What exactly is an “executive” chef ? And is he any different to a “master” chef?

Prow’s Edge Cruise Magazine explains some of the basics here about the different kinds of chefs you might find on a cruise ship and what their titles mean. This might come in handy when taking a galley tour (and remember it is NEVER called the “kitchen) or when meeting the food services crew and staff on your next cruise.

There are a wide variety of different jobs in the cruise ship galley, the scope of which depends on the type and size of the cruise ship, from the executive chef who runs the show to the members of staff cleaning the mess after food service. To make matters more confusing, they all have several titles.

Executive Chef
Leading the galley and all its operations, the cruise ship executive chef is responsible for food and menu planning, food quality control and all the staff of the galley. The executive chef will usually have had least a decade of experience in prominent positions in the food service industry and will very often have a celebrity status and be a winner of culinary awards. Executive chef salaries begin at $4,000 / month can increase considerably depending on fame and experience.

Assistant Executive Chef
Also sometimes referred to as the Sous Chef, the assistant executive chef is next in line of the chain of command in the galley. The assistant executive chef helps the executive chef in food and menu planning, food quality control and all the staff of the galley, but will typically have less experience than the executive chef and will be looking to use this experience as a stepping stone to the next level. Assistant chef salaries are typically between $3,000 and $5,000 / month depending on years of experience.

Chef de Partie
Next in line, the chef de partie, also sometimes referred to as a senior chef, is generally the head of a particular section of the galley operations, such as the pastry section, or buffet display. The chef de partie will have similar experience to that of the assistant executive chef and can expect to command a similar salary.

First Cook
The first cook in the galley of a cruise ship reports to the executive chef and is responsible for overseeing the second and third cooks, and for supervising and carrying out general cooking duties. The first cook’s range of experience and salary expectations is generally slightly less than that of the chef de partie.

Pastry Chef
Considered by some cruise passengers to be the most important item on the cruise ship menu, the pastry section has it’s own hierarchy and selection of experienced chefs headed by the pastry chef supervisor and the assistant pastry chef supervisor. Included in this section would be the cruise ship baker who supervises the preparation and cooking of all bakery products.

Crew Cook
And last, but not least, supervising the food for the crew and staff abaord the cruise ship, the crew cook has the task of keeping the crew well fed and happy. With multi-national crerws on many cruise ships these days, this is no easy task. The crew cook will typically report to the assistant executive chef or first cook.

Other Positions in the Cruise Ship Galley
Other positions in the cruise ship galley involving the direct preparation of food include Second Cook and Third Cook, under the supervision of the First Cook, down to the entry level position of Cook Trainee.

Equally important are the crew involved with the general administration of the functioning galley, including the provision master or storekeeper who reports to the executive chef.

Cruise Line Chefs

Executive cruise line chefs share their favourite cruise recipes

• Nobu Matsuhisa (Crystal Cruises)
• Franck Garanger (Oceania cruises)
• Georges Blanc (Carnival)
• Marc Calderbank (Hebridean)
• Angel Choez (Quasar)
• Paul Dorr (Maine Windjammer)
• Dirk Helsig (Fred Olsen)
• Gregory Hoop
• Franck Jeandon (Regent)
• Palle Jorgensen
• Sudesh Kishore (SeaDream)
• Cara Lauzon (Maine Windjammer)
• Aimee LePage (Maine Windjammer)
• Chef Nader (Windstar)
• Daryl Neamtu (Windstar)
• Prom Nhorn (Pandaw)
• Jacque Pépin (Oceania Cruises)
• VR Purificacion (Costa Cruises)
• Walter Rosner (Silversea)
• Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (Aqua)
• David Shalleck (Windstar)
• Manfred Schaller (Crystal)
• Rudi Sodamin (Holland America Line)
• Sarah Swan (Maine Windjammer)
• Wolfgang Wasshausen (HAL)
• Stefan Wilke (Hapag-Lloyd)
• Ann Williamson (Maine Windjammer)
• Karl Winkler (Cunard)
• Chef Zoran (Elegant Cruises)
• Jean-Marie Zimmermann (Cunard)
• Bernhard Zorn (Uniworld)


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