How to become a Chef

In Uncategorised by Luke Stuart

Culinary qualifications are not a requirement to enter the food industry but if you are serious about a future career in the Food industry, they help gain the best jobs and the higher salaries.  Qualifications and experience will also assist in raising finance for food start-ups.


Here are the main pathways to consider..


  1. Begin working

Start at a low level and work methodically up the ranks.



  • Plenty of low skilled positions available
  • Provides a level of experience for CV purposes
  • Provides autonomy to change employment at a low level



  • Busyness of work can often prevent forming proper career plan
  • Can take a number of years to receive promotion of role
  • Training in the workplace can be brief, is not always rigorous or easy to follow
  • Salary is aligned with experience and skillset, which can take years to build up


2. Apprenticeship

Assigned to a nominated place of work in conjunction with day release for training workshops.



  • Follows an educational structure to support workplace skills from age 16
  • Provides a level of work-experience and Apprenticeship qualifications
  • Provides renumeration, from £4.81 per hour



  • The contrast of placement and study can lack continuity and momentum
  • Requires a commitment for 18 months
  • Apprenticeship graduates still have to climb the ladder of promotion
  • Wages are low


3. College Course

L2, L3 and L4 qualification courses, lasting up to 18 months at each stage/level.



  • Full-time study which can be free by concession for 16-18 year olds
  • Promotes involvement in culinary competitions
  • Includes working in the in-house brasserie
  • Government funding available



  • Programmes can steer towards traditional skills rather than contemporary techniques
  • Large class sizes
  • Course fees from £1,800 at level 2 to £9,500 at level 4


4. Culinary Academy (like WhitePepper)

L2, L3 and L4 qualification courses, lasting up to 4 months in total.



  • Modern and dynamic culinary programmes which include real-life experiences
  • Medium class sizes means you get individual support
  • Provides a long lasting network of culinary connections
  • Builds your confidence to achieve more
  • Concise training, so you can start work quicker (L4 in 4 months, rather than years at College)



  • Programmes offer an insight into all areas rather than specialising
  • Full-time study requires a temporary reduction in ability to earn income
  • Significant course fees are an investment in you, but can feel daunting to start with.


Next steps:

To find out more about courses, choose one of the following: