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Itamae (Chef)

  • Itamae


    Today I would like to talk about the Japanese word “itamae.”

    “Ita” means “chopping board,” “mae” means “in front of,” and “itamae” means a person who work in front of a chopping board, that is, a chef (especially a chef of Japanese cuisine).

    Since only “ita” can mean a chef, you can refer to the chef as something like “ita-san.”
    (Here “san” is an honorific suffix.)

    Also, there are several different names related to “itamae” depending on the status of the chef.

    The top-ranking person in the cooking place, ie the master chef is called “hanaita” (“hana” means “flower”) or “itacho” (“cho” means “top”).

    The second ranking person in the kitchen (sous-chef) is called “tugiita” (“tugi” means “next”) or “wakiita” (“waki” means “supporting”).

    Original sentence