When a family hires more than one servant, a cook is one of the most likely to get an independent job, and after the butler and housekeeper in the traditional hierarchy the cook comes 3rd. In a great house, the cook is the head and supervisor of all kitchen staff.
The cook, whether male or female, is traditionally ruler of their domain in the kitchen such that only the master and mistress of the house had any practical authority over them. This power even extended to being able to discipline children of the house that crossed them in their domain. If the family practices corporal punishment this could take the form a spanking, possibly with the wooden spoon.