A garde manger chef is the person in charge of the area of a kitchen where cold dishes are prepared and other foods are stored in a refrigerated area. They oversee cold food production.
Garde manger is French for "keeper of the food." Garde manger chefs have many responsibilities in the kitchen. They are responsible for seasoning cold and hot food. They are experts at seasoning, poaching, simmering, searing, roasting, frying, curing, drying, smoking, marinating, grinding, pureeing, forming, molding, piping, spreading, slicing, cutting, carving, rolling, crimping, tossing and presenting a variety of foods. Garde manger chefs constantly focus on the entire process of preparing food to ensure that it is wholesome, safe and presented in an appropriate manner. A successful garde manger chef is very detail oriented. Garde manger chefs also balance types and amounts of proteins and fats already in meats with the amount of fat that they may need to add to a recipe.
Some examples of garde manger foods are smoked and cured foods, salads and salad dressings, sausages, cheeses, pickled foods, condiments, cold sauces and cold soups. The tradition of the garde manger dates back to pre-refrigeration days, and many garde manager chefs are knowledgeable in classical techniques for preserving foods.