How do chefs pace out courses for multiple tables at the same time, especially for dinners with many courses?


It seems like a difficult task to pace out a single tables appetizer and entrees, but then multiplied by many courses, and multiplied again my many tables.

In: 5

You get the order, than you get ‘fire’ tickets for each course, put in by the server who can tell where they’re at in the meal

Well, it helps that unless you’re dealing with a really small restaurant (and therefore not many tables) a chef is not working alone. In a lot of restaurants employing a large staff (and therefore the ones with many tables) you’ll find something like a [French Brigade System]( operating.

In a system like this, there are many people in the kitchen each with their own roles and responsibilities. The Chef de Cuisine (literally “Chief of the Kitchen” though also called the Kitchen Chef) is who you are probably thinking of. They are the shot caller, the one who’s name and reputation are at stake. However, they are rarely the ones actually doing the cooking. Their job is to manage the staff, and run the business of the kitchen.

So getting to your question – The reason they can manage it is because they have someone (sometimes the Chef de Cuisine, sometimes a Sous-Chef, and there is a role called the Aboyeur) whose job it is to manage that. That person is not necessarily cooking, but instead managing the orders and ensuring that each plate and order is going out on time, looking correct and tasting as intended.

It’s mostly the servers doing the pacing. Each table will eat at a different pace and the kitchen will be producing food at different paces throughout the night. The server is attentive to these two facts and will put in orders to the kitchen for each course when appropriate.

A lot of it is servers and good communication.

Once your table finishes your appetizers, the waitron will go to the kitchen and tell them to start on the main course. Things which can be prepared ahead of time will be.

To chimp in, the chefs/ kitchen spend a lot of time prepping the ingredients to a certain level, balancing between it getting spoiled and it being used/served as soon as possible. The servers/ waiters are the one who keep an eye on your table, gauging what speed you are going through your course at, and then giving the kitchen a heads-up that such-and-such table is almost done with the soup, start up on the mains for that table. Kitchen will then heat up/ cook/ plate the course as required, while the server goes about clearing the table, putting in new plates and cutlery, and then bringing out the course.

On good days, a restaurant is like a finely-tuned machine, with all the parts moving together in harmony. On bad days, things go CLONK…