The S.A.K.E Philosophy


To consider that a genuine professional chef is simply determined by skills and knowledge is to only identify technical ability and supports the argument that being a professional chef is only about putting food on a plate.
There is a great deal more involved to being a genuine professional chef.
To only measure technical ability to be acknowledged as a professional chef, is akin to believing that a successful meal is determined by the plate alone.
Professionals understand that a great meal is influenced by many other internal and external influences to the kitchen, including service, company, ambience, wine, music and a myriad of other influences.
Anyone can cook. We see this daily with actors who have coined the phrase celebrity chef, who for publicity reasons, swear and throw food and unfortunately joined by many others who cook for a living, but unable to understand or even care to recognize that they additionally have a moral duty, if they are to be a professional chef.So what are the elements that make a professional? I believe they are:

Skills  – Attitude   –   Knowledge  –  Experience

Skills: The first and foremost element is:

Confidence and consistency to technically procure, prepare, and present wholesome food within the cost and time constraints applicable to their work environment.

Provide evidence that you can do this and you score 25%

Attitude: The next essential element, because it shows a commitment to the industry and includes:

Valuing the need for continuous self development
Respecting the part that history has played in cooking
Acknowledging and correctly using the technical language
Understanding the need to be involved in supporting networks / associations
Following a recognized code of practices
Being courteous to and openly sharing knowledge with colleagues
Behaving and conducting oneself at all times as a professional
Mentoring the futures industry
Being proud to wear a full chefs uniform
Being passionate with and respecting food
Being able to describe and defend what a professional chef stands for

Add another 25%

Knowledge: The third essential component includes:

Following the laws of the land as applied to a working chef
Knowing how to operate with integrity and honour
Upholding the values of a professional cook
Being aware of a wide variety of products and ingredients
Understand the reaction of ingredients in preparation and cooking

Add 25% and you are still only three- quarters of a professional chef.

Experience – The final critical component

Experience as a learner, apprentice or commis, experience as a cook, chef de partie, sous chef, chef de cuisine and/or as an executive chef.
Experiencing how to be professionally treated in order to learn how to later treat staff.
There are many different types of additional valid “experiences” which depending upon circumstances and may include: being an author of technical books, committed as a commercial cookery educator, gaining over a period of time an industry reputation for excellence, participation in Salon Culinaires particularly as a participant and showing leadership in a kitchen or a chefs association

All four – Now you are a professional chef

With any one of the four essentials elements missing the professionalism of the chef would be in question. Call yourself a chef, even genuinely believe you are a chef.

Even con the media and the public into believing that you are a chef, however realise you have not reached the legitimate stature of a professional as yet.

SAKE – Defined

The title Cook and Chef is basically one and the same; they both commercially prepare food. Technically to be titled a chef must be in charge of a kitchen or a part of a large kitchen. Both cooks and chefs work in the trade of cookery; therefore both are fundamentally cooks. All genuine chefs are foremost cooks. Not all cooks are chefs. This is determined by their position and responsibility or may be a bestowed title by ones colleagues as a mark of respect and accolade in conversation.

There is a great deal of intelligence, agility, traits and industry involvement required to be a genuine professional cook or chef.

There are four components: Skills – Attitude – Knowledge – Experience the called the SAKE philosophy developed by George.

The more a person can demonstrate they have these attributes and the greater the degree of understanding the better the cook / chef as a professional.

A cook/chef who has the SKILLS will consistently demonstrate confidence to technically procure, prepare, and present wholesome food within the cost and time constrains applicable to their work environment utilizing:

Basic classic preparations
Knife Skills
Technical skills

Attributes that lead to success:

  • Able to function under pressure
  • Alert
  • Ambitious
  • Cautious
  • Creative
  • Good Communicator
  • Physically fit
  • Self assured

A cook/chef who has the  ATTITUDE will automatically demonstrate they are eager to:

  • Accept accountability for own actions
  • Be courteous
  • Be ethical in practice
  •  Be honest, reliable and loyal
  • Defend industry standards
  • Follow a code of practices
  • Follow cookery conventions
  • Mentor the futures industry
  • Networks through associations
  • Operate with integrity and honour
  • Promote trade education
  • Proudly wear a chefs uniform
  • Self- discipline themselves
  • Shares knowledge with others
  • Show a positive outlook
  • Show respect for cookery history
  • Values continuous self development

A person who has the “KNOWLEDGE” to be titled a cook/chef is able to describe: foundation culinary preparations, fundamental commercial cookery techniques, culinary terminology, the reaction of ingredients in preparation and cooking, where to commercially procure products, quality in a wide variety of products and ingredients, be familiar with, the laws of the land as applied to a working chef and where applicable, commercial insight in the following topics.

There are four stages of competence and commercial knowledge in a cookery career. Normally stage 1 and 2 constitute a cook/chef. Stage 3 develops a Chef de Cuisine and stage 4 is normally required for an Executive Chef.

A person who has had the “EXPERIENCE” to be titled a cook/chef:

Earns a livelihood from a commercial cookery career
Has experienced the responsibility that goes with of the levels below:

– Trainee or apprentice cook
– Chef de partie- Station cook/ chef
– Sous chef
– Chef de Cuisine
– Executive chef

Or titled with one of the many alternative equivalent designations that normally require approximate years of experience:

– Trainee / apprentice cook =1- 4 years
– Chef de partie-Station cook/chef = 5 – 7 years
– Sous Chef = 7 years plus
– Chef de Cuisine = 9 –  12 years plus
– Executive Chef = 12  -15 years plus

A simple of way to view a chef’s career:

  • A trainee or an apprentice is learning to use their hands to become a qualified cook.
  • A qualified cook has learnt to use their hands and now learning to use their brain in order to progress to a sous chef.
  • A sous chef has learnt to use their hands and brain and is learning to use other hands to advance to a Chef de Cuisine
  • A Chef de Cuisine has learnt to use their hands; their brain, other hands and learning to use other brains to mature as an Executive Chef
  • An Executive Chef is simply a cook who has learnt to use their hands and brains and other hands and brains who can manage more than one kitchen.

The most appropriate learning steps to become a professional chef.

Often associated with a period EG Step 1 & 2 would be during a training program and practice in formative years

  Step 1
Basic Food Preparation
Culinary Terminology
Eggs and Farinaceous
Equipment and Tools
Fish and Shellfish
Food Presentation
Hors d’oeuvres
Hot and Cold Desserts
Hygiene and HACCP
Larder and Buffet
Meat Cookery and Primary Cuts
Methods of Cookery
Occupational Health and Safety
Potato and Starch
Poultry and Game
Salads and Dressings
Stock Soups and Sauces
Vegetables and Fungi
Yeast products

Step 2
Butchery secondary cuts
Cakes and pastries
Environment and Sustainability
First Aid
Fish and Shellfish ( Recognition)
Global Preparations
International Dishes
Legal Compliance
Menu planning
Portion Control -Yield Testing
Product Knowledge
Standard Recipes

  Step 3
Accounting-Costing- Budgeting
Coaching – Staff Development – Training
Current General Industry News
Operational – Organizational
Quality control
Stores Control

Step 4
Business Model Planning
Ethics and Conventions
Food and art
Food Science
Time Management
Human Resource Management