Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Le Commis - The First Rung

An apprentice or Commis Chef in larger kitchens would work under a Chef de Partie or Station Chef in order to learn the station's responsibilities and operation.

A Communard would be in charge of preparing the meal for the staff during a shift although, in smaller kitchens, this job is handed to the Commis Chef. This meal is often referred to as staff or family meal.

Ah, the memories of bygone days. Up early and arriving at your place of employment before the other Chefs' have risen from their kebab encrusted 'pits'. Sometimes even before the Sun had shone over the horizon encouraging the rooster to crow his morning overture.

The Commis, with exception of the Breakfast Cook and Night Porter, is the first to arrive and usually the last to leave. In my experience as a young whipper-snapper you obeyed one vital rule......Be in your full Whites five minutes before the Brigade arrive and at least fifteen minutes before Chef appears, and be at your station working! Lateness, shabby work attire, bad attitude and laziness were my four horsemen of the apocolypse and if I let any one of those take over, World War Three would erupt with me on the losing side. Any cheek or back-chat that was unauthorised or taken the wrong way resulted in dire consequences for the villian that commited the awful crime.

So, to sum up, to be a Commis is to work extremely long hours, get paid very little and to graciously receive anything that is thrown at you (literally!).