How to get a job as a chef

Today we're going into the kitchen and looking at the demanding (but delicious) world of commercial cookery and the career opportunities available for aspiring chefs.

Why be a chef?

Apprentice chefs are in hot demand right now. And a lack of motivated new apprentices is what's driving this demand. Landing yourself an apprenticeship as a chef will put you in a position where you may even be able to pick and choose from a range of employment options once you complete your apprenticeship.

Personal qualities

If you're interested in becoming a chef, there are a couple of personal qualities that will help you work your way to the top of the food chain. Of course, the most important (and obvious) requirement here is a genuine love of food and cookery (and that doesn't mean just a love of eating!).

Other useful qualities include a high level of personal cleanliness and the ability to work well in the often highly pressurised environment of a commercial kitchen. Good communication and interpersonal skills also come in handy, as well as a willingness to work long hours and often on weekends.

What will it involve?

Duties as an apprentice chef are many and varied. You may be involved in assisting chefs in preparing and cooking food, learning about the correct storage of different foodstuffs and ordering ingredients, kitchen supplies and equipment. You'll also be responsible for ensuring the workplace is always clean and that food hygiene standards are maintained.

Get qualified

Commercial chef apprenticeships are out there and can be found if you're willing to do the work looking for them. Mostly this involves pounding the pavement, going to different restaurants and asking if they'd be willing to take you on as an apprentice chef. This may seem a bold approach, but it's surprising how often people respond to this kind of initiative in a positive way. It's also about establishing contacts.

Your chances of scoring an apprenticeship as a chef will be increased if you've already signed up for some formal qualifications. The Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery offered by TAFE NSW is an ideal starting point as it doesn't have any entry requirements. It's also a popular pathway for a career as a Chef.

Final thoughts

A career as a chef will involve a lot of dedication, passion and hard work, but the rewards will almost certainly be worth it. If the culinary arts have always interested you, it might be time to take that first step into the commercial kitchen and turn your dream into reality.

Download your free Cookery Course Guide here.