Called to the Stove Originally Meant Graduationg from an Apprenticeship and Being Allowed to Approach the "Stove" the Life Blood of the Classic Commercial Kitchen.
Called to the Stove
Resources > Term > C > Called to the Stove

Are you a Smart Kitchen™ Chef?

Try it FREE or take a TOUR to explore Smart Kitchen!
+ -


 

 

The term “Called to the Stove” comes from the classic French ‘Brigade de Cuisine’ employed since Escoffier’s time in the Golden Age of cooking.

A new, young apprentice at a Hôtel De Cuisine spent months, or years, learning the basics of his calling: washing, chopping, & prepping product before he (back then, there were no she’s in a Hôtel kitchen) was allowed to even feed the six fire boxes on ‘The Stove.’  

 

 A Multi-Trous Wood Burning Stove; an American Cousin to

 

In those days, as Teaching Chef can tell you, most commercial kitchens were centered around  a great, multi Trous (central hearth), cast iron, wood-fired beast. Getting it lit, keeping it fed, and regulating its temperature were skilled tasks that fell only to a more senior initiate.

Often with a colorful nickname, the stove consumed combustibles like coal or wood and had to be played expertly to produce five-star outcomes. Whether it was opening an oven door, removing or replacing a grate, or stoking the coals, chefs of yore came by their skills over long periods of time.

It was a hot, smoky (literally) trial by fire. The famed Chef, Jaques Pepin, writes beautifully about his rise in an old-world Parisian Hôtel’s kitchen in post-war France in The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen,

 

Modern Shot of Le Gran Hôtel D'Europe

 

Pepin served his apprenticeship in Le Grand Hôtel de Europe under Chef Jauget and fed “Le Piano,” the wooden stove and the spiritual heart of that kitchen.