Chefs prepare, cook and present food in places like hotels, bars and restaurants. Chefs can even work in hospitals and schools. In small kitchens the chef may prepare and cook all the different dishes on the menu. In larger kitchens there is normally a team of chefs and each has their own job to do. For example some could be in charge of pasta or making pastry.


  • Prepare food
  • Cook food
  • Plan menus
  • Test new recipes
  • Order food supplies


There are lots of businesses that employ chefs such as pubs, restaurants, hotels, the NHS, schools, colleges and universities.


Chefs mainly work indoors in kitchens which can be hot places to work and high pressure.

Working Hours

The working hours for a chef vary depending on where they work. In restaurants and hotels they often work long hours. These may be as many as 45 hours a week, although some work part-time.


Starting salary is £13,000.


You do not need any particular qualifications to become a chef, although some employers may ask you to have a good general standard of education whereas some will be more flexible. You can apply directly for chef roles or 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.

You could also apply for an apprenticeship. If you have an EHCP you may be able to apply under the DfE exemption which allows the apprentice to use Entry Level 3 English and Maths qualifications. The apprentice would have to be competent enough to successfully achieve all other aspects of the apprenticeship requirements, become occupationally competent and achieve Entry Level 3 in English and Maths before the end of their apprenticeship.

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