How to become a chef in the UK

How to become a chef in the UK

If you’re already a chef abroad, and you are thinking about moving to the UK for a job in catering, you might be wondering the best way to find work as a chef. In this post we provide you with a summary of the information you will need to help you find and apply for UK chef jobs.

Thinking of moving to the UK for a job in catering?

Find out everything you need to know about how to become a chef in the UK in 2019, and more.


How much do chefs earn - UK?

According to Payscale, the average Head Chef salary in the UK is £26,741. In the major cities, it’s perfectly normal to expect that people will earn more compared to in the rural areas. Aside from this, if you are in a senior chef job, such as a head chef role, you can also expect to earn more.

What qualifications do you need for UK chef jobs?

If you are thinking about moving to the UK to get a job as a chef, there are a number of qualifications you can earn that could help you be successful when you apply for your next catering job. While many of these are not essential, and UK chef jobs won’t always require you to have these, it could be the factor that puts you ahead of others and gives you the best chance of securing your next chef job in the UK.

Consider this from an employer’s perspective. If you have an open position for a UK chef, you have three candidates, each with similar levels of experience but one of the applicants had the below.

Entry Level Training and Qualifications for UK Chef Jobs

Basic Food Hygiene Certificate – Renews every 3 years

If you are handling food, a food hygiene certificate is a minimal requirement.

The CIEH Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene is offered by many companies online, and it will only need to be renewed once in every three years. Other organisations offer the same course, such as the HABC. As long as you have a valid certification of basic food hygiene, you will meet the minimal requirements for UK chef job applications.

The time it takes to complete a Basic Food Hygiene Certification will usually only be six hours, in a single day. This is followed by an exam, with a multiple-choice test model.

According to the UK National Careers Service, there are a number of desirable qualifications for those looking to get a job as a chef. However, with the exception of a Food Hygiene Certificate, there are no other compulsory requirements.

Required Skills and Knowledge Need to Secure a Role as a Chef

While each establishment will have its own unique style, menu, and chef job specifics; there are a number of core skills you should possess if you want a career as a chef in the UK.

  • Good attention to detail
  • Understand different food production methods
  • Be able to accept feedback
  • Work well under pressure
  • Basic maths and English
  • Sound communication skills

Chef chopping

What are some of the daily duties of a UK chef at work?

As we’ve already mentioned in this post, the specific duties will vary from one establishment to the next, depending on their menu, style, facilities, team, and of course; the type of chef position you are applying for.

  • Food Preparation
  • Cleaning of Food and Equipment
  • Stock Control and Management
  • Cooking Food
  • Food Presentation
  • Maintaining Quality Standards
  • Working in a pressurised environment
  • Maintaining Hygiene Standards
  • Health and Safety Compliance

UK Chef Career Progression

With time and experience, you can progress through the chef ranks and start to work your way up the career ladder.

From highest ranking down, here is the hierarchy of the different chef positions in the UK

  • 1.Group Chef / Executive Chef – Average salary is £35000
  • 2.Head Chef / Chef de Cuisine – Average salary is £25500
  • 3.Second Chef / Sous Chef – Average salary is £23500
  • 4.Station Chef / Chef de Partie – Average salary is £22500
  • 5.Commis Chef– Average salary is £18000
  • 6.Kitchen Assistant - Temp / Part-Time
  • 7.Dishwasher - Temp / Part-Time

Working your way up in the UK catering sector requires commitment and determination. As you get higher up the list, the chef jobs are harder to get and not as readily available as some of the others. However, working as a chef in the UK can provide some varied, exciting, and challenging experiences.

Can you get a UK Chef Job with No Experience?

If you want to become a Chef in the UK, it is possible to start out in one of the lower levels and gain kitchen experience first before getting your first proper chef job.

As long as you have a desire to succeed, a good work ethic, sound communication skills, and you can take criticism constructively; then you have a good grounding for a career in the catering sector. If you are passionate about food, food presentation, or you like to experiment with new foods and flavour, starting a new career as a chef in the UK could be the ideal move for you to take.

Here are a couple of tips if you want to become a chef but have no experience.

  • 1.Be open-minded to working as a kitchen assistant in order to gain work experience first.
  • 2.Be prepared to start from the bottom and work your way up.
  • 3.Network and get to know the people you work with; they might hear of vacancies before you and having a group of people interested in the same thing often helps.
  • 4.Take time to write a compelling C.V; make sure it is easy to read, tailored to the job your applying for, accurate, and well written.
  • 5.Don’t forget to show your passion for the industry and do careful research on the business you are applying to work for.

Becoming a chef in the UK with zero experience is more than achievable, and there are plenty of UK Chef jobs available right now. Now you understand what you need to do to get a chef job in the UK, take a quick look at the UK chef vacancies online here today.

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