisinier” when highlighting their specialization in French cuisine.
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30. Grillardin

This term refers to a chef who specializes in grilling and cooking food on a grill. A grillardin is responsible for preparing grilled dishes, ensuring proper cooking temperatures, and achieving desired flavors and textures.

  • For example, a steakhouse might have a grillardin who is in charge of grilling steaks to perfection.
  • In a restaurant kitchen, a chef might call out to the grillardin and say, “We need those grilled vegetables for table three.”
  • A chef might mention their experience as a grillardin when discussing their expertise in cooking with fire and smoke.

31. Poissonnier

A poissonnier is a chef who specializes in cooking fish and seafood dishes. They are responsible for preparing and cooking fish to perfection.

  • For example, in a seafood restaurant, the poissonnier might prepare dishes like grilled salmon or seared scallops.
  • A chef might say, “Our poissonnier is known for his expertise in creating delicate fish dishes.”
  • In a kitchen, a cook might ask, “Can the poissonnier help me with this fish fillet?”

32. Rotisseur

A rotisseur is a chef who specializes in roasting meats. They are skilled in preparing and cooking various types of meat, ensuring that it is tender and flavorful.

  • For instance, a rotisseur might be responsible for roasting a whole chicken or a prime rib.
  • A chef might say, “Our rotisseur knows how to achieve the perfect char on a roast.”
  • In a restaurant, a customer might compliment the rotisseur by saying, “The roast beef was cooked to perfection.”

33. Patissier

A patissier is a chef who specializes in making pastries, desserts, and baked goods. They have extensive knowledge of baking techniques and create delicious sweet treats.

  • For example, a patissier might make croissants, cakes, and macarons.
  • A chef might say, “Our patissier creates stunning and delicious desserts that are works of art.”
  • A customer might praise the patissier by saying, “The pastries made by the patissier are simply divine.”

34. Tournant

A tournant is a versatile chef who is able to work in various stations in the kitchen. They can fill in for other chefs and assist wherever they are needed.

  • For instance, a tournant might work on the appetizer station one day and the grill station the next.
  • A chef might say, “Our tournant is a valuable member of the team, always ready to step in and help.”
  • In a busy kitchen, a cook might ask, “Can the tournant assist me with plating these dishes?”

35. Expeditor

An expeditor is a chef who acts as a liaison between the kitchen and the serving staff. They ensure that orders are prepared and plated correctly, and that they are delivered to the customers in a timely manner.

  • For example, an expeditor might call out orders to the cooks and check the quality of the dishes before they are sent out.
  • A chef might say, “Our expeditor keeps the kitchen running smoothly and ensures that every dish meets our standards.”
  • In a busy restaurant, a server might ask, “Can the expeditor check on table 5’s order?”

36. Celebrity Chef

A celebrity chef is a professional chef who has gained fame and recognition for their culinary skills and achievements. They often have their own television shows, cookbooks, and restaurants, and are known for their unique cooking styles and personalities.

  • For example, Gordon Ramsay is a well-known celebrity chef who has multiple Michelin-starred restaurants and has appeared on various cooking shows.
  • A food enthusiast might say, “I love watching celebrity chefs compete on cooking competitions.”
  • In a discussion about cooking trends, someone might mention, “Celebrity chefs have popularized farm-to-table dining.”

37. Michelin Chef

A Michelin chef is a chef who has been awarded Michelin stars by the Michelin Guide, a prestigious restaurant rating system. Michelin stars are given to restaurants based on the quality of their food, with three stars being the highest accolade. A Michelin chef is known for their exceptional culinary skills and ability to create gourmet dishes.

  • For instance, Chef Thomas Keller is a renowned Michelin chef who has several restaurants with three Michelin stars.
  • A food critic might write, “The Michelin chef’s attention to detail is evident in every bite.”
  • In a conversation about fine dining, someone might ask, “Have you ever dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant?”