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A Day in the Life of a Chef

Frank works at the local outlet of a nationwide chain of restaurants. Not only is he a chef de partie (station chef), but Frank has also lately doubled up as the sous chef.

As chef de partie, Frank is the man in charge of the dessert -- the pastry chef. As the sous or second chef, Frank is required to assist the executive chef and take over in his absence.

Rarely does Frank get to spend a holiday at home. In fact, those are the days when his presence is most needed!

A typical day for Frank would be anywhere from ten to over twelve hours. Most of his time is, of course, spent on his feet.

Most days, he arrives early in the morning, so that he can begin preparing breakfast. The first customers start dropping in by 7 a.m. and Frank needs to make sure that the croissants and breakfast rolls are ready beforehand.  Also visit eHow.com for additional information regarding the chef profession.

He also needs to coordinate with the rest of the kitchen staff and the other station chefs in devising desserts that will complement the other menu offerings. Then, he has to check on the pastry department's inventory of supplies, ensuring that leftovers from the day before are creatively incorporated into the day's menu.

He also needs to keep a tab of inventories and be aware of which ingredients are running short, coordinating with the supplier to make sure that the necessary items are available when needed.

Since many of these ingredients are perishable, Frank needs to use his foresight, common sense and planning abilities while placing the order. Order too much and the items could spoil, causing him to overshoot the budget. Too little and he may find that customers have a craving for an unavailable dish on that particular day!

In addition to this, Frank is also responsible for overseeing the training of interns, apprentices and assistants.

These are just some of the logistical and administrative issues that go with being a chef de partie. The real task, however, lies in whipping up lavish and exotic desserts, making the best use of the ingredients available. Often, Frank has to stir huge vats of sauces and pound dough by the bucketful!

But, luckily, this is what Frank considers the best part of his job. He loves to concoct inventive desserts and the creative satisfaction that he gets from a rich crème brulee or a steaming apple pie is what keeps him working in the culinary field, despite the long, grueling hours.

As sous chef, Frank looks after the kitchen on days when the main chef is absent or on leave. Often on busy days he works hand in hand with the main chef, assisting him in keeping the kitchen running smoothly.

He is in charge of coming up with the daily specials and maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the kitchen. Inspections are often unannounced and sudden, so Frank has to ensure that the restaurant's reputation is kept intact by ensuring that the kitchen is spick and span (a difficult task when so many people are cooking so much food)!

He is also responsible for overseeing that the rubbish is safely disposed, ensuring that all safety standards are met, taking the inventory, overseeing the staff and filling in the kitchen's health and safety book.

Every day, he is required to prove that the high standards have been met, note down the expiration date of every item and record the temperature of the freezer and refrigerator.

He also has to ensure that customers are served on time and serve as the liaison between the dining room and the kitchen.

By the time Frank is finally done, most of the people in the neighborhood are fast asleep.

"It's tough work," says Frank. "But I would not want it any other way. The sense of fraternity and bonding with the others and the satisfaction from creating something unique can get pretty addictive! The initial years are hard; it's like learning in the school of hard knocks. But I look forward to opening my own bistro someday. Till then, it's working round the clock."

If you are interested in other professions visit Careers in Vocational or Technical Industries for additional information about several different trade industries.

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