Is it Proper Etiquette to Call a Chef "Chef"?

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

Many of us enjoy the fruits of a chef's labor, but when it comes to telling him/her so, we can get tongue-tied on the name part.

See also: - Best Kitchen Pranks from Valley Chefs - Should Restaurants Include Gratuity as Part of the Bill?

Is it proper etiquette to call a chef "chef"? What about in and out of the kitchen? I asked a few chefs in the Valley for their thoughts and this is what they had to say.

Chef Christopher Nicosia Sassi

I don't think that it is as much of a question of etiquette as it is one of respect. I don't require that everyone call me chef, but I know that when they do, they are acknowledging that I am the one who is ultimately responsible for the workings of the kitchen.

Bernie Kantak Chef and Partner, Citizen Public House

I think it's a personal preference. I personally don't care for it. In certain situations, it's necessary, but some may get a bit carried away with demanding being called chef. To each his own.

Eric O'Neill Chef and CEO, SmartKitchen.com

I believe the title of chef is something earned in education and earned through the career path they choose. Nowadays, it seems calling someone a chef is used loosely. I'm not saying I don't appreciate the ones who started as the dish washer, and I do understand the culinary industry is a "show me state," but like most careers in this world, a piece of paper that says you graduated validates and grants a title.

Josh Hebert Owner and Chef, Posh

Whatever they prefer. I personally don't demand people call me chef; some people do. I just prefer my name. It's all up to personal preference.

Chef Stephen "Chops" Smith, Searsucker, Scottsdale

Absolutely, especially in front of the staff at the restaurant. Depending on the relationship, outside the restaurant, over a brew or two, may be a little different.

Chef Stephen Toevs The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

Always. In my restaurant, I call all of my chefs "chef." They have earned that respected title and deserve to hear it. Personally, I am proud of being a chef and enjoy hearing others call me by that title.

Gina Buskirk Chef and Owner, Gina's Homemade

Generally, yes, but it depends on the individual, the relationship, and the context. We don't do it in our kitchen, but I respect the etiquette in other people's kitchens.

Chef Don Newman Taps Signature Cuisine & Bar, Mesa

If someone takes the time to go to school and master all the areas of culinary arts, they really did earn the title of chef. Some environments call for etiquette to be used and you hear a lot of "yes chef" and "no chef." I've been in places where calling the guy flipping burgers "chef." I don't mind being called chef at work. I earned it. But being called chef all the time isn't necessary. My first name works, too.

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