A head chef (chef de cuisine) is the person in charge of all activities related to cooking in a professional kitchen. They are responsible for creating menus, managing kitchen staff, ordering and purchasing inventory, controlling the costs of raw materials, and designing dishes. The head chef is the highest-ranking member of the kitchen staff and is in charge of all kitchen operations in larger establishments with multiple departments or food establishments. The French Brigade system is used to ensure that the entire operation works in the best possible way. The head chef's role overlaps with that of the subchef, who tends to be more practical and actively participates in the daily operation of the kitchen.
The subchef will also replace the head chef when he is not there, and a chef de partie when necessary. To become a successful head chef, you will need experience as well as the right type of personality. Cooks generally have no voice or have little say in kitchen matters, such as inventory. Rather, they can prepare food on a daily basis, following recipes or a meal plan designed by someone else (such as a chef). They may be assigned other tasks and will likely have additional responsibilities, such as cleaning the kitchen.