Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) when deciding to become a chef
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Here are the answers to some of the common questions you may have to become a chef
Q. How can BAChefUK help me become a chef?
A. We have products, advice and tips on how to become a chef in the UK. Much of the information is also transferable in other countries.
Q. Can I become a chef?
A. Anyone can become a chef with or without cooking experience. Chef’s do not need to attend a catering course however, it is recommended to get formal training, either full time or part time.
Q. How can you help me?
A. I am a current working chef and have over 20 years experience as a chef in the UK, working in a range of places all over the country. I have experience from working in small village pubs to luxury five-star hotels in central London. My guides have been created to get what I have learnt out there in the world.
Q. Do I need to be really passionate about food?
A. As long as you have an interest in working with food and learning to cook then this is a good start.
Q. What if I decide to become a chef is not right for me after a year?
A. Anyone who works as a chef for a year will have picked up basic cooking skills and health and safety knowledge. This will help you as a life skill, don’t worry if you want to change. Focus on what you have learnt and move on, knowing you have learnt important basic cooking skills.
Q. I don’t want to be shouted and screamed at and work really long days! Maybe it’s not for me?
A. Over the last ten years, the industry has been moving forward and many places now promote a quality work-life balance. The management of chefs has improved a lot and carries on doing so.
Q. What doors open up after a few years of experience?
A. Once you have a few years of experience and become a strong chef de partie other routes start to open up. Possible routes such as; Ski seasons, summer seasons, cruise ships, national agency work, promotion to sous chef, running a small kitchen team and starting your own business all open up.
Q. How can I start my own business as an experienced chef
A. Many chefs start by setting up pop-up restaurants, a part-time street food operation or a home cake business. Once they have a viable business they will expand and take it on full-time.
Q. I got bad grades at school and have lots of tattoos!
A. You won’t be judged on your grades as a chef as long as you have the right attitude. Apprenticeships are available to most people. A chef career is one where you can have as many tattoos as you like.
For My Insider Questions and Answers
Q. What is the biggest surprise you have found in your career?
A. As a male chef, how much the chicks dig a man that can cook. As soon as you put those whites on it’s like being in one of those lynx adverts, one spray and wow. You suddenly have this mystery power.
Q. What if I’m a female?
A. You will have the opportunity to make a lot of new friends ; )
Q. Iv heard it is a low paying job, tell me about this.
A. You will have to start on a low salary as a commis. The money goes up once experience has been gained. A good tip here is to work somewhere with a staff house that offers cheap accommodation.
Q. How do I get the best salary later on when I gain experience?
A. Don’t settle for the first wage you are offered, if it’s not enough, move on or hold out for a higher offer. In a previous position, I was working as a freelance chef and was offered a full-time job a number of times. My salary offer went from £19000 !! to £25000 for a chef de partie job role. This is the lowest salary for this job role to the highest for a 40 hour week contract.
Q. Tell me something they don’t want chefs to know.
A. At the present time, there is a shortage of chefs and the industry is growing! For this reason, we can pick and choose jobs that suit us. Chefs are in control of their careers no matter how much employers try to undervalue the position to employ experienced chefs for the lowest wage possible.
Q. Are all chefs on drugs and alcoholics?
A. What chefs do in their own time is never judged, many like to experience these things. However, you can only get away with this behaviour at work for a while. Eventually, you will be caught out or make a horrendous mistake! This has also changed in the last 10 years as people become more healthy in their lifestyles. Such as, when I started my career around 90% of all chefs smoked and was considered normal. Know, it seems more unusual to smoke.
Q. Do you get smoke breaks as a chef?
A. This depends on where you are working and the chef in charge. Never let on that you smoke during your trial period unless the chefs in charge are smokers and have smoke breaks. I have known head chefs to fail people on trials due to finding out that they smoke, (don’t let on until you have passed your trial and have a signed contract, it is not a law in this country to reveal that you smoke).