How to Become a Chef in the UK: Complete Career Guideline

How to Become a Chef in the UK

Choosing a career for yourself can be a confusing as well as intimidating task. But this is not the case if you have already recognized your passion. Many passionate foodies have interest on cooking are nowadays pursuing their dream to become a chef. Going through the blog will enlighten you on how to become a chef in the UK. You will also get insights from experts on how to prepare yourself for the journey to become a chef.

What does a Chef do?

Before knowing how to be a chef lets get you up close and familiar with what a chef does. A chef is a professional whose in charge of overseeing the activities in a restaurant kitchen. He is Proficient in all aspects of food preparation often focusing on a particular style of cuisine.

The responsibilities of a chef are

  • Plan the menu
  • Overseeing and coordinate the purchase of items
  • Set up the kitchen with all the required cooking utensils and equipment
  • Managing budgets and maintain kitchen costs
  • Ensure quality of prepared food
  • Train, organize and manage the kitchen staff
  • Ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment in the kitchen
  • Take feedback from guests and maintain customer satisfaction

How to become a chef?

You may have cooked for your friends and family and got huge compliments and appreciation. But becoming a professional chef is something different. Like any other professionals your journey to evolve into a chef starts from the bottom. You will need to climb up the ladder from there on.

The entry level chef is called a commie chef. The role is designed for beginners to get used to the setting of an industrial kitchen. From there on you will have to work your way to the top.

In the industrial kitchen the head chef leads the whole setting. He has a deputy who takes his pace from time to time during his absence. The deputy is Followed by the Chefs de partie stationed in various sections of the kitchen working with particular cuisines of types of food. The commie chef is the entrance level as a chef.

From getting your first job as a commie chef it’s all about how you perform and react to situations as a chef.

Chef qualifications

In order to work as a Commis chef you got to land a job in the industry. The recruiters have a keep eye on college degrees for this position. But the number of college graduates opting to follow this route aren’t that much. 

So there is also a chance of taking up apprenticeships and joining as junior chef or in a helping role and to gradually proceed to the commie chef role. The additional advantage of availing such programs are that you directly get to work with professional and observe them very closely while you also get to study. In addition, you get a fulfilled practical experience while you are still learning. And also you get to earn a few quids. 

To join an apprenticeship you have to complete obligatory GCSE exams to join the industry. Having Good scores in maths and English will count as an added advantage for you.

Courses to become a chef

Apart from college education and culinary schooling there are a few different choices as well. You can start training as soon as you finish your obligatory GCSE exams. Appearing an apprenticeship training is useful as it gives you both time to study and learn from experienced professionals.

Before entering an apprenticeship it’s better to get started with an online course to get you up and running with. The course will get you familiar with all the dos and don’ts to bes and not to bes of the industry.

Duties of a Commis chef

The job responsibilities of a Commis chef doesn't include actual coking. They help actual station chefs activities might range as follows

  • Blanch vegetables, prepare shellfish, chop salad leaves, pick herbs, or whip up a salad dressing
  • scrub fridges and walk-in freezers and generally be a good help to the Chef De Partie
  • The of the station chef is to get done with the jobs none is jumping through.

9 Important tips to become a chef

Nowadays, the hospitality industry is highly diverse. Choosing to start a career as a chef will expose you to a lot of possibilities. Currently, there are so many dining experiences available. Even with everything going around in the current world there remains a high demand for skills chefs.
Of course the prospect is not such an easy one. It’s a lot of hard work and honest money.but certain convertible skills will make you stand out among others. Hare are a few:

1. Be Passionate

As a Commis chef you may be just peeling potatoes, preparing serving dishes or washing and peeling of vegetables. These are the duties every head chef had to do for hours to reach where he is now. The facet is when you start off you have to start off right from the bottom. So no matter how small your contribution starts from you should do it with absolve passion for your work.

2. Desire to learn

As a demi chef you must always keep a keen interest to learn from the senior chefs. One of the key feature of working as a chef is you get to work around a lot of experienced hands. So if you keep a keen watch out for how your senior colleagues work, you can surely learn a lot of things.

3. Be confident

Be confident while doing what you are asked to do. You may be a shaky starter at the beginning. But you will need to look forward to brushing it off by being confident with whatever you are asked to do. Then ultimately the chefs will feel comfortable giving you more responsible duties that will help you get more experience. Its also important you don’t

4. Organization skills

The kitchens in the culinary industry are busy paces. Workers are obliger by the law to maintain certain standard for quality of food and the safety of its consumers. But working in busy schedules you will find it challenging to keep the place tidy and in order. If the section you work in get messy it will hamper your work as well. So spend some of your time and attention to tidy up your workplace. Staying organized will help you stay in control of all the works you’re assigned with.

5. Multitasking ability

Your aptness to successfully multitask will work wonders in your quest to set off as a Chef. Working on the production line of the culinary industry you need to customize each plate. While working, you have to keep in mind what’s your role and what will other do from it. So this will need you to do factoring and work accordingly to make a dish come together. Being able to think all these in your head all at once counts as a very essential skill for chefs at work.

6. Creativity

It takes a lot much more to be a great chef other than just following the recipes. The chef has to look after how the dishes are served and how it tastes to the customers. To build his own rapport a chef also has to maintain the uniqueness of dishes to keep the customers coming in. The creativity of the chef is what serves the customers with authentic experiences. These skills are always valued in the restaurant industry to bring back customers over and over again.

7. Time management

Being a chef is a busy job. You have to perform several tasks one after another or sometimes you may even have to do it a few at a time. Often keeping up with time becomes a challenge for many. So beginners who are good with dividing their time will find a lot of help in their work.

8. Teamwork

People of different backgrounds come together to work in a professional kitchen. One thing that binds all of them have the one thing is their passion for cooking. In large scale kitchens no matter how small your role may be once you get involved in the production line your role matter as much as anyone else’s. So becoming a team player realizing your roles and taking up leadership is a highly appreciated skill in the industry.

9. Energetic

Chefs need to for long hours in a very competitive atmosphere. So you definitely need to be an energetic person in order to comply to the roles and responsibilities. You will need to stand for most of your working hours. In addition, you will be working demanding shifts working side by side with many other people. You will require a lot of stamina and resilience to cope with the hot temperatures and demanding work schedules.

How to get the essential work experience as a chef

The primary requirement to get you yourself into the Culinary industry is completing coursework on becoming a chef. A level 3 course on how to become a chef is necessary to start practising. Upon finishing the courses you have to seek job online or to look for apprenticeships.
You can easily find a job as a junior level cook in restaurants. Your real learning experience will start from there. You will be able to achieve higher ranks by completing more course work as you work with senior chefs.
To get employment in the culinary industry its necessary to have completed coursework on food hygiene and health.

Different types and levels of chefs

Then lets get you familiar with the types of chef there are. Generally the modern day kitchen is a noise place and involves a lot of people working under pressure. Normally the chef designs a hierarchy also called the Brigade de cuisine. Under this each person has their own position, station and set number of responsibilities in the kitchen. The most typical positions in the kitchen are listed below form the highest order:

1. Head Chef

The head chef also known as ‘Chef de cuisine’ sits at the top of the kitchen hierarchy. However, he is not directly responsible for cooking. Moreover, he is in charge of all other functional chefs in the kitchen. So it’s a managerial role. If the Executive chef is also the owner of the restaurant he may also be called the chef patron.

2. Deputy chef

Also known as the ‘sous chef’ shares a lot of the managerial responsibilities with the head chef. Further, he is also involved with the day-to-day operations in the kitchen. He receives orders directly from the head chef. In addition, he fills when the head chef absence is absent.

4. Station Chef

The station chefs play the most vital part of the brigade system. Also known as ‘Chef de Partie’ there are always more than one of them. Each of them are responsible for a different section of the kitchen. They manage the section of the kitchen specializing particular dishes.
The various roles of Chef de Partie are as follows:

Sauté chef or sauce chef

Their job is to prepare sauces and gravies that accompany other dishes.

Butcher Chef

Their job is to prepare meat before they are delivered to the respective stations

Poissionnier or fish chef

They are in charge of preparing fish and seafood.

Régisseur or Roast chef

The Roast chef leads the team of cooks that roasts, broils, and deep-fries dishes.

Grillardin or Grill chef

They are the ones the Head chef looks to when they need to grill meat, fish, or even vegetables.

Pantry chef or The Garde Manger

The person is responsible for preparation of cold dishes such as salads, organizes large buffet displays; and prepares charcuterie items.

Pastry chef or The pattisier

He is the man in charge of making cakes, pastries, baked goods and desserts.

The Chef de Tournant or relief chef

The person does not have any specific job. He fills in when needed in any station.

The vegetable chef or Entremetier

They are responsible to prepare soups, vegetables, starches and eggs.

4. Junior chef or Commis chef

The Commis chef works under the station chefs or the Chef de Partie. They are the ones who have recently finished formal training or are still going through training.

5. Kitchen Porter

They are less likely to have gone through any formal training. Their role involves introductory level food preparation such as cleaning vegetables, peeling them and other cleaning duties.

Career as a Chef

  • Building up a career as a chef can be a great option for the chosen ones. Anybody can make a great living becoming a Chef provide he has the right skills and dedication. Commis chef earn around £20,536 annually. The amount goes higher and higher as you go up the ladder.

Concluding remarks

Though you need a lot of sacrifices at the end of the day you won’t regret becoming a Chef. Professional work very had in all sides of the service industry. So do chefs. Work long hours has its own

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