Chef vs. Cook: Is There a Difference Between the Two?

To many people, a chef and a cook are the same. They think the word chef is a synonym of the word cook. This isn’t the case. Those who know that these two differ tend to use them interchangeably. A cook and chef work in the same environment but they have different roles and skills. Here is all you need to know about a chef and a cook: their similarities and their difference.

Who is a Cook?

Those who make meals for dining establishments are known as cooks. A cook is an entry-level position in the food manufacturing industry. He or she lacks academic credentials and has little expertise in the food-producing sector. A cook is an aspiring chef who eventually acquires the necessary expertise to become a chef.

Who is a Chef?

A chef is a professional cook or a head cook. A chef has experience in all aspects of food preparation. He or she is the head of the kitchen. A chef has received training from institutions and also apprenticed with other professional chefs.

Related article: How to Select Quality Kitchen Knives

How does a Cook Differs From a Chef?


Apart from academic qualifications, a chef and a cook perform different tasks. A chef has the skills to do all that a cook can do but a cook can’t be able to do all that a chef can do. We have specialized chefs but we don’t have specialized cooks. Below are the different roles of each:

Roles of a Cook

  • Setting up workstations with all needed cooking equipment and ingredients.
  • Preparing ingredients to be used in cooking such as peeling and chopping of vegetables and cutting meat.
  • Cook food following someone else’s recipe and menu plan.
  • Checking food while cooking to stir or turn.
  • Ensuring all food and other items in the kitchen are stored properly.
  • Checking the quality of the ingredients.
  • Keeping track of stock and placing orders when there are shortages.
  • Cleaning and keeping the kitchen in order.

Roles of a Chef

  • Supervising and coordinating all activities in the kitchen.
  • Developing recipes.
  • Monitoring and training cooks.
  • Inspect equipment, supplies, and working area for functionality and cleanliness.
  • Ordering and keeping inventories of food and other supplies.
  • Monitoring the sanitation practices.
  • Checking the freshness of foods and ingredients.
  • Creating and implementing menus in a restaurant setting.


A cook is a member of the domestic staff who oversees the kitchen workers and prepares meals. On the other hand, a chef at a restaurant or hotel is more likely to be in charge of a group of cooks. We don’t have distinct categories of cooks, but there are several types of chefs, based on the cuisine they prepare and their function in the kitchen.

Sauce chefs, grill chefs, fish chefs, fry chefs, vegetable chefs, soup chefs, and pantry chefs are some of the more prevalent categories of cooks. A cook, who lacks expertise, must rely on the chef’s instructions or cook according to predetermined recipes, whereas a chef is more autonomous.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *