Chef

Alternative titles for this job include Cook

Chefs prepare, cook and present food in hotels, bars and restaurants.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a chef

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in culinary arts or professional cookery.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

College

One way to become a chef is to take a college course, such as:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery
  • T Level in Catering
  • Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could also do an apprenticeship to become a chef, including:

  • production chef intermediate apprenticeship
  • commis chef intermediate apprenticeship
  • senior production chef advanced apprenticeship
  • chef de partie advanced apprenticeship

You can also train to be a chef through an apprenticeship in the armed forces.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start as a kitchen assistant or trainee chef, known as commis chef. You could then work your way up while learning on the job.

Restaurants and catering companies often advertise for kitchen assistants and commis chefs.

Volunteering

If you have no experience, you could volunteer in a community kitchen before applying for a job.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a chef from the Hospitality Guild and Caterer.com.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on the type of chef you are, you could:

  • prepare attractive menus to nutritional standards
  • control and order stock and inspect it on delivery
  • prepare food for cooking
  • cook and present food creatively
  • work under pressure so food is served on time
  • keep to hygiene, health and safety and licensing rules

Working environment

You could work at a restaurant, in an NHS or private hospital, at a school, at a college or on a cruise ship.

Your working environment may be hot, physically demanding and humid.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress through the different levels of chef:

  • station chef: looking after a particular area, such as desserts
  • sous chef: running an entire kitchen when the head chef is busy
  • head chef or chef de cuisine: running a kitchen, creating menus and managing the budget
  • executive chef: only at very large companies, managing multiple kitchens, doing little cooking

You could also:

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Lv 2 Commis Chef Apprentice - London

  • Wage: £21,840.00 Annually
  • Location: London , UK

Commis Chef Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,004.80 Annually
  • Location: MAPLETON ROAD, ASHBOURNE, ENGLAND

Courses In England

NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery

  • Provider: NEWCASTLE AND STAFFORD COLLEGES GROUP
  • Start date: 01 September 2023
  • Location: Stafford

Professional Cookery NVQ Diploma - Level 2

  • Provider: SOUTH THAMES COLLEGES GROUP
  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: MORDEN

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