Does requiring that your team call you 'chef'' earn you respect, or is it a sign of an inflated ego?

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st October 2019

Does requiring that your team call you 'chef'' earn you respect, or is it a sign of an inflated ego?

Last week we published an interview with Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze, in which we spoke about her refusal to let her team call her chef

She argued that the title doesn't command respect, and that rather, to earn your brigade's regard, "you work with them, you communicate with them, you teach them things, you delegate." 

The title dates back to Escoffier, who was an army chef in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-71, and thus modelled his kitchen hierarchy on the military model. He defined the roles still used in the kitchen today: chef, sous chef, chef de partie, chef de commis

To clarify the matter, we asked you what you thought in a poll: 

Though the number of replies conveyed an overwhelming sense that no, chefs don't think that respect lies in a title, comments were more nuanced.

Some argued that it's not so much about respect but discipline, and that because of the precision needed to work in a professional kitchen, informal titles have no place there. 

Others were on Hélène's side and said that as long as the team are doing as they're told, calling their superior chef wasn't necessary - and that on the contrary, a team calling a chef chef because they're told to doesn't mean they'll do what they're told. 

Then there are those, like Neil Rankin and Rupert Waites said they used the word willy nilly, calling everyone chef. 

"Have you seen chef?

"Which one?

"You mean chef chef?" 

"Yes chef, he went for a smoke with chef chef"

What do you say chefs? Chip into the debate by leaving a comment below! 

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st October 2019

Does requiring that your team call you 'chef'' earn you respect, or is it a sign of an inflated ego?