What does a line cook actually do?
The highest positions in the Kitchen Brigade hierarchy serve primarily to oversee and direct kitchen activities, but line cooks perform the most hands-on work. The Culinary Arts School Auguste Escoffier explains that line cooks must be able to fill many roles in the kitchen and that their tasks can change from night to night. Each line cook is usually assigned to a specialized position, such as tending the cook or mixing sauces. When all of these stations work together, it forms an assembly line that prepares meals quickly and efficiently.
Common tasks for line cooks include prep work (like chopping vegetables or carving meat), cooking individual elements of a dish, and cleaning (via Master class). But ultimately, the duties of a line cook depend on the direction of the head chef. A line cook’s day is typically long, with shifts lasting over 11 hours, as explained by Nana Araba Wilmot, line cook at New York’s Cuckoo. Enjoy your meal. Wilmot’s shifts usually start with preparing everything that can be prepared before the dinner service. When customers arrive, line cooks receive copies of their orders on a ticket and prepare the portion of the dish for which their position is responsible. The night ends with the leaders “breaking down” their stations – clearing the space and putting away their tools – followed, presumably, by a very deep sleep.