Is Chef a repetitive title like Mr?
June 12, 2007 4:35 PM   Subscribe

This may be a debatable issue, but does anyone know if, when repeatedly referring to a chef, you should call him Chef Smith? I assume just Smith would be fine, but is Chef Smith wrong? or is Mr. Smith disrespectful? Looking at you, Languagehat.
posted by OrangeDrink to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
from my completely expert opinion derived from the first two seasons of "top chef"…(heh) it appears to me there is one head chef in the kitchen and that chef is just referred to as "chef."
posted by violetk at 4:39 PM on June 12, 2007

I go to culinary school. It's Chef "lastname". This is the proper term... Think of it just like "Doctor".
posted by sindas at 4:42 PM on June 12, 2007

Wonderful. Thanks, sindas.
posted by OrangeDrink at 4:44 PM on June 12, 2007

Is he a peer or are you working for one? If the latter, I've always defaulted to "Sir".
posted by unixrat at 4:44 PM on June 12, 2007

What's the context? If you're working in his kitchen, do as the other people working in the kitchen do. If you're writing a piece of journalism, follow the style manual. In casual conversation, the title "Chef" comes off as weird when used repeatedly, as does the title "Mister", and you should probably use just the first or last name.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:45 PM on June 12, 2007

Just "Chef" is for kitchen/restaurant staff in my experience. Chef Smith would be appropriate for a non-staff member talking or writing about said chef. On preview, what roboto said.
posted by sarelicar at 4:46 PM on June 12, 2007

mr_roboto - It's for a piece of journalism. I'm trying to follow AP, but I haven't found anything specific to this in the manual.
posted by OrangeDrink at 4:48 PM on June 12, 2007

From the AP stylebook editor:
When "chef" appears before a name, as in chef John Smith of John's Barbecue, is it ever capitalized? – from Louisville, Ky. on Fri, Jun 08, 2007

We use chef in lowercase in all uses, as an occupational title.
So while you might use "chef John Smith" on first reference (but you might use something like "John Smith, chef at John's Barbecue"), it would just be Smith thereafter.
posted by grouse at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2007

Yeah, just Smith on all subsequent references.
posted by limeonaire at 5:01 PM on June 12, 2007

Thanks for the answer and the new bookmark, grouse. I appreciate the help.
posted by OrangeDrink at 5:01 PM on June 12, 2007

I agree with grouse.
/ex-husband of professional chef
posted by languagehat at 5:44 PM on June 12, 2007

Depends on the context. AP style is one thing. When you're working in a restaurant, and your rank is anything BELOW chef, you should definitely address the person as "Chef."
posted by Miko at 8:58 PM on June 12, 2007

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