A Guide to Beginning Your Career as a Chef

If you love cooking so much that you’d like to do it for a living, it sounds as if you’d be well suited to training up as a chef. Although it’s by no means easy, with long hours, physical labour, and high competition, the rewards you can get from this kind of job are immense. You’re free to put together your own creative dishes, run a kitchen, and even manage your own restaurant. Let’s take a look at how you can begin your career as a chef:


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Get a Job in a Restaurant

Working in a restaurant will help you to see what being a chef is like, even if you just start off as being a waiter or waitress. Exposure to the techniques, conditions, equipment, and culture in a restaurant will prepare you for what’s to come. The sooner you start getting experience, the better.


Of course cooking in a restaurant is very different to cooking food at home, but all kinds of practice will help. You’ll become familiar with all kinds of food and techniques, which will really help in your career.

  • Practice using a knife and other kitchen equipment. See which kinds of tools make your life easier and which don’t really work.

  • Learn all about the food you love and the food people pay good money to eat. This includes organic, free range, kosher, and similar.

  • Does one particular kind of cooking suit you over another? Can you see yourself specialising in one kind of food? Do you like making deserts rather than mains?

  • Practice cooking for other people at home by throwing dinner parties, so you can work under pressure and see how others enjoy your food.

Enroll on a Course Like Culinary Arts

Going to a cooking school or on a cooking course can really help you when searching for a job as a chef. You can find these courses at colleges, and in special culinary institutes. Many programs will also educate you in terms of nutrition, hygiene, butchery, pastry making, and other basic cooking knowledge.

If the goal is to start your own restaurant, then you can also look into a program that offers classes in business, HR, management, and other areas. You could eventually even apply to be on Chefhelp’s books. Chefhelp.co.uk are a premier London chef agency that supply chefs for all kinds of jobs and purposes.

While you’re training, you could see if anybody would be willing to take you on as an apprentice, or even simply let you help out around the kitchen. If you’re willing to do this unpaid, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the experience.

Getting a Job

Once you’re qualified, you’ll need to be prepared to work from the bottom of the ladder up. It could take you 10 years or more to get into a great role. You can always help yourself by keeping up to date with the latest food trends, getting to know people/making contacts, and keeping your skills (and your knives) sharp. Good luck!

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