Chef Careers

How to Become a Chef

It takes more than a passion for cooking food in the life of a chef. Many a person will enter the career thinking it’s right for them, because they love to cook. If that’s the reason why you fancy taking up the fine art of culinary cuisine, then you may want to look into becoming a cook instead. The difference between the two is that a cook is just that. The person who does the cooking. A chef on the other hand is the person who manages the entire kitchen. They experiment with different dishes, put their own creative menus together, and mainly work in top restaurants, fine wine bars and award winning hotels.

Become a Chef

By all means, if it’s cooking you’re interested in, you’ll certainly find it a career advantage by training to chef standards, as you broaden your employment prospects to find cooking work in the kitchens of schools, hospitals, colleges, universities, and business canteens. Besides that, you could find yourself working self-employed with your own snack bar, café, takeaway, or restaurant.

Celebrity chefs have drove enthusiasm for this career, and it’s now one of the most sought after careers, yet for years there’s been a shortage in experienced, suitably qualified chefs to meet consumer demand, and expectations. As part of the hospitality sector, you’ll be entering a profession with an estimated 250’000 chefs.

The market is the fastest growing and shows no sign of slowing.

To be able to make it in the profession takes a certain type of person. Someone who has no problem taking charge, being a leader, with exceptional organisational skills and the ability to multi-task. Being a team player is a must have characteristic, as kitchens have a chain of command.

The order of a large kitchen will be as outlined in the list below.

  • Head chef
  • Sous Chef
  • Expediter
  • Chef de Partie
  • Commis Chef

At the height of your employed career, you’ll be a head chef, which will see you manage the entire kitchen staff, stock control, recruitment, budgets, menu creations and much more. Going into business for yourself is another route you can take, and in the profession, that’s referred to as being a chef patron, responsible for the entire restaurant, while doing all the food preparation, cooking, presentation and menu creation.

It’s certainly a career that has its rewards, plenty of opportunities, and a clear path for career progression.

Chef Training

The earlier you begin your chef training, the sooner you can get into work. The road to become a chef is long and arduous and the rewards will come further on in your training. Even the training can be difficult. Firstly being tested on paper, then receiving physical training in college classrooms, to prepare for the realities of life in the kitchen, behind the scenes of the candlelit romantic scenes at the front of house.

Chef Training

When your start out, you’re going to be a Commis chef.

In other words, you’ll be a trainee.

There’s very little chance of you training for 2 years in college, qualifying to work in kitchens and find yourself landing a job in culinary arts cooking. You have to take a realistic approach to your chef training, understanding that you’ll have to work your way to the top, towards achieving a career that you have a strong desire to work towards.

Only the best chefs make it onto become a head of chef, in some of the UKs most pristine restaurants. Firstly, you can find that established restaurants may train from within, through apprenticeship programs.

You can look for those positions becoming available, or you can canvass the restaurants near to you, expressing your desire to get started in this line of work, and asking if there’s a possibility of apprenticeship program through them. You don’t get if you don’t ask!

Even if you fail though, when you do qualify, you can get back in touch with the places you’ve contacted before, and the chances are highly probably that the establishment will remember you, making it more than likely for you to jump onto the shortlist of applicants when positions become available.

To get the qualifications, the alternative route will be through your local college.

Chef training courses from your local college

The training courses should see you qualified in 2 years of enrolment, and there’s various courses you can train towards certification level. Some qualifications you can work towards are:

  • Introduction to Professional Cookery Level 1 Diploma
  • A Level 2 Certificate in Hospitality and Catering Principles
  • Level 2 Accreditation in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery
  • A Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery

Any of the above courses will give you the essential training you need to start your further training.

Those qualifications will only help you into Commis Chef jobs, and then you’ll gain work experience and be able to access further training courses, achieving higher-level qualifications, to put your career into hyperdrive, ensuring you can progress onto become a Chef, whether it’s a Head Chef or Speciality Chef, that your aspirations are in the food industry.

Further Chef Training

NVQ Level 3 Diplomas in Professional Cookery are available but you might find that they’re all too common for employers to see in the resumes they receive, due to candidates thinking that the natural progression from a Level 2 NVQ, would be the to study towards the next level up. That’s where you can separate yourself from the pack, and divide into training suited to the work you want to do, and what employers need you to do.

The higher education you have, the more employability you have. A chef with a Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering, will be suited to work with more responsibilities. When you start as a Commis chef, ready for career progression, employers can take comfort in knowing they’ve an extra pair of trained eyes, ensuring the kitchen is run safely, and hazard free.

It can also be of benefit to you get experience covering the next chef in line up the chain of command, during absences, or perhaps when another chef is on their break, you’ll have the training and support to take charge, which is essential to progress into senior chef jobs. A Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery, can help you gain station seniority, managing one particular section of the kitchen. That could be the a Desert Station Sous Chef.

To get to Sous Chef level, you’d need to study towards an NVQ level 3 Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership. That leadership training is going to be your key to becoming a head chef, in charge of all the kitchen stations. For those who want to become a Chef to get creative with their dishes, design their own menus, and offer a palette of unique tastes, the qualification you can work towards is a Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts, in some of the finest restaurants, or if you’re up the challenge, open your own restaurant.

Chef Jobs

There are many different types of chef jobs available. Some are entry level jobs that require little or no qualifications, however many chef jobs require a certain degree of training and experiences. We have listed the most popular chef jobs below:

Chef Jobs

Chef de Partie Jobs

The chef de partie (otherwise known as a station chef or line cook)is in charge of a particular station within a kitchen. A chef de partie will usually.. Find out more about chef de partie jobs

Chef Manager Jobs

The role of a chef manager is a varied one. A chef manager is usually responsible for keeping the kitchen running smoothly. The tasks of a chef manager may include… Find out more about chef manger jobs

Commis Chef Jobs

Commis chef are the apprentice chef of a kitchen. As a commis chef you will normally get to learn the functions of each station within the kitchen. The commis chef will… Find out more about commis chef jobs

Head Chef Jobs

The head chef can also be known as the executive chef or the chef de cuisine. The head chef job as the title would suggest is the… Find out more about head chef jobs

Kitchen Staff Jobs

The job description of kitchen staff (otherwise known as kitchen assistants or kitchen porters) is to assist the kitchen chefs and … Find out more about kitchen staff jobs

Pastry Chef Jobs

A pastry chef is in charge of preparing baked goods including pastries and in particular desserts. The pastry chef is normally one of … Find out more about pastry chef jobs

Restaurant Deputy Manager Jobs

The restaurant deputy manager works under the direct supervision of the restaurant manger. The restaurant deputy manager job will be… Find out more about  deputy restaurant manager jobs

Restaurant Manager Jobs

A restaurant manager is in overall charge of the day to day running of a restaurant or dining establishment… Find out more about restaurant manager jobs

Sous Chef Jobs

The sous chef in essence is the head chefs assistant and is second in command of the kitchen. More often than not smaller kitchens will… Find out more about sous chef jobs

Waiting Jobs

Waiting staff are important to the running of a successful restaurant or bar. They are the ones who will interact directly with the customers… Find out more about waiting jobs