The terms cook and chef are used interchangeably and often thought to be the same thing, but well, the meaning of the two words is very different. And if you think a chef is someone who just wears the long white hat, then you are wrong. There is more than just an appearance when it comes to differentiating a chef from a cook. The major difference between the two terms is in education and experience. So essentially someone who cooks food is not a cook and not a chef. Let us make it simpler. What’s The Difference Between Noodles and Chow Mein?
Who is a Chef?
A chef is someone who has pursued an education and a degree in culinary arts. He/she is someone who has studied for 2 to 4 years and then works in a hotel to master his skills. The profession of chefs have ranks, and it takes a lot of toil and sweat to move up on that scale. A chef has not just the responsibility of cooking but also involves additional duties like managing kitchen staff, directing the preparation of meals, estimating food requirements and ordering food and other supplies. The role of the chef thus changes depending upon the hotel they work for and their seniority.
Who is a Cook?
Someone who loves cooking enjoys doing more of it as a hobby can be called a cook. The significant difference being, a cook, need not have formal training. So even a working professional can turn into a 'cook' if they love preparing new dishes, experimenting in the kitchen, etc. A cook may or may not be in a professional setting. So you and I too can be a cook. There are also professional cooks who can choose their line of expertise. So there could be a cook who specialises only in cooking meat, fish or just vegetables.
Compared to the prestige and pay, a cook ranks below the chef, but that doesn't make their talent any lesser. Several cooks are famous for their ways of preparing dishes in several restaurants. In fact, with so much exposure and changing preferences, even home-based cooks are starting out, sometimes even outdoing the chefs. So now you know the difference between the meanings, make sure you pass it on to others too.