What Is a Chef de Partie and How Do You Become One?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 31 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a chef de partie can be a rewarding and lucrative career if you are interesting in a specialised chef role. There are many roles to consider for this occupation, including opportunities to advance in your career as well. Learning about this profession can better prepare you to take the necessary steps in order to achieve your career goals and become a chef. In this article, we discuss what is a chef de partie, review some of their duties, examine how to become one in four steps and explore the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Related: 16 of the Highest-Paying Hospitality Jobs

What is a chef de partie?

A chef de partie, also referred to as a station chef or line cook, is responsible for a certain production area in a food service establishment. In larger kitchens, a chef de partie might have assistants or sous chefs to assist with the preparation steps, which are often referred to as “first cook,” “second cook” and so on based on experience level and ranking.

In small-to-midsize kitchens, a chef de partie is often the only person working in a preparation area. They might even run multiple sections of the kitchen depending on their qualifications and needs of the kitchen. Here are some chef de partie titles to consider:

  • Sautee chef: Prepares dishes that need to be sauteed

  • Roast chef: Prepares roasted meats and vegetable dishes

  • Fish chef: Prepares the seafood and fish dishes

  • Fry chef: Prepares the fried dishes in the kitchen

  • Soup chef: Prepares all the soup dishes in the kitchen

  • Grill chef: Prepares all grilled food items in a kitchen

  • Pantry chef: Prepares all cold dishes in a kitchen, such as cold appetisers, salads and charcuterie items

  • Pastry chef: Prepares all baked goods, including bread, pastries and cakes

What are the responsibilities of a chef de partie?

Depending on the area the chef de partie is over, they must fulfill certain duties and responsibilities to prepare dishes and follow the recipes provided by the establishment. Some of the most common duties include:

  • Preparing ingredients by chopping, measuring, butchering and weighing

  • Managing inventory

  • Overseeing other chefs

  • Following and enforcing all health and hygiene standards in the kitchen

  • Coordinating with other chefs de partie in the kitchen

  • Assisting the head chef in creating new dishes or modifying recipes

A chef de partie also needs to know how to use the various kitchen equipment required in their position. For example, a grill chef would need to know how to use both gas and electric grills, as well as wood smoking grills.

How to become a chef de partie in 4 steps

Follow these four steps to help you become a chef de partie:

1. Learn how to cook

The first step in becoming a chef de partie is learning how to cook. Many chefs attend culinary school, where they can gain hands-on experience and knowledge from experienced chefs. However, not all chef de partie positions require a formal degree. Instead, applicants may need to demonstrate their cooking skills and knowledge during the hiring stage.

Formal accreditations, though usually optional, are likely to increase your chances of getting hired because it demonstrates a certain degree of skill and the ability to learn.

Related: What is an Apprenticeship?

2. Get a job in a kitchen

Experience is a highly valuable asset in the culinary industry, so look for work opportunities where you can learn more about the operations of a commercial kitchen and get the experience you need to progress in your career. Even if you are working as a dishwasher or in another entry-level role, you can learn from chefs as you watch them prepare and serve dishes.

Aim to form beneficial professional connections with the cooking personnel so you can develop a network of people willing to help you. No matter what your starting role is, look for any opportunity to demonstrate your cooking skills.

3. Obtain your certifications

Multiple professional organisations offer certification programs for chefs, such as a TAFE NSW, which is one of the more well-known institutions for aspiring chefs. They offer both the certificate III in commercial cookery and the certificate IV in commercial cookery, which last between four months and two years.

Earning one or multiple certifications can help you advance in your culinary career while simultaneously providing you with a wealth of practical experience so you can continue to learn new expertise and find a specialisation.

4. Perfect your critical skills

Chefs must have certain skills to succeed in a fast-paced work environment. A commercial kitchen can be a challenging place to work, so chefs are required to multi-task and prioritise their duties as requests come to the staff. A chef de partie should also be able to remain calm in high-stress situations and communicate effectively with their team and customers. Working on these skills can help you become a better chef and even increase your potential to become a head chef or executive chef in the future.

Other types of chefs

Chef de partie is just one ranking in a kitchen. The hierarchy of a commercial kitchen often includes the following:

  • Executive chef: An executive chef is the highest rank in a commercial kitchen, responsible for overseeing and managing personnel, planning the menu, purchasing food and managing the budget.

  • Head chef: This is the highest rank in a kitchen without an executive chef, responsible for managing kitchen costs and production, overseeing the staff and creating menus.

  • Purchasing manager: This professional is not involved in food preparation or cooking, but manages the inventory, works with vendors and places orders to ensure that the kitchen is well-stocked with high-quality food.

  • Deputy chef: Also known as sous chef this chef is responsible for the day-to-day activities in a kitchen.

  • Junior chef: This professional works under the chef de partie to learn more about the environment and gain hands-on experience.

  • Kitchen porter: This is an entry-level position, responsible for simple tasks like cutting vegetables and grating cheese.

Related: How To Become a Sous Chef

FAQs about chef de partie careers

Here are some frequently asked questions about a chef de partie:

How does a chef de partie make?

The national average salary for a chef de partie is $60,539 per year. However, this salary estimate for chef de partie's is likely to vary for a number of reasons, such as their employer, geographical location, educational history, certifications and working experience. The more experience and credentials, you may be able to negotiate for a higher salary. The city with the highest paying wage for chef de partie's is Newcastle NSW, with an average salary of $81,548 per year.

Other cities with the highest salaries for a chef de partie include:

  • Sydney NSW: $64,123 per year

  • Wagga Wagga NSW: $62,912 per year

  • Sydney Western Suburbs NSW: $62,251 per year

  • Bondi NSW: $60,171 per year

  • Lane Cove NSW: $59,485 per year

  • Camperdown NSW: $57,810 per year

  • Darlinghurst NSW: $57,017 per year

What is the work environment like for a chef de partie?

A chef de partie can expect to work in a highly active, creative and sometimes challenging environment. They often need to stand and move on their feet for long periods of time while performing their duties in collaboration with other cooking professionals.

These culinary professionals usually work during normal business hours, though this may differ depending on the hours that their business operates. Sometimes these professionals have to work overtime or on holidays and weekends depending on how much traffic they receive. Chef de partie's regularly follow strict safety precautions to avoid injury to themselves or team members.

How much time does it take to become a chef de partie?

At a minimum, it can take four years to become a chef de partie. This is primarily contingent on needing to gain enough years of working experience rather than having to complete a certain academic achievement.

The sooner you obtain certifications and get a job working in a kitchen, the more quickly you can begin learning the necessary skills to qualify for the role. However, factors like family or job obligations that require a significant amount of your time can affect how long it takes for you to achieve this occupation as well.

What are the most essential skills to work as a chef de partie?

Here are some of the most important skills that someone needs as a chef de partie:

  • Communication

  • Interpersonal

  • Multitasking

  • Cooking

  • Kitchen equipment knowledge

  • Food safety

  • Time management

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

What is the difference between a chef de partie and a chef de cuisine?

Though a chef de partie and a chef de cuisine have similar duties, there are some key differences to consider between these two professions. While they both manage a team of chefs, the primary difference is that the chef de partie manages only a section of the kitchen, like the pastry or seafood section. In comparison, the chef de cuisine is in charge of the entire kitchen staff, including the chef de partie. They are also the person who handles hiring and firing procedures, which the chef de partie does not.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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