In restaurants the back of house refers to the organization tasked with preparing food, washing dishes, receiving deliveries, and cleaning.
Back of house differs from front of house which is responsible for the dining experience of guests - serving, hosting, bartending, running food, etc.
The back of house can be divided into several sub organizations which can include prep kitchens, line cooks, porters, and pastry programs.
Back of house organizations are hierarchical and in general report to an executive chef.
Reporting directly to the executive chef are the sous chefs. Sous chefs are tasked with ensuring the quality and consistency of food going to the dining room, hiring, ordering, receiving, managing linen deliveries, waste oil removal, and running a.m. and p.m. services. There are optionally senior sous chefs and chefs de cuisine, the back of houses number two.
New hires in the culinary organization will generally start as prep cooks receiving food shipments, organizing refrigerated goods and dry goods, washing vegetables, making stock, and doing other bulk food prep tasks. Other sub disciples of the prep organization can include meat and fish butchery, production pasta making, and charcutere.
the cooks the work lunch and dinner shifts are called line cooks. They perform their own prep tasks specific to their station and work a station during service. The various positions on the line can include garde manger or pantry which can be broken into hot and cold appetizers. Fry cooks are focused specifically on deep fried items. Sauté cooks work with sauté pans on a range. Grill cooks grill proteins to temperature on a gas or wood fired grill, broiler cooks use a broiler. Other cuisine specific stations exist such as wok and pasta.
Pastry organizations have their own sous chefs and head pastry chefs. Pastry labor is generally divided into production and service. Bakers are responsible for baked goods principally bread. Confection production makes the desserts which will be plated by the pastry cooks running service.
Other ancillary roles can exist in the back of house such as individuals in charge of maintaining relationships with purveyors, expeditors, and food runners.