When I mention, yum cookbook, recipes, and how to use knife, what comes to mind? When first using Chef you begin to wonder what they were thinking naming their product such a common thing. Chef is a configuration management(CI) tool. CI is a methodology for programmatically managing software and hardware. There are many popular open source options including Puppet, Ansible, SaltStack, and NixOS to name a few. They differ in their language of implementation, design goals, and range of popularity.