"If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs. And that's exactly what I did." -Gordon Ramsay

Do you love to cook? Do you possess the desire of one day opening up a restaurant to share with people the masterful and delicious dishes you know how to create? If so, becoming a chef is a worthy endeavour and a decision you will not regret.

Though most chefs develop their talent by watching more talented individuals around them and by practising their cooking skills on their own time, it's important to state that, in some cases, some qualifications need to be acquired.

So, without further ado, in today's article, we'll consider some facts about culinary training and general information about becoming a chef in the United Kingdom.

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What's the Difference Between a Chef and a Cook?

difference of chefs and cooks
The difference between a chef and a cook is that chefs usually control the entire kitchen, whereas cooks are hired to follow recipes. (Source: Unsplash)

While most persons use the terms chef and cook interchangeably to state the same thing, did you know that there is a difference between chef and cook? Although both chefs and cooks work in the food industry and make delicious meals for customers who frequent their restaurants, it's worth mentioning that chefs are far more trained. How's that?

For instance, chefs have been trained by culinary schools, or through experience in matching flavours, cooking techniques, creating recipes from scratch, having extensive knowledge of fresh ingredients, and having a lot of responsibility in the kitchen they are working in.

As we will see in the following subheadings, though training and specific qualifications are not always required, chefs tend to be more refined than cooks. 

On the other hand, cooks tend to be hired by chefs to work in their kitchen to follow recipes and prepare the meals that must be served. Cooks may be interns, line cooks, kitchen porters, or junior cooks.

Therefore, it can be understood that cooks work under chefs and are usually lower on the scale of the kitchen hierarchy.

Now that we've comprehended the difference between chefs and cooks, let's consider if accreditations are required for aspiring chefs who work in kitchens across the UK.

Do I Need GCSEs or A-Levels to Become a Chef?

It's important to state that no specific accreditations from fancy vocational schools are required to become a chef working at a typical restaurant in the UK. But, what about GCSEs or A-Levels? Well, to be eligible for most jobs across the United Kingdom, you at least need a secondary school leaving certificate. A diploma is acquired when the necessary GCSEs have been passed during the final exam period.

Therefore, you could say that passing the GCSEs is a prerequisite for becoming a chef. In addition, some GCSE topics such as English and maths are highly recommended since going through them will hone necessary skills such as problem solving and communication abilities. Also, chefs need to have basic literacy and numeracy capabilities.

However, going through the A-Levels is not mandatory for secondary school students who want to become chefs; unless a specific culinary school, they wish to apply to demands it.

So, it's safe to say that with a high school leaving diploma, aspiring chefs may find entry-level jobs at restaurants and cafes in cities and towns around Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England.

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Giorgia
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Giovanni
4.9
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Giovanni
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Ivelina
5
5 (10 reviews)
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£15
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1st lesson free!
Giorgia
5
5 (11 reviews)
Giorgia
£30
/h
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Muhammad
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Tracey yani
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Do You Need Qualifications to Work as a Professional Chef in the UK?

skills of chefs
Whether professionally trained or not, chefs need to possess the ability to work with others and create a collaborative team. (Source: Unsplash)

As we briefly mentioned in the preceding paragraph, a person who is starting their career in the culinary arts and wants to become a chef does not need any specific training programmes since young, aspiring chefs may receive job offers without it if they have sufficient talent.

Nonetheless, though formal education is not required, most restaurants in the UK might feel apprehensive about hiring a chef with no experience and no previous accreditations to back up their skills. Therefore, specialised knowledge and skills that are honed through practice are greatly recommended.

So, going to a vocational school or a culinary institute to pick up the fundamentals of cooking is a brilliant idea, especially if you have no experience and haven't been trained by a chef who served as your mentor. Having a certificate from a qualified cooking school is an essential piece of traineeship that gives new chefs an outline of the food industry and what to expect on the job.

If chefs have the goal of working in an acclaimed UK-based restaurant with the best chefs in the country, they will not even be considered if they haven't gone to cooking school. However, on the other hand, if you want any job as a chef and you don't care which restaurant you work in, no qualifications are necessary.

Whether you decide to go to school to get cooking accreditations or not, you should at least attempt to hone all the following skills that are necessary to work in the food industry as a chef:

  • Willingness to learn, 
  • Problem-solving,
  • A genuine passion for culinary arts,
  • Ability to multi-task, 
  • Teamwork,
  • Leadership, 
  • Creativity. 

If you have all of the previously mentioned abilities and some experience in the kitchen, you might be able to snag an entry-level chef job at a worthwhile restaurant. But, if you still think that getting adequate accreditations to work as a chef is necessary for you, take a look at the following subheading to find cooking schools in the UK.

Culinary Training Schools in the United Kingdom

Since the United Kingdom is a place with countless educational opportunities, aspiring chefs have many places to receive training. Such as? Without further delay, the following is a list that boasts the best culinary training schools in the UK:

  • Le Cordon Bleu London, 
  • Tante Marie,
  • Westminster Kingsway College in London, 
  • The Academy of Culinary Arts, 
  • The Bertinet Kitchen,
  • Chef Academy London, 
  • Ashburton Cookery School & Chefs Academy.

All of the previously mentioned schools boast fantastic reviews from past students. Many of the culinary institutes listed have been responsible for equipping the greatest chefs in the UK with the tools they need to succeed.

Learning to Cook With a Professional Tutor on Superprof

small cooking schools
Many individuals across the UK have found it interesting to take online or in-person cooking classes with a professional tutor. (Source: Unsplash)

While attending a formal culinary institute is a worthy endeavour, have you ever thought of honing your cooking skills with a private tutor? Having become increasingly popular in the last few years, online private tuition is available for those who want to learn the basics of cooking with an experienced instructor.

To ensure successful online cooking classes, an HD webcam is necessary, a stable internet connection and an extensive knowledge of how to use videoconferencing apps are required. If you think that you might struggle to take online cooking courses, it's probably better to find a tutor who can conduct in-person cooking sessions, which is the best option for a topic like cooking.

But, where does one find a professional, experienced, and accredited cooking tutor in the UK? On Superprof. According to our website, there are currently 409 tutors in cities and towns across the United Kingdom that are ready to conduct online or in-person classes to aspiring chefs of all levels.

If you learn to cook with a Superprof, you'll take part in engaging lessons that are also informative and affordable.

Tips and Tricks to Becoming a Successful Chef

If you still want to become a chef after reading all of the previous subheadings, congratulations! Though it takes a lot of talent and perseverance to successfully work as a chef and gain knowledge throughout the process, a job in the culinary arts is magnificent because you get to feed people and make them happy.

However, did you know that to make the experience of becoming a chef even more accessible, there are some tips and tricks from experts that make everything more manageable? We powerfully suggest heeding the following suggestions to become the best chef you can be:

  • Be Willing to Learn New Things: rather than think you know everything; you must remember that there is always something new to pick up. So, be humble and dedicate yourself to the process of learning something new every single day. Not only will you get better at what you are doing, but you will be investing your success.
  • Work as a Team: ever heard the phrase; it takes a village? If so, you recognise that for a restaurant to have success, everyone must work as a team. A great chef knows that, while they may be talented and skilled, it takes all members in the kitchen working together in unison to serve masterful meals one after the other.
  • Be Adaptable: the kitchen is one of the most unpredictable workplaces on the planet since things can quickly change in seconds, and restoring the calm may take hours. Therefore, instead of getting overwhelmed by little things, be adaptable and ready to embrace any change.

While there are plenty more suggestions on becoming a successful chef, we are optimistic that the previously mentioned tips will set you off in the right direction.

In conclusion, we sincerely hope that the information in our article has answered all your questions about chefs and the qualifications they should possess in the UK. Happy cooking!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.