The Larder Chef: Functions of the Larder Department

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The Larder Chef (The Chef Garde-Manger)

The Cold Larder, or Garde-Manger, is a department set aside for the storage of perishable foods, both raw and cooked, and where foodstuffs such as meat, fish, poultry and game are prepared and made ready for cooking. In this department too, all ‘Cold Elements’ found on the menu, such as the hors d’oeuvre, cold fish or meat dishes, all salads, cold sauces and dressings, are prepared and ‘dressed’. One particular special duty of this department is the preparation and presentation of all types of cold buffet, which are nowadays a feature of so many functions. For these departmental functions to be effectively carried out, it is essential that: (1) The room is separate from the kitchen, and located in a cool place. At the same time, it must be close to the kitchen to avoid undue running about between departments of the kitchen, which are all closely interrelated. (2) It should be light, airy and well ventilated, and sufficiently spacious to allow the staff to carry out their duties in a clean and efficient manner. It must also be able to store prepared foods and buffets in a cool and hygienic manner. (3) It must be equipped with the necessary fittings, plant, machinery and tools, in accordance with the volume and/or quality of the trade of the catering establishment in which it is situated. BREAKDOWN OF WORK Taking the above into consideration, it naturally follows that the work is broken down into various fields, such as Hors d’oeuvre, Salads, Butchery, Poultry, Cold Buffet etc., and, in effect, in large busy establishments each of these functions or duties is carried out by one or more men or sometimes women, who specialize in the work of that particular sub-department. As an example, the Butcher, Poulterer, or Fishmonger may be an expert in that particular field without being a trained chef or cook, and it sometimes happens that salads or hors d’oeuvres are prepared by (often female) staff trained in those particular duties only. More frequently, these various duties are allocated by the Chef Garde-Manger, who is in overall charge of the department, to commis or assistant chefs, and they are known as Commis Garde-Manger, whatever duties they are assigned to. Naturally, the busier the establishment, the more Larder-work it entails; therefore more commis are required to staff the department. The smaller the volume of trade the fewer commis required, and so on. In many establishments the Chef Garde-Manger is single-handed and carries out all the various functions personally. 1


The Larder Chef

It should be mentioned at this stage that often quality rather than quantity of trade is the determining factor in deciding the number of staff required in the Garde-Manger, or for that matter in the kitchen as a whole. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHEF GARDE-MANGER The responsibilities of the Chef Garde-Manger, therefore, are many and varied. This person is responsible to the Chef for the efficient running of the Larder department and for the co-ordination of the work of its staff; for the training and discipline of larder staff; for the foodstuffs in the department, some of which may be stored in refrigerators or even in deep freeze, or preserved by other means. The Chef Garde-Manger is responsible for keeping a record of such foodstuffs and a day-by-day record of issues to kitchen or other departments. The Chef Garde-Manger must study the menus in advance, so as to be able to order meat, fish, etc., in time for the foodstuff to be prepared and cleaned and made ready for the kitchen in time for it to be cooked; and also to order all necessary stores for the various larder productions such as salads, hors d’oeuvres, sauces, buffets, etc. The Larder Chef is responsible for the efficient storage of food to avoid deterioration and wastage and for cleanliness and hygiene in the department, to avoid any danger of contamination and possible food poisoning. He...
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