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Career Advice

How to become a chef

How to become a chef?

jobdescriptionMany people dream of trading in their desk for a chopping board or ditching their pen for a spatula and becoming a professional chef. It certainly is a realistic prospect for some and if you think you have what it takes then this guide will give you the basic information to start making that dream into a reality.

To state the obvious, a chef is someone who cooks for a living, but of course it isn’t quite as simple as that. There are many skills required to be a successful chef that the average home cook simply won’t have, but the good news is that if you can master the basics there’s no reason you can’t make a go of it! In professional cooking creativity, flair, and enthusiasm are just as important as technical ability and if you’ve got the first three then there’s a good chance the rest will follow.

Qualifications – UK

As with many other careers, being a chef doesn’t necessarily require any specific qualifications and many successful chefs have no professional qualifications whatsoever, but if you need a bit more assistance to develop your existing skills you’ll be glad to know that there are a number of options available.

Many colleges now offer National Diplomas (Levels 1, 2 and 3) in professional cookery, and these are an excellent option for anyone leaving school or planning a new career as a chef. For the more advanced cook, Higher Educational Institutions such as Dublin Institute of Technology or Westminster Kingsway College offer a range of Culinary Arts Qualifications ranging from BA degrees to advanced MA degrees.

The great thing about academic culinary qualifications is that they not only teach the skills essential to the craft but also provide students with experience in other aspects of working in hospitality such as budget management, health and safety and team leadership.


Whilst it is true that the general trend nowadays is for aspiring chefs to seek out academic qualifications to boost their skills and employability, this is certainly not the only way of becoming a professional chef.

An excellent way to gain the necessary experience is by getting yourself a job in a restaurant or other food serving establishment. The job you get isn’t necessarily important but it must allow you to get as much exposure as possible to the inner workings of a the restaurant business. Once there you will be in the best position to start working your way up the culinary ladder – indeed some of the world most successful chefs began their careers as dish-washers and vegetable-peelers.

Skills to become a Chef

There are of course an extensive range of skills and attributes which are necessary in order to become a successful professional chef including good organisation, creativity, technical flair, passion and excellent communication, to name just a few.

The road to becoming a chef is a rocky one, the industry is intense and highly competitive and it may take several years for you to be considered a “chef” rather than a cook , therefore determination and resilience are two of the most important attributes that you will need in order to succeed.

Still fancy becoming a professional chef ? Good luck! We hope these basic tips help you along the way…

Looking for a job, but not sure what career path to follow? Check TheEmployable “How to become” career directory.


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