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What’s the Difference Between a Chef and a Cook?

If you think about the number of people out there who are being paid to prepare food, it is truly astronomical. Everywhere you look, there is some kind of restaurant or eatery or food truck or Café or fast food counter where people are lined up to eat. There are obviously many casual settings in which people don’t really have the highest expectations in terms of food quality and service atmosphere. But there are also those experiences demand more up kitchen staff in particular.

Your favorite steakhouse, for example. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a good steakhouse, and perhaps has visited many steakhouses in many different cities, you know that when the Steakhouse has a good reputation, customers at the expectation that that reputation Will hold up.

The thing is, if you ever had a truly great steakhouse experience, you know just how great the food, service, and the ambience can be. You know how high the bar is set in terms of in amazing steak dinner or lunch. It’s not like you’re lining up at a fast food stall for quick bite. You’re expecting something more, and we need experience that level of professionalism and skill, you hold the other steakhouses to the same standard.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the chef who is working in the kitchen plays a big part in bringing about that truly qualitative steakhouse experience. It’s also no exaggeration to say that a mediocre or unskilled chef can effectively ruin an otherwise perfect steakhouse outing. What are the people working in steakhouses really chefs, or are they cooks? What’s the difference?

Usually a chef is somebody who is been through some formal training, while a cook is a much more casual term the could pertain to anybody who started working in the kitchen with very minimal training. Beyond this, however, definitions become quite subjective. The chef at your local steakhouse may not have actually been to any formal culinary training, but it may have acquired years’s steakhouse experience that results in the kind of mastery that reaches a higher professional standard. On the other hand, in untrained steakhouse chef could produce disappointing results. Many a steakhouse reputation has been damaged because management did not take the proper steps to put a trained chef in the kitchen.

A fine steakhouse is one of those rare dining experiences that deservedly sets high expectations for the preparation of stake and sides, atmosphere, service, comfort, craft beverages, and overall ambiance. But everything really emanates from the quality that’s coming out of the kitchen. If a seasoned steakhouse chef is really on point, and turning out high quality work, there should be a dining room full of very happy diners. And that’s why the most reputable steakhouses continue to draw crowds – they consistently turn out better results due to trained chefs who not only know how to prepare great food, but know how to prepare perfect cuts of high quality steak as well. Don’t be afraid to ask about your steakhouse chef’s level of experience!

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