Chefs prepare and cook a variety of foods for customers in restaurants, cafés, and other places. Many chefs choose to focus on a specific type of cuisine or specialise in a certain type of cooking, such as patisserie or fine dining.
If you have a passion for food and can work well under pressure, then becoming a Chef could be perfect for you.
- Creative with great taste
- Responsible and reliable
- Thrive under pressure
- Dextrous and able to work well with your hands
- Work well in a team and independently
- Prepared to work long shifts and irregular hours
- Can remain calm in stressful and hectic situations
- Good communicator and leader
Your roles as a chef might depend on the size of the place you are working, and whether you want to specialise. Some of the duties you can expect include:
- Preparing and cooking food
- Preparing kitchen and cooking areas
- Monitoring the quality of food that leaves the kitchen
- Demonstrating techniques to other cooks
- Managing kitchen inventory, e.g. stock levels and equipment
- Communicating with other kitchen staff, including cooks, waiters and kitchenhands
- Keeping food preparation and storage areas clean and sanitised
- Planning new dishes for menus
- Leading and supervising other chefs and cooks
- Discussing food preparation issues with managers and other staff
Lifestyle Impact: High
- Part Time opportunities: Low – 28% of Chefs work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Average hours for full-time workers: 46 hours a week, which is above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Chefs’ salary (average) $60,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary between industries, your role, and depending on your skills and experience.
- Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Working as a Chef comes with a high level of responsibility, and you will be expected to work in peak hospitality times such as weekends and nights.
Chefs are most in demand in these locations:
Over 120,600 people were employed as chefs in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au) and this number is set to continue to grow. Most workers are employed in New South Wales and Victoria, but there are opportunities in every state.
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to work from home as a chef, as you will need to physically be in the kitchen to prepare food and perform other important duties.
How to become a Chef in Australia
To become a successful Chef, you’ll need to learn the practical skills required for the job. This is usually done through relevant Vocational and Educational Training. It would also be a huge benefit to get hands on, relevant, work experience.
Step 1 – Consider completing your high school certificate, Health and Hospitality could be useful subjects, as well as business related subjects.
Step 2 – Undertake a relevant VET qualification. The minimum qualification usually needed to work as a Chef is a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery. This qualification is often undertaken as an apprenticeship.
Step 3 – Get plenty of real life, hands-on, work experience.
Find out more here –
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do Chefs do?
Chefs prepare and cook food for customers and clients in a variety of different culinary settings.
Which industries employ Chefs?
Chefs work in hospitality, accommodation and food services, health services, and more. Check out a few more industries here.
Do I need to go to university to become a Chef?
You will usually need a minimum Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery to work as a Chef. This qualification is usually done as an apprenticeship.
If you’re wanting a more lucrative role as a Head Chef or manager, you will most likely need further qualifications or lots of experience.
Where do Chefs work?
Chefs can work in places like restaurants, cafés, hotels, pubs and clubs, food trucks, or in a commercial kitchen for catering services. You could also create and cook food for people with special dietary needs, such as in an aged care home.
What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Chef?
If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Chef is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:
- Get work experience and learn about the basics of cookery. This may also help you to decide which area to specialise in.
- Complete a few short courses or VET qualifications that could help you to develop the skills you’ll need even further.
- Work on your communication, organisation, leadership and resilience skills.