The brigade system offers an organizational hierarchy for club and resort kitchens.
Corporate America uses an organizational chart to show the structure of a company and the relationship between all the people and positions. Sports teams use a lineup. In club and resort kitchens, a brigade is used.
The term “brigade” actually means a group of individuals organized for a specific purpose. In a country club or resort kitchen, brigade represents the organizational hierarchy of the F&B team based on experience and authority.
The brigade concept was developed by Georges Auguste Escoffier to bring order to the generally hectic atmosphere of the hotel kitchen in the 1800s. It has been adopted to kitchens around the globe ever since.
The size or range of a club or resort’s kitchen brigade is dependent on the size of the operation as a whole. Certain positions may overlap or even be combined into one very busy job. There are often plenty of duplicates in larger clubs as well.
Here are the position typically found in a brigade:
The executive chef is the leader of the kitchen and culinary team. This person acts as the face of the culinary operation and liaises closely with members, guests and fellow managers. He or she is responsible for food cost and quality, menu creativity, consistency, and development, as well as staffing. The executive chef typically reports to the general manager and/or the board of directors.
Under the executive chef is the chef de cuisine or sous chef. This person is second in command and is often responsible for managing kitchen operations, including ordering, supervision of all the stations, menu development and staff training. This person reports to the chef and often fills in for the chef if he/she is not available.
From here on out, brigades differ depending on the size and scope of an operation. Some clubs have multiple kitchens with multiple brigades while others get by with a skeleton crew.
Below is a sampling of position most often included in a classic French brigade:
- Pâtissier (pastry chef)—This person is responsible for all pastry and baked items including breads, desserts, ice creams and cakes.
- Saucier (sauté chef)—This person is responsible for all sautéed items and sauces. It is often considered the most demanding position in the brigade, particularly in an operation that offers a classic French menu.
- Garde-Manger (cold foods or pantry chef)—This person is responsible for prep of salads, cold appetizers, and pâtés.
- Commis (apprentice)—This person works under a station chef to learn how the station operates and its responsibilities.
- Aboyeur (expediter)—This person takes the orders from the dining room and relays them to the various station chefs. This individual is also the last person to see each plate before it leaves the kitchen and arrives on the member’s table. Often in clubs, the Executive Chef will expedite.
- Poissonier (fish chef)—This person is responsible for all seafood elements including prep and saucing.
- Rôtisseur (roast chef)—This person is responsible for all roasted foods and related jus or sauces.
- Grillardin (grill chef)—This person is responsible for all grilled foods and is often combined with the Rôtisseur.
- Friturier (fry chef)—This person is responsible for all fried foods. Again, this position is often combined with the Rôtisseur position.
- Entremetier (vegetable chef )—This person is responsible for hot appetizers and is often also responsible for soups, vegetables, pasta, and egg dishes.
- Tourant (swing cook)—This position typically works as needed throughout the kitchen. Most club and resort chefs rely on the chef de cuisine or sous chef to cover similar responsibilities.
- Boucher (butcher)—This person is responsible for butchering meats, poultry, and, occasionally, fish.