Who’s in charge? Flick through the TV channels at any time and you are bound to come across a food or cookery show.
Where it helps is that many people now understand how dishes such as bavarois or terrines are made. I do think though, that assumptions are made over some terms used.
I was asked twice in the same day last week, what was meant by a sous chef. In both cases, I gave them a brief (I hope) breakdown of the hierarchy of the well-organised classical kitchen.
The chef, or chef de cuisine is, literally translated, the chief of the kitchen. Sous, meaning under, is the second chef, or under chef. In large kitchens there is usually more than one sous chef, looking after different sections, or parties. The parties have in charge of each, a chef de partie.
Briefly, and I use the old Savoy kitchen as an example, the soup and farinaceous, the hot fish, sauce, vegetable section, roast and grill. The cold kitchen would have the cold fish, the larder, the poultry and the butchery. Even pastry would have its different areas, including ice-cream/sorbets, hot puddings and the actual pastry. The bakery was separate from that too!
These sections can have a good number people working in them, called commis de cuisine, first, second and third, and then apprentices and trainee managers who all used to do a spell in the kitchen. A number of these titles are misused nowadays, as brigades tend to be much smaller than the hundred or so chefs we had in the old Savoy kitchen. In short, a sous chef is the second chef! So, a classical recipe would be appropriate, and this was very popular when I was chef de partie (or chef poissonier) on the hot fish at The Savoy.