A commis chef position is the ideal job for someone fresh out of culinary school. It is a junior or apprentice chef position, and provides the novice chef with an invaluable opportunity to learn about working in every area of the kitchen.
The primary objective of the commis chef is to learn how to work in every area of the kitchen. In order to accomplish this, a commis chef rotates throughout the kitchen, spending six months or so at one kitchen station before moving on to a different one. At each kitchen station, the commis chef has the opportunity to learn from a different senior chef who is in charge of that area. As a commis chef develops their skills as they rotate throughout the kitchen, they will consider which area they want to eventually specialize in.
This can be a challenging position, as the beginning chef is expected to absorb a great deal of information in a short amount of time. It can also be a difficult job because all of a commis chef’s training is conducted on the clock in the kitchen, which is often a high-stress work environment -- especially during busy meal times. In light of this, a commis chef (like all chef types) must be able to work under pressure in order to succeed in his or her role.
Working as a commis chef involves learning a lot of different skills in a short amount of time and then practicing those skills by implementing them in actual tasks throughout the kitchen. The most successful commis chefs are fast fast learners who actively develop their skills and are not afraid to ask senior chefs as many questions as necessary.
A commis chef will work on many different teams before they move on to a higher chef role; therefore, a commis chef must be able to effectively communicate with other members of the kitchen staff. This includes being able to gracefully receive constructive criticism as well as effectively carry out orders. Additionally, a commis chef also needs to be able to remain calm while multi-tasking, as they are often called upon to carry out many different orders simultaneously in a brief amount of time.
Although the commis chef is one of the lowest-ranking members of the kitchen staff, it is still an important role. The decisions that the commis chef makes in his or her role will impact the quality of food that the kitchen produces.
Like all members of the kitchen staff, the commis chef must maintain high standards of health and safety, including personal hygiene. The commis chef must also perform many basic tasks of food preparation and organization in the kitchen. Sometimes these tasks will seem mundane; however, they are still vital to the successful operation of the kitchen.
A commis chef can expect to earn between $20,000 and $25,000 per year as it is an entry-level chef position. Quick learners who prove their worth can quickly advance to a higher position on the chef’s ladder that will pay higher wages.