Chefs are professional cooks or bakers trained in food preparation. While most work in professional kitchens individuals capable of preparing quality meals in a private setting may occasionally also use the term.
Chefs can learn through a culinary school or an apprenticeship. It is also common for successful chefs to bring some of their own family recipes and traditions with them and apply them to their professional endeavors. Most chefs also have a basic understanding of magic, particularly Hydromancy which allows for manipulation of flavors and textures of soups and gravies, the moistness of meats, and the inner workings of fryers. Various famed chefs have also been known to master another magical technology such as Pyromancy (for fine cooking control), Anemancy (to assist with steaming or broiling, or even kitchen ventilation), Threadmancy (for skillful bindings for roasts or steamed dishes), or even Agrokinesis or Zokinesis (to genetically manipulate traits and flavors when growing their own vegetables and meats). Some chefs have even used Chromamancy in their presentation of meals.
Most chefs start small within the kitchen, focusing on a specific category of food preparation. These could be based upon the course of the meal such as dessert or appetizers, or could be categorized by the types of food available from that kitchen such as fish or meats. As a chef gains competence a good kitchen will also provide them with experience, rotating their responsibilities to allow for a wider breadth of knowledge as to the workings within the kitchen. They may still spend most of their time at their original station, but the additional experience allows them the ability to step into any role as required, providing more flexibility with the preparation of foods. Thos who seek further advancement and display the aptitudes may eventually work their way into roles as head of kitchen or even executive chef, taking over the top responsibilities for not only food preparation but also training and staffing within the kitchen. For many chefs the epitome of success is fame and recognition for their efforts. Many will write cookbooks containing recipes or cooking tips in efforts to obtain this recognition. Others rely upon their cooking alone, sometimes to great effect. While becoming top chef is a great achievement, recognition from within the cooking community and even non-professionals from outside the community is generally considered the highest measure of success.
Payment & Reimbursement
Chefs are typically paid for their efforts, either hourly or at a daily rate. More successful and well-known chefs, whether this be from fame or position within the kitchen hierarchy, may sometimes be paid with a fraction of the profits from meals sold instead. Those with published cookbooks also earn royalties on sales as negotiated with their publishers.
A good chef will always eat well, and for this reason many non-professionals also strive to learn the arts of cooking. Famous chefs can easily sell chef-related books and tools solely through the use of their name.
A chef prepares food for consumption, and experiments with recipes to create new enticing flavors for their consumers. It is a common quip within the profession that a successful chef must be two parts mage, one part alchemist, and three times as lucky as the chef across the street.
A skilled chef is highly valued among those with refined palates. Among the general population a chef is still revered, although whether this is due to praise for their cookbook or appreciation of a break from cooking themselves depends largely upon the individual.
Kitchen utensils are varied in appearance and use. Some tools are used frequently or provide a variety of options for use, such as knives and pans and mixing bowls, and can be found in most kiychens. Others are more limited in use such as specialized slicing machines, which will only appear in kitchens which perform those specific tasks with regular frequency. Various enchanted devices can be found for use in a kitchen as well. Tools to perform automated mixing or chopping are especially popular. Kitchens require a source of heat for cooking, whether this be through open flames or Heat Boxes or localized concentrated heat sources or even Elemental Magic. Additional options include tools for frying or steaming food items as well. Lastly, a kitchen requires a method to clean spent dishes and utensils as well as cooking tools. This could be as simple as hand washing in a sink, or as complex as a runed device specially designed to automate the cleaning process.
A quality recipe requires quality ingredients, the consumable materials of the kitchen. Required ingredients rely heavily upon the recipes and styles of food to be cooked, ranging from spices and herbs to meats or fish to fruits and vegetables and mushrooms. If something can be safely consumed and someone finds the taste pleasing it can be found in a kitchen somewhere.
Chefs typically work in a kitchen equipped with all the tools and ingredients needed to prepare their particular foods. Kitchens require flat counter spaces for everyone preparing the foods, as well as ample storage for their tools and ingredients. The best kitchens also contain localized systems to control air flow away from open flames and heating elements. Different equipment is required depending upon the type of food. For example, a method of refrigeration is a must for anything to be kept cold or frozen, while cool dry areas are needed for many spices which spoil if too wet. Different cooking methods will require different cooking fixtures and equipment as well, ranging from open flames to Heat Boxes to specialized enchanted items for crushing or mixing things. All of these require a suitable space within the kitchen.
To be a chef is to invent and create delectable food items, from appetizers to entrees to desserts. These acts of cooking and baking are performed in professional kitchens but also private homes. Typically only those who work in a kitchen in a professional capacity will call themselves a chef, although any individual capable of consistently producing professional quality meals is permitted to claim the title of Chef for themselves.
Dangers & Hazards
Chefs face high heats regularly and must be careful not to burn themselves with their equipment or their products. They must also be careful not to cut themselves on the many sharp utensils around the kitchen. Careful chefs also clean as they go to prevent cross contamination, as well as slips and falls. Care must be taken with the food being prepared as well. Foods prepared improperly may cause food poisoning, and some ingredients require particular attention in their preparation process to prevent the poisoning of consumers. Incorrect processes could also lead to food which does not taste the way the chef intends, which could ruin careers depending upon the individual eating the food.
Cook, Baker, Soup Spinner
Staple. Everyone has to eat, and nobody wants to eat the same recipes at home all the time.
Professional chefs must follow all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to safety within the kitchen as well as those governing the quality and safety of their food.