Do I need qualifications to become a chef?

A chef’s role is a busy and demanding one. But, it’s very exciting as you get to work on creating new and delicious dishes every day and work in a busy kitchen with other talented people. If you have a passion for cooking and want a career in creating incredible meals for paying customers, then perhaps you should consider becoming a chef.

But, do you need qualifications to become a chef? The short answer is no, but they can definitely help as you will be trained in the correct way of cooking certain dishes, preparing food and understanding what flavours work together. However, if you simply have plenty of kitchen experience and can prove your cooking is of a high standard you could still find success on such a career path.

There are professional chef training courses taking place up and down the country, but it’s important you find the right one for you. Here are some courses you can undertake, before applying for available caterer jobs:


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Chef Academy of London

This is the most notable and respected chef academy, and the courses available will take you from an amateur cook to a professional chef in a number of weeks. Here is a course you could consider undertaking to get started in the catering industry:

  • Professional Chef Course (550 hours) – this hands on course gives students basic knowledge of what will be expected of them when they enter a restaurant kitchen environment. It also introduces students into one of the academy’s restaurant partners where they will become a part of the team and learn from the real professionals in a busy, demanding environment.

Ashburton Chefs Academy

Based in Devon, this academy takes those who love to cook and turns them into qualified individuals that can hold their own in a professional kitchen once the course is over. There are two chef training courses available:

  • Certificate in Professional Cookery (4 weeks) – this course teaches you how to cook at a professional standard and you will leave with a CTH Level 2 Award in Culinary Skills and a CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering as well as a certificate in professional cooking from the academy.
  • Professional Culinary Diploma (20 weeks) – this six month course is perfect if you are looking to launch your chef career or hoping to open a restaurant and you will leave with a culinary diploma, QCF Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts, CIEH Level 3 Award in Food Safety, WSET Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Wines and Leadership in the Kitchen.

These courses are the best option for those looking for general kitchen expertise and experience cooking a variety of foods, however, if you wish to become a chef in a more niche catering area you will require qualifications. Those who wish to become pastry chefs, for example, must gain qualifications in pastry skills, to ensure they understand how to create delicious pastries and confectionery.

As already noted, those looking to begin work in a kitchen will find that qualifications aren’t necessarily essential – with the right experience and patience you could still launch a career as a chef. But, they are great if you want the professional training required for a busy kitchen, and qualifications will certainly help to fast track your career progression.

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