International Chefs Day
annually on October 20th (since 2004)
Dr. Bill Gallagher in 2004
Food & Drink
Work & Career
Created by Chef Dr. Bill Gallagher in 2004, International Chefs Day celebrates the chef profession. There is a specific focus on children: Chefs use the day to inspire and educate the next generation of chefs. They focus on the joys of cooking, the importance of sustainability, and healthy eating. The goal is for the impact to go beyond just one day, for a lasting impression to take hold, and to foster a lifetime of love of cooking, sustainability, and nutrition.
Worldchefs, where Bill Gallagher was a "Life Honorary President," organizes the day. Each year there is a theme. Partnering with Nestlé Professional, they have provided a toolkit—with instructions, materials, recipes, and social media tips—and other information on how to successfully organize workshops and events. Worldchefs says of the day, "By sharing the joys of the culinary profession, Nestle Professional and Worldchefs hope to leave a lasting impact on young hearts, nurturing the potential of future culinary leaders."
Chefs were first employed by kings, aristocrats, and priests. In contrast, the lower classes cooked for their own families. Culinary arts in the Western world began expanding at the end of the Renaissance. There was a shift from chefs working exclusively for the nobility to them also working in inns and hotels. It was at this time that the studying of culinary arts as its own field also began. At first, studying happened by apprenticeship, with students accompanying professional cooks. In 1879, Boston Cooking School opened, becoming the first cooking school to open in the United States. Today there are thousands of culinary arts schools around the world, and many colleges and universities offer culinary arts degrees as well.
Cooks and chefs are both involved in the culinary arts. Although a cook is sometimes referred to as a chef, this is not necessarily the correct term for them in the culinary world. Cooks prepare food, help chefs, and manage food stations. A chef is a type of trained and professional cook. They have knowledge of food science, nutrition, diet, and of preparing and presenting meals. Although they are knowledgeable in all types of food preparation, they often focus on a particular cuisine. They may be formally trained at an institution, or they may learn their craft by being an apprentice of an experienced chef. They work in restaurants, but also in delicatessens, as well as in somewhat large institutions such as hotels and hospitals. They wear a toque blanche hat, neckerchief, double-breasted jacket, and an apron.
There are different types of chefs, and there is a system called a kitchen brigade by which the hierarchy of chefs is classified. The chef de cuisine is sometimes also known as an executive chef, master chef, or head chef. They are in charge of the kitchen and may be in charge of the menu, managing the kitchen staff, and ordering inventory, among other things. The sous-chef is second-in-command and fulfills various duties to keep the kitchen running smoothly. They may fill in for the chef de cuisine, and also may help the chef-de-parties when needed. A chef-de-partie is known as a line cook or station chef. They take care of a specific area of production. They may have their own hierarchy, such as "first cook," "second cook," and so forth. If they work in a large kitchen, they may have assistants; range chefs may work under them as well. There are many other titles in the brigade system.
How to Observe International Chefs Day
Worldchefs suggests the following ways to take part:
- Cooking Workshops: Organize interactive cooking workshops for kids where they can learn simple and fun recipes. Encourage them to get hands-on experience in the kitchen and discover the joy of preparing their own meals.
- Nutrition Education: Host educational sessions on the importance of balanced diets and nutrition. Teach children about the various food groups and the benefits of incorporating fresh, local produce into their meals.
- Food Safety Awareness: Emphasize the significance of proper food handling and safety practices in the kitchen. Instill in children the habits of cleanliness and good hygiene while cooking and handling food.
- Farm Visits: Take the children to visit local farms or community gardens to show them where their food comes from. Teach them about sustainable farming practices and the importance of supporting local producers.
- Food Art and Creativity: Encourage kids to express their creativity through food art. Have them design and create their own visually appealing dishes using various colorful ingredients.
- Food Donation Drives: Organize food donation drives with the children to raise awareness about food insecurity. Teach them about the value of giving back to the community and helping those in need.
- Cultural Culinary Journey: Introduce children to different cuisines from around the world. Let them explore diverse flavors and cultural traditions, promoting understanding and appreciation for global culinary heritage.
- Chef Mentorship: Pair up young aspiring chefs with experienced members to provide mentorship and guidance. Inspire them to pursue their culinary dreams and support their passion for cooking.
Make sure to download the toolkit from the day's website to help you plan your workshop or event.
Some other ways you could take part include:
- Enroll in a culinary arts program and become involved with the American Culinary Federation.
- Watch famous television chefs.
- Read a book about professional cooking or a book recommended by the American Culinary Federation.