A brigade is a military unit that is typically composed of regiments. Traditionally, a brigade's Commanding officer was a Brigadier general.
By extension, Brigade is the term used for the group of persons working in a professional kitchen.
This term was first used by Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), a pioneer in the French Cuisine who rationalized and modernized the organization of LA HAUTE CUISINE.
He is also known in the Culinary Posterity as the great inventor of some dessert recipes like PECHE MELBA and CREPE SUZETTE. But let's come back to our kitchen...
A BRIGADE DE CUISINE is organized in a very strict and disciplined way, where every person has clear and well-defined duties and responsibilities.
The CHEF DE CUISINE (head/working chef) orchestrates the overall production and the efficient working.
He is involved during preparation and service and is also responsible for ordering.
The second in command, the SOUS-CHEF, supervises all the cooks, usually called CHEF DE PARTIE (station leader).
Each chef de partie is in charge of an individual station and might be working with COMMIS (assistants).
There are usually 5 major station leaders :
- The POISSONNIER* in charge of preparation of seafood and fish.
*Poisson means Fish
- The SAUCIER deals with stocks and sauces, meat and poultry preparations.
- The GARDE MANGER* is in charge of the cold station : cold articles, hors oeuvres, terrines, pates, salads and cold sauces.
*Garde means To Keep or To Store, Manger means To Eat
- The ENTREMETIER* keeps busy with vegetable dishes, egg dishes, soups and side dishes.
*Met means Dish or Course, Entre means Between
- The PATISSIER* who is preparing and plating all desserts and pastries.
*Pate means Pastry or Dough (should not be confused with Pates which means Pasta).