Chef

Alternative titles for this job include Head chef, sous chef, commis chef, cook

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

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter

to

£40,000 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 can study for a higher education qualification in:

  • culinary arts
  • professional cookery
  • bakery and patisserie technology
  • food and nutrition

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

You could take a college course to get into this industry. Courses include:

  • hospitality and catering
  • professional cookery
  • culinary skills
  • a T Level in Catering

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this career by doing an apprenticeship. There are several available for this role, including:

  • Production Chef or Commis Chef Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Chef de Partie Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Senior Culinary Chef Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship

These take between 1 and 2 years to complete.

You can also train to be a chef by doing 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
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start work as a kitchen assistant or trainee commis chef in a restaurant or catering company and work your way up while learning on the job.

More Information

Career tips

You'll need a food safety certificate as a chef. Training courses last 1 to 2 days and are widely available through local authorities, colleges and private training providers.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a chef from Caterer.com.

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of food production methods
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • 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

As a chef, you would:

  • develop recipes, plan menus and create new dishes
  • research new ingredients and suppliers
  • prepare and cook dishes and desserts
  • control stock and inspect deliveries
  • maintain food safety and hygiene standards
  • supervise kitchen staff to make sure food is of high quality, presented well and served on time

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, humid and physically demanding.

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 from being a commis chef, preparing and cooking dishes, to sous chef, supervising staff and running a kitchen when the head chef is away.

As a head chef, you could train to move into restaurant or hospitality management. If you work for a chain, you may be responsible for managing several sites.

You could also set up a catering business or open your own restaurant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Chef Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £11,684.00 Annually
  • Location: Not known

Apprentice Production Chef

  • Wage: £9,609.60 Annually
  • Location: Marshgate

Courses In England

Catering & Professional Cookery (Level 2)

  • Provider: ELY COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Ely

Certificate in Hospitality and Catering Principles (Professional Cookery)

  • Provider: HARINGEY SIXTH FORM COLLEGE
  • Start date: 05 September 2024
  • Location: LONDON

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