How to become a Chef

What is a Chef?

A chef is a trained professional cook and tradesman who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation, often focusing on a particular cuisine. They prepare food in restaurants and other dining establishments. They also supervise other culinary workers and oversee the running of a kitchen and, often, an entire dining establishment.

How to become a Chef?

To become a chef, you could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in Culinary arts or professional cookery.

You’ll usually need:

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

If you have no experience, you could volunteer in a community kitchen before applying for a job. You could start work as a kitchen assistant or trainee ‘commis’ chef and work your way up while learning on the job. You could apply for work with restaurants or catering companies.

Chef Duties

There are many roles and responsibilities of a chef, including:

  • Set up the kitchen with cooking utensils and equipment, like knives, pans and kitchen scales
  • Study each recipe and gather all necessary ingredients
  • Maintain standards for food storage, rotation, quality, and appearance
  • Manage food costing and inventory
  • Ensure that all dishes are cooked well and presented in an aesthetically pleasing way
  • Train new kitchen staff
  • Oversee food preparation, checking that all kitchen staff are performing their duties

Chef Skills

To be an effective chef, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Ability to manage a team of cooks
  • Ability to work under extreme pressure
  • Excellent knife-handling skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge of culinary techniques and practices
  • Excellent time management

How to find a chef job

When you search for chef jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. To find all the chef jobs near you;

  • Search for chef jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Chef Job Titles

When you search for a chef job online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for chef jobs include;

  • Executive Chef
  • Head Chef
  • Sous Chef
  • Chef de Partie
  • Pastry Chef
  • Commis Chef

What does a chef do?

The job of a chef varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of chef job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a chef include;

  • Prepare attractive menus to nutritional standards
  • Keep to hygiene, health and safety and licensing rules
  • Control and order stock and inspect it on delivery
  • Gut and prepare animals and fish for cooking
  • Cook and present food creatively
  • Monitor production to maintain quality and consistent portion sizes

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