Garde Manger Chef Jobs: Your Foot in the Kitchen Door

Today's garde manger chefs fall heirs to a triple kitchen legacy. The "garde manger" [GARD mahn ZHAY] refers to the kitchen's cold prep station, the creative preparation and presentation of cold foods, and the cold line's chef jobs themselves. Since pre-Revolutionary days, a "keeper of the food" has supervised the cold food supply, sign of a family's wealth and prestige. Today, the hottest restaurants offer the coolest garde manger chefs the chance to show off their eclectic training.

Creative Chefs Rule in Garde Manger

Because appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, and salads come first, garde manger chefs set the tone of the meal to follow. As always, first impressions matter, making garde manger one of the most creative of the chef careers. Rick Tramonto, celebrity chef-ower of Tru, displays the innovation typical of garde manger: "I use a lot of non-traditional surfaces--ashtrays, candlestick holders, all kinds of things people would normally not use, 12-in. by 12-in. bathroom tiles, every kind of abstract 'frame' to plate on. That's part of my signature style."

Garde Manger Chef Training

To make the cold line your chef career objective, you'll need solid culinary training. History's garde manger chefs had to be skilled at curing and preserving meats. Today's chefs must have training in meat preparation skills, including curing, marinating, and smoking as well as the classic techniques of poaching, sauteing, searing, and braising.

Garde Manger Chef Jobs: Your Foot in the Kitchen Door

Since a healthy number of garde manger chef jobs start out on the salad line, you may be offered such a position upon completion of your chef training. Don't turn it down. Now that you know how much the garde manger chef can do, you can parlay that salad line position into a creative display of your chef training--just say, "garde manger."