Author :chef ssentongo Geoffrey
Blog : Starting a Career as a Garde-manger…
With so many of the “founding fathers” of Haute cuisine originating from France—like Auguste Escoffier —it’s no surprise that the lingo of the kitchen is in their native language.
But this means the terms we use in the culinary world can be a bit mystifying for non-French speakers. One such Phrase is Garde-manger.
Is it a Station?
What does it mean in the greater kitchen ecosystem and Brigade de cuisine system?
I’m going to explain what a Garde-manger is, and how you can get started in this area culinary career.
* what is a Garde-manger?
The literal translation of Garde-manger is “Keeper of the food”. Originally, this referred to an area of cold storage where food could be kept fresh. But it also evolved to include a kitchen position.
The Garde-manger is the chef in charge of cold food, like chilled soups, fruit, salads, plates, and some cold desserts. Responsibilities could also include smoked meats and cheeses, if the restaurant doesn’t have a dedicated charcuterie.
These cold dishes are often appetizers and desserts —the very first and last dishes guests eat. This means the Garde-manger is responsible for the guests first and last impressions of the restaurants food.
* what Does a Garde-manger Do?
The responsibilities of the Garde-manger can vary quite a bit depending on the type of culinary establishment where they work.
At hotels or banquet halls, the Garde-manger may be responsible for elaborate buffet presentations. In smaller, more casual restaurants, they may solery prepare salads and cold desserts.
But the Garde-manger doesn’t simply plate salad greens. This chef also makes these items, often from scratch. This means they might be responsible for emulsifying oil and vinegar into a balanced salad dressing and blending tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers into a refreshing gazpacho.
It doesn’t stop with soups and salads though! Garde-manger are also responsible for preparing hummus and other spreads, pickles, and fermented foods.
* How to Start a Career as a Garde-manger?
This skill level required of the “Keeper of the food” can vary depending on the restaurant and service type. At a casual eatery, Garde-manger may be an entry level salad station position. But in fine dining, they may require more experience with complicated pates, intricate desserts, like butter or ice.
To become a Garde-manger in an upscale restaurant, you could start as a Garde-manger elsewhere and aim for a lateral move. Or, you could try to get an entry level position at your dream restaurant, and work your way up the ranks.
If you attend culinary school, you can explore Flavor Profiles, which is an essential skill for any kitchen position. This can help the future Garde-manger to balance the flavors and aromas in both savory and sweet cold dishes.
* Start a Specialized Career with a specialized Education or kitchen Instructor
In some kitchens, the Garde-manger is a stepping stone to a higher position in the Brigade de cuisine. But in others, it’s a highly esteemed career in its own right. As the first and last food touch points of a meal, the Garde-manger controls two of the most crucial elements of the dining experience!
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