Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chief cook and bottle-washer n.

also chief bottle-washer, cook, slush and bottle-washer

1. (also head bottle washer; head cook and bottle-washer) a foreman, a person in authority.

W. Ioor Battle Of The Eutaw Springs II iv: Oliver Matthew Queerfish, esquire; chief cook and bottle washer to his august majesty.
Catharine Maria Sedgwick letter 8 July n.p.: The roar of the cataract of Niagara and the stirring of a custard; the sweet image of les belles soeurs and the heaven-forsaken visage of my chief cook and bottle-washer; the rush of thoughts occasioned by the arrival of the fair foreigner.
Amer. Turf Register and Sporting Mag. 7:11 497: He was constantly seen in the thickest of the crowd: ‘chief cook and bottle washer’.
T.S. Fay Countess Ida Ch. xxi: He’s our right-hand man – our chief cook and bottle-washer.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 6 Oct. Sept. 3/1: Litle Poidevin, Mr. Mark Dixon's locum tenens, head cook and bottle-washer.
[US] ‘Root Hog Or Die’ in I. Beadle Comic and Sentimental Song Bk 50: Chief cook and bottle washer, captain of the waiters.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 66: Fred Jolly being head cook and bottle-washer.
[UK]Sheffield Indep. 23 Dec. 15/3: The owner of the establishment was ‘cook, slush, and bottle-washer’ in one.
[Aus]Camperdown Chron. (Vic.) 25 Jan. 3/1: John Bull [...] is always trying to make out that he is the ‘chief cook and bottle-washer,‘ and it is time we Scotchmen and Irishmen put the curb on him.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 56: I suppose that Napoleon Buttons is Mother B.’s aide-de-camp [...] and chief bottle-washer.
[UK]Morn. Post (Cairns, Qld) 20 July 5/3: Mr Slatcher as S.M., chief cook and bottle-washer has to leave his mail and tend to the goods.
[UK]Conrad Lord Jim 47: The damned bottle-washers stood about listening with their mouths stretched from ear to ear.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 1 May 45/1: Miss Florence Newport was chief cook and bottle-washer.
[UK]P. Macgill Amateur Army 34: They come and bundle you out to [...] run an errand for the ’ead cook and bottle-washer.
[US]‘Commander’ Clear the Decks! 154: Chief bottle-washer and captain of the hold are his sub-titles.
[US]W.A. Livergood diary 18 Sept. [Internet] John Bain was chief cook and bottle washer for the board. Well he called the roll two or three times.
[US]W.A. Gape Half a Million Tramps 324: I was the Secretary, Treasurer, speaker, and, in fact, head cook and bottle washer of the union.
[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ At Swim-Two-Birds 119: Anyway, didn’t he raise the dander of the head of the house, the big man, the head bottle-washer.
[Aus]West. Mail (Perth) 10 Oct. 17/2: Dot is the quartermaster-so-called — she prefers the title of chief cook and bottle-washer, as she is in charge.
Nth. Standard Darwin, NT) 16 Mar. 8/4: Bill, who has been promoted to chief cook and bottle washer, reports everything under control.
[Ire](con. 1890–1910) ‘Flann O’Brien’ Hard Life (1962) 79: Fawkes was the kingpin and the head bottle-washer of the whole outfit.
[US]G.L. Coon Meanwhile, Back at the Front (1962) 53: I’m due to get relieved as chief bottle washer around here.
[Ire](con. 1930s–50s) E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 106: The Boss, Gaffer, Head Buck Cat and The Chief Bottle Washer, all of them wore white coats.
[WI]M. Montague Dread Culture 146: It’s just a small daycare and I’m head cook and bottle washer.
Microsoft Watch 26 Mar. [Internet] [headline] Who Will Be the Next Microsoft Office Chief Cook and Bottle Washer?

2. (also bottle washer) a general factotum who may, in fact, carry out neither of these duties.

[Aus]Queenslander (Brisbane) 12 Nov. 943/3: Mrs Higinbotham was going to be chief cook and bottlewasher in the absence of the servant.
[Aus]Camperdown Chron. (Vic.) 24 Oct. 5/5: A solitary hotel, kept by a miner who was landlord, porter, chief clerk, night clerk, bellboy, cook, bottle manipulator and bottle-washer in one.
[UK]‘J.W.L.’ Slave Stories 59: Never again will I take a refusal, when I offer again to serve as chief cook and bottle-washer of one of your shooting trips, sir.
[UK]A.N. Depew Gunner Depew 274: Kate was the only patient able to be on his feet, so I thought he would have to be my chief cook and bottle-washer for a while.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 265: If it wasn’t for me, she wouldn’t ’a’ eaten anything these last three days. I’ve been Chinee cook an’ Portugee bottle-washer round these diggin’s all that time.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 225: – But wait till I tell you, he said, Delahunt of Camden street had the catering and yours truly was chief bottlewasher.
[Aus]Western Mail (Perth) 4 June 39/2: Chief Cook and Bottle-washer [...] I have been cooking, washing, baking bread as well as doing a spot of ploughing.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 25 Feb. 4/7: The WAAF officer-in-charge [...] is an exceptional person who describes herself as ‘chief cook and bottle-washer’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 31: bottle washer A cook’s helper.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 44: I thought ya was chief cook and bottle-washer at base.
[Aus]Aus. Women’s Wkly 28 Feb. 36s/5: This experience of being ‘chief cook and bottle-washer‘ has helped me realise how much work Mum has to do.
[Aus]Aus. Women’s Wkly 4 Mar. 53/1: Three weeks as shearer’s offsider [...] and chief cook and bottle-washer.
[Aus]Aus. Women’s Wkly 9 Feb. 61/2: Could she take the quivering pieces of herself — Women’s Libber; chief cook and bottle-washer; university graduate — and form a whole woman?
ABC North Queensland (Aus.) 27 Jan. [Internet] Lyn Battle describes herself as Sweers Island ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ but that’s just being modest.