The Brigade System in today's kitchen is the same model that was in place before Escoffier created the Brigade System.
A Chef is always the leader of the kitchen.
- An Executive Chef is more of a coordinator - And may manage two or more kitchens. They may not work in the kitchen at all.
If someone calls themselves an Executive Chef, and they are working in a kitchen, and only one kitchen - then they are just a Chef.
If a chef plans the menu, he could be called a Chef de Cusine. BUT: If he is the same chef that works in that kitchen - he is just a Chef.
In large organizations, you will have a Chef that manages each kitchen.
The Chef de Cusine and Executive Chef may be the same person or serve the same role as an overall manager of the kitchen chefs.
- In today's kitchen, they need these guys to maximize profit by coordinating the supply chain to multiple site kitchens.
If a Chef is the leader of a kitchen, but he gets his menu planned by an Executive or Chef de Cusine - then he is not a chef - he is just a journeyman talent resource, and known as Institutional Cook or Chef supervisor.
Suppose that a Chef is the main guy that has authority over ordering, menu and management. In that event, he may delegate menu coordination among the lead cooks in his brigade. Fish, Meat, Muse, Dessert, Apps - they will all coordinate and determine the next day's menu (or weekly menu), based on what product they have to cycle-out, what is in season and what input or guidance the Chef may offer. Most professional kitchens run this way - where every cook is completely responsible for their own station.
I made fun of the brigade system in my opening statement becayse most places just have four primary stations: Meat, Fish, Cold and Dessert. If it is a high-output kitchen they will have a dedicated fry or grille station, maybe... hot and cold apps are split, maybe... But it is more or less those four primary positions and then a brigade full of low-skill grunts for everything else.