Job Description

Chefs use a variety of methods to produce food. The Head Chef will manage all aspects of the kitchen from the kitchen budget and ordering food to training, recruiting and managing staff, they will set the menus and prices to ensure that they are creative and profitable.


Entry Requirements

There are various ways in which you can get into this job role and the entry requirements can vary depending on what you choose to do:


One way into the job is to take a college course, like a Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery or a Hospitality and Catering course.

You'll usually need:

  • For a level 2 course: 4 GCSEs at grade D (Grade 3) or equivalent to include maths and English.
  • For a level 3 course: 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (Grades 9 -4) or equivalent to include Maths and English.

The following local colleges offer courses in Business:

Or your local 6th form may offer a relevant course


You can learn while you work by doing an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as a chef.

You'll usually need:

  • For an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3): 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • For an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2): some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent.


You could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • culinary arts
  • professional cookery

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

Click here to search for a suitable course.


You could start work as a kitchen assistant or trainee 'commis' chef and work your way up while learning on the job. You could apply for work with restaurants or catering companies.

Career Tips

If you have no experience, you could volunteer in a community kitchen before applying for a job. Getting a part time job in a pub/cafe/restaurant as a kitchen steward will help you gain experience.

Career Path and Progression

With experience, you could progress to section chef (station chef) and look after a particular area like desserts. The next step is sous chef, running an entire kitchen when the head chef is busy.

As head chef (also known as chef de cuisine), you'll run a kitchen, create menus and manage the budget.

You could move into the business side by taking a foundation degree or degree in hospitality management.

Very large establishments have executive chefs, usually in charge of multiple outlets. This is a management role and you would do very little cooking.

Another option is to train as a teacher or assessor working for a college or training provider.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Baker
  • Restaurant manager
  • Kitchen assistant
  • Head chef

Required Skills

  • A passion for food and cooking
  • Good communication
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • High standards of cleanliness and hygiene
  • Able to multi task
  • Creativity and imagination to produce different menus
  • Good organisational skills
  • The ability to work well as part of a team

Salary Range

£13,000 to £50,000

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