Two distinctly different culinary professions are the Michelin star food critic and the sous chef. By definition, a sous chef is conscientious for tabling and directing food preparation in the kitchen. A food critic is someone who describes and analyzes the food that a sous chef would have prepared through formal critique at a restaurant, and then publishes it. The food critic scrutinizes the sous chef’s execution, makes it public, affecting the success of restaurant. The food critic visits a five star Michelin restaurant, evaluates the experience with a rating system for everything encountered. On the other hand, the sous food in the back of the kitchen may be sweating, stressing, berating staff, and supervising everything that is happening.
Both critics and sous chefs assist in advertising the restaurants. Critics assist to advertise restaurants through varied foods while the sous chefs advertise the restaurants by ensuring that customers’ expectations are met. The food critic and the sous chef adheres to the rigorous set of rules such as understanding and evaluating the cuisine comprehensively beyond specific dishes and experiences to capture the entire picture of the restaurant. The sous chef follows kitchen standards and the expected professional ethics; the most important rule by far is to keep a level of perfection worthy of Michelin star. This also requires executing all orders with discipline. Additionally, the two professions draw attention to planning since food critic plans by studying the creative foundation of the restaurant, different kinds of foods, methods, and ambience and service of the varying levels of restaurants. To effectively critic a sous chef, a food critic has to learn and understand the roles, duties, and expectations of the chefs. Planning requires creative process and execution of ideas, while creation of a menu and its execution includes mis en place, preparation, timeline, food scaling, generating recipes and a plating diagram.
However, sous chef obeys the harsh command of the head chef while the food critic listens to and receives compliments and feedback from the customers. The food critic manages to carry on the task through anonymity while the sous chef is acknowledged to all the employees and customers as well. Anonymity enables the critic visit different restaurants and enjoys a variety of foods while the sous chef cannot serve the customer effectively without his identification. Due to the nature of their jobs, the critics move from one restaurant to the other in anonymity while the sous chefs must be based in one restaurant.
A sous chef is the second in command with more roles in the kitchen than in the office (The Culinary Institute of America, 29). The sous chef therefore spends few hours in the office, unlike the senior chefs, and is responsible for all the daily activities in the management of the kitchen. The chef relates more with the senior chef and often assumes the role of the expeditor as the last checkpoint between the customer and the kitchen. This role demands that the sous chef ensure the high standards of the restaurant is maintained as well as timely delivery of food to the customers. This role can be executed at the service side as well as in the kitchen when the chef is cooking food. To delegate precise chain of command, sous chefs assumes terms such as executive, senior or junior chefs.
Sous chefs operate in high class and catering restaurants and in canteens that defines their functioning hours. The schedules of these chefs vary in relation to the duration they take in the kitchen. Sous chefs therefore work in shifts to cover all hours in the kitchen. They however do not require formal training as a prerequisite, other than the acquired essential skills in food management and experience. Sous chefs learn about ways of improving culinary skills and food purchase among managerial courses offered in culinary institutes. Nevertheless, graduating in specialized courses contributes to additional points of the employer and enables the chefs obtain essential cooking information for future application. Bachelor’s degree in addition necessitates ascension of the professional ladder.
A food critic is a writer whose role is to analyze food and restaurants and publish findings (The Culinary Institute of America, 102). Through their analysis, the food critics introduce new restaurants and dishes to the public after tasting different kinds of foods and wines and equipped with the desire to write about foods. As a demanding, competitive, and rewarding job, the critics must be equipped with fantastic writing skills for communicating to the public. These skills are obtained through constant writing and education acquired in higher institutions of learning. The critics must be familiar with the restaurant business like the restaurant owners and the kinds of foods served to criticize effectively the foods. It is essential for food critics to be adventurers and have incredible and adventurous palate for testing variety of foods served. This skill is mostly acquired through exercising of the digestive muscles to detect the subtle nuances of flavor in foods. Due to the roles critics have to play, they are expected to be food experts and fluent in food languages such as Italian, Spanish and French.
The Culinary Institute of America. The Professional Chef. (9th Ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley &
Sons. 2011. Print