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Change your job for a career in the cooking industry

LOOKING for a tasty new career? Then try your hand as a chef.

With around of 80 per cent of UK kitchens short on cooking staff and over 45,000 vacancies nationwide, pay is on the up by wages for temporary chefs rising by 20 per cent in some parts of the country.

Being a chef is also much more flexible than many people realise.

As well as weekend and evening restaurant shifts, there are jobs catering for everything from top-flight sports clubs, cruise ships and luxury hotels to nurseries and in department store cafes.

Salaries average around £28,000 but you can earn much more - or even see it as a springboard to a celebrity chef career!

Here's how to cook up your move.

How do I train as a chef? 

There are no set academic or training requirements to become a chef but most workplaces ask for four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4.

The most common route in is through an apprenticeship or college courses. Popular courses include the Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery, T Level in Catering or Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts.

Find out more at

Will I need experience? 

Any kind of catering experience will boost your chances of landing a job as you’ll know how a busy kitchen works.

If you’re at school or college, speak to local restaurants about work experience. If you’re older, consider trying a front-of-house job first such as waiting tables, or a kitchen porter role first to see if you like the environment.

What is career progression like? 

There’s normally a set hierarchy in the kitchen but you can progress quickly.

Begin as a kitchen porter responsible for unloading and storing deliveries and washing up all the utensils, pots and pans. You may also be expected to help with some basic food preparation.

The next step is a Commis Chef where you’ll learn different cooking techniques.

This is followed by Chef de Partie which means being Chef of a specific section such as a Grill Chef, Pantry Chef, Butcher Chef, Fish Chef or Vegetable Chef.

If your preference is for baking and desserts, then the Pastry Chef position is for you.

The next significant step up in your Chef career is to become a Sous Chef, second in command to the Head Chef.

Head Chefs are responsible for overseeing everything from staffing to budgeting, to liaising with suppliers and devising new menus which will inspire your team and impress the customers.

Looking for a fresh start? Here are the Sun Jobs picks of the week.

Head Chef, BaxterStorey UK, Enfield

Score a top job with this Premier League role.

The Job: BaxterStorey UK is recruiting an experienced chef to work as Head Chef for a well-known Premier League club based in Enfield, North London. 

What You’ll Do: The Head Chef will be responsible for planning, preparing, cooking and presenting food to the highest standards required in a state-of-the-art facility.

The role will also involve maintaining records; ensuring health and safety and food safety standards are maintained; setting objectives and assuming responsibility for the day-to-day running of the kitchen.

You’ll Need: The ideal candidate will have an NVQ qualification or equivalent, along with Advance Food Hygiene certification.

Strong supervisory experience, computer literacy and a passion for food and customer service are essential.

Apply Now: See further details of this Head Chef role, along with other opportunities with BaxterStorey UK, here.

Sous Chef, Wagamama, London

Work for one of the UK’s biggest hospitality brands in this exciting step up the ladder role.

The Job: Leading hospitality brand Wagamama has an opening for a Sous Chef to join its passionate and positive team in London.

What You’ll Do: The Sous Chef serves as an invaluable support to the Head Chef, creating a positive kitchen environment; sharing their passion and knowledge of Wagamama food; and managing the line effectively so that every dish served is of high quality and served to customers’ specifications.

You’ll Need: The ideal candidate will have previous kitchen management, supervisory or team leader experience and a passion for food and customer service.

An understanding of growing sales and protecting profit would be a distinct advantage.

Apply Now: Fill out your application for this Sous Chef role here, and check out further vacancies at Wagamama.

Waiter, ASK Italian, London

Looking for a way into catering? No need to ASK any further.

The Job: ASK Italian has an opening for a Waiter to join its team in London.

What You’ll Do: The successful candidate will welcome and serve customers, ensuring a friendly, Italian welcome from the moment they step through the doors.

You'll work as part of a team in a fast-paced environment, delivering an amazing experience every time.

You’ll Need: The most important quality ASK Italian looks for in its team members is a passion for people, food and everything Italian.

An eye for detail and a drive for excellent service and standards are also essentials, with full training in the role provided.

Apply Now: For more on this Waiter role, and more opportunities at ASK Italian, click here.

Discover thousands more open roles all across the UK on The Sun Job Board