I'm trying to find a word or title which describes a person that is in charge of food supplies, preferably for a household specifically.

I'm fine with colloquial expressions (even if they're no longer colloquial, having once been so is enough), official titles (formal or not, in current use or not). The best answer will be a single word or concise phrase, and a term in more recent use will be preferred to one that is older. An ideal answer will be a word or phrase in English (of any variety), but answers in any language are acceptable (whether a loanword, calque, or purely non-English term).

If no such term or title for a person exists, I'm also open to any word for something which tracks the food inventory available (again, particularly for a personal household).

The closest I've been able to find is the French chef garde manger, but I'd never heard the title before searching this out. Pantry chef was another contender I came across, but seems to be an English variant of the French phrase.

These are possibly acceptable, but are less than ideal to me because they were fairly obscure to me an also include the word chef, which to my mind connotes food preparation more than tracking food inventory.

  • The "grocery getter" is pretty common.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 23:21
  • 1
    Project Gutenberg has digitized a number of books from the 1700´s and 1800’s that deal with the hiring and management of household staff. If you need a complete vocabulary, as opposed to just this one term, there are resources out there.
    – user205876
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


Historically, in the household staff of a wealthy or noble family, this was the role of the butler. According to Wikipedia,

A butler is a domestic worker in a large household. In great houses, the household is sometimes divided into departments with the butler in charge of the dining room, wine cellar, and pantry. [emphasis added]

In more modern usage, the butler is often the manager of the entire household staff, but may still have ultimate responsibility for food (and other) supplies, so the word might still fit your requirements.


Pantreman (1522), Pantré-man, Pantrieman, Pantriman and pantryman were all used in C16th Scotland.

In around 1565 George Buchanan was empowered by the parliament to look into the costs of various colleges of St. Andrew's University. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of George Buchanan, by David Irving, 1817, quotes a short note of his, written in this connection, which mentions,

The cook, steuart, porter, and pantriman, ilke ane of them ane bread, ane pint of ale, in the day and halfe ane quarter of mutton, or equivalent among them, ane courss of fish att melteth(*); sixtein pennies the day.

(*) from Middle English mel tid: Early Modern English meale-tyde: meal-time.

'Pantryman' seems still to be in quite a few dictionaries. And not marked as obsolete. And I guess anyone reading the word would know what it meant even if they hadn't seen it before.

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