How To Become A Chef In The UK
Including Training And Qualifications
How to become a chef in the UK is something more and more people are asking themselves. If you are interested in becoming a chef learn all the information from an industry insider currently working as a chef.
With the rise of celebrity chefs and many great chef/cooking-related TV programmes the rise of becoming a chef has started to be a reality for many people.
I will reveal the key steps on how to become a chef in the UK, including training and gaining experience.
How to become a chef in the UK is a question people are asking themselves more and more. So how can you get yourself into this highly rewarding career?
How To Become A Chef In The UK
It is not essential for qualifications to be gained to get on to the ladder as a chef and have a successful chef career. However, achieving qualifications are a fantastic idea and if you have the drive to achieve recognised qualifications it is highly recommended that you do.
“Qualifications are not essential but will give you experience and you will learn how to do things correctly.”
When you decide further on in your career that you want to work in a lower level kitchen, this can be easily done. Although if you start at a lower level and want to work in a high-level kitchen further in your career. This will be extremely hard due to a lack of the training of a high-level kitchen.
How To Learn To Be A Chef In The UK
7 Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Basic Qualifications Are Needed?
Basic Food Hygiene Certificate (Needs to be updated every 3 years)
Part of the food safety requirements in any food handling workplace is a Food Hygiene Certificate; the CIEH Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene will be needed to fulfil your training.
There are other training bodies that offer the same course including HABC (Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance}. –
For you to achieve this certificate you will need to attend a 1 day – 6-hour training course followed by a multiple choice exam.
You will need to complete the exam. Also making sure that you sign the document and by correctly answering at least 20 questions you will be awarded the certificate.
The importance of gaining the correct training at the start of your career is important. Working in a kitchen where there is a lack of discipline is not a good idea as you will only pick up bad habits.
2. What Is A Chef?
The chef brigade will consist of a number of chef levels, commis chef, chef de partie, sous chef, and the head chef. The head chef will be in charge and run the operation, the chef’s jobs will include:
- Writing menus
- Budget control
- And looking after any staff issues.
The higher-level chefs will have all worked as a commis chef. They will have worked their way up the kitchen brigade ladder.
The higher the level of chef within the brigade, the higher the salary and will increase accordingly.
Chefs can work in a variety of places, these will include: restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, event catering, hospitals, offices, and the list goes on.
3.Two Chef Position – Examples A Chef-de-Partie And The Pastry Chef
Chef de partie
The main jobs of a chef de partie are the overseeing of a specific section within the kitchen, the main sections being: pastry, meat, sauces, fish, vegetables and the starter section.
During busy periods or in larger kitchens the chef de partie may have some help. The help will be from a demi chef de partie or a commis chef who are at a lower level. And as they are still learning how to become a chef in the UK in a professional kitchen. So you will need to manage your staff in the correct way.
Main jobs will include:
- Prep work and the cooking of foods within your section
- You will need to train any junior chefs working with you
- Being aware of portion control and waste management.
- As a chef de partie you will also have the opportunity to help the head chef with new menu ideas.
“When choosing your career path it is recommended that you start your path in the highest-level kitchen possible.
This will ensure that you learn the job correctly without picking up any bad habits. The experience gained here will be extremely valuable for a successful career.”
Pastry chefs are employed in a range of places, including larger hotels, restaurants, cruise ships and bistros. Bakeries and patisseries also employ pastry chefs.
To become a pastry chef it is a good idea to attend a formal training course, and gain qualifications. Furthermore, this will give the correct skills needed to start a successful pastry chef career.
4. How To Gain Essential Experience When You Begin Your Career
To gain the essential experience all chefs need experience and are crucial for a successful professional chef career. Ways of gaining experience include:
- At college, on many college courses, there are practical elements
- Write a letter to your favourite restaurant and ask for some work experienceApply for commis chef jobs at the best kitchens. Also working in high-end kitchens will give the correct training and skills to any chef.
“Antonin Careme is thought of as the first famous chef. An early developer of the refined French style of food we have today, also known as “The king of chefs and chef to kings”
5. What Is The Average Chef Salary?
When starting a chef career you will need to start as a commis chef even if you have completed a college course. This means the salary will reflect accordingly.
When you have a good foundation as a chef a lot more doors will open and as you progress up the ladder the salary will increase with the higher responsibilities.
Average chef salaries in the UK
Commis chef £15000 – £21000 Average = £17000
Chef de partie £19000 – £23000 Average = £20500
Pastry chef £21000 – £29000 Average = £25000
Sous chef £23000 – £29000 Average = £23500
Head chef £21000 – £32000 Average = £25500
Executive chef £25000 – £38000 Average = £35000
6. Can I Open My Own Restaurant?
Yes, you can, many chefs put obstacles in the way when asking themselves this question. When you are skilled as a chef there are many ways to run your own business, this may include:
- A restaurant
- Outside catering
- A personal chef
- A shop selling your foods – bakery or patisserie
- A pop-up restaurant
7. How Do I Start My Own Business?
Firstly decide on the style of business you want to run and write a business plan. And if you have funds to open a restaurant great. If not then, personal chefs or pop-up restaurants are a great idea as the outlay will be a lot less.
Having a website and using social media to promote yourself is a fantastic idea. And in today’s market, you can promote yourself at a relatively low cost for the potential returns on investment.
It is possible to run a specialist dinner once a week as a pop-up restaurant and promote yourself on the Internet at a low cost.
The outlay will be lower than opening a restaurant and it is a good idea to test out new concepts to see if they work.
Becoming a chef in the UK is rewarding in-demand career and to achieve your full success as a professional chef the correct training at the start is crucial.
Gaining qualifications is highly recommended and achieving the best job possible is a must as picking up bad habits is bad for your development.
Furthermore, with the correct training, perseverance and patience a professional chef can achieve success as an entrepreneurial chef.