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 the essential information from a current working 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.
Discover the key steps on how to become a chef in the UK, including training and gaining experience.
How do I become a chef? 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 training in 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 is 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.
How To Become A Chef With No Experience
There has never been a better time to become a chef and start a rewarding career than today. Are you asking the question of how do I become a chef with no experience?
Do you have a passion for food and enthusiasm to work in a great team then a chef career could be for you? Do you have no experience and only a basic qualification level achieved?
Then once more a chef career could be the ideal opportunity for you to achieve professional success.
So you have an interest in food that could develop into a passion and a desire to become a successful professional chef. Today – right now is the right time to follow your dream. There are many opportunities out there in today’s service industry specifically the hospitality industry.
There are people who have done just that and taken action on their career today. They are the ones who will be getting into the jobs tomorrow by taking action today. They are aware that they can become chefs having answered the question of how do I become a chef with no experience.
Becoming a chef is a fantastic choice of career if you are willing to work hard and persevere to achieve your ambitions. With the correct plans in place to follow anyone can become a chef.
You can begin your journey today. HOW. You may think you need qualifications and college education to begin your first job as a commis chef.
This, however – is not true as becoming a chef is possible for anyone with the correct guidance and attitude.
Here are my four top tips for becoming a chef with no experience
1. Start from the bottom
Starting from the bottom of the kitchen (wash up) is a great way to get yourself into your first kitchen. Furthermore in your first commis chef job. It is easy to find a kitchen porters job (wash up). Contact the establishments you wish to take a commis chef’s job and ask if they have any kitchen porter jobs.
You will find a job quickly as kitchen porters are in demand. Show your enthusiasm, interest in cooking and wanting to become a chef, also watch the chefs working to learn how they work. Also, do a great kitchen porters job. This could take 3 – 6 months for you to get noticed as a future commis chef.
Networking can be used as a powerful tool. If you know anybody within your friends or family that are working within the industry ask them if they have heard about any vacancies.
Social media is a fantastic tool. Build up friends and like pages relevant to the hospitality industry and keep your eyes peeled for any information that comes up for the recruiting of new staff.
3.A concise CV
What is a CV?
A CV is a summary of your career history, this is an extremely important document, as it will demonstrate the skills and experience you have gained.
The importance of a well-written CV is crucial to your success in achieving your first commis chef job. Essential points to remember when you are preparing your CV
Your CV needs to be:
- Easily readable;
- Well written and concise;
- Tailored to the job role description;
- Accurate to your own experience, (do not lie).
“You will also need to have 2 good references, make sure you contact your references so they are aware you will be using them.”
As an apprentice, you will work towards a qualification, usually spending one day a week at college. The rest of the week will be spent gaining practical training on the job from industry experienced staff, and you will be paid.
“These are my four insider tips for gaining a commis chef job with no experience.”
Final thoughts on becoming a chef with no experience.
Becoming a chef is a rewarding in-demand career that anyone can achieve when asking the question of how do I become a chef with no experience. It is a matter of perseverance and having the correct guidance to achieve professional success.
A chef career is possible with no previous experience or qualifications, and these tips show you how. This is the exact way I started my chef career and achieved my first commis chef job, by starting at the bottom.
For more information on BAChefUK