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A chef, from the French for chief or head person, is the executive in charge of a kitchen, responsible for recipe and menu creation, staff training, and overseeing all cooking. A chef directs the staff of cooks, bakers, butchers, and everyone else involved in the preparation of food.

Almost all establishments that prepare large amounts of food, such as restaurants and hotels, employ a chef to run the cooking operation. Chefs normally are trained by an apprentice system, wherein they spend time during the beginning of their career doing all the jobs involved in food preparation, eventually gaining the experience needed to become a chef. Additionally, culinary schools for the training of chefs have been established in the major cuisine centers of the world, such as Paris, San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo.

See also: List of chefs