Literally means "Chief" in French and has nothing to do with cooking except for the fact that the "Chief of Food" at a restaurant is called the Chef de Cuisine or Chef for short.
Americans do make the mistake of equating a Chef with a Cook, which clearly must piss of any Non-Cooking French Chef...we should therefore keep up the good work.
Also, since a Chef is a "French Chief" and Chief is commonly used as a derisive moniker (a la sport, boss, my friend, jefe, etc), calling someone a Chef can be quite an aggressive insult in certain circles.
Also, a term of the utmost respect depending on context
Chef, nice work picking up that smokin hottie last night. I hope you closed that shit
Chef there is something floating in my water, can I have a clean glass please. On second thought, I don't want this cack'd up tap water, please bring me some bottled, no gas please.
Thanks, Chef (very context specific)
Yo Chef, long time no speak. How are the kids?
2008. április 24.