"I don't think there's any chef that is born great like in music or sports. You have to burn yourself...messing up makes you better." -David Chang

As is the case with most academic disciplines and topics of interest, a person needs to train and work hard to hone their abilities and become great. While possessing talent helps, becoming skilled in the culinary arts is impossible without perseverance and hours of practice.

Since there are so many food items and various types of cuisine, a chef may go through their entire life learning new things and never becoming an "expert."

Nonetheless, after a few years of experience and passing certain accreditations, chefs can work professionally and control their own kitchen and have staff members working under them at a restaurant.

Therefore, without further delay, in today's article, we'll consider the necessary steps that are required to become a chef and how many years it all make take.

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Why Become a Chef?

With so many potential careers out there that are begging to be explored and have serious demand, why would anyone want to become a chef? Well, despite some of the negative aspects of working in a kitchen or owning your own restaurant, there is an overwhelming number of positive benefits that make becoming a chef worthwhile. Such as?

Without further ado, the following are the top five advantages of becoming a chef:

  1. Never a dull moment: since many jobs are extremely boring and consist of completing the same menial tasks day after day, it's great news to find out that working as a chef is varied and there is very rarely any moments of boredom. Chefs are constantly under pressure, and they need to complete many different tasks.
  2. You make people happy: many jobs don't really make a difference in others' lives; however, that isn't the case for chefs. People absolutely adore eating out and trying new dishes, so every meal that you make you are making a person extra happy!
  3. Creative Outlet: if you are a creative person who enjoys trying new things and needs an artistic career, becoming a chef is the right choice for you. Chefs constantly create new tasting menus and are involved in the creation of noteworthy dishes.
  4. Global Opportunities: while there are some jobs that you can only complete in your home country with the qualifications you have received, cooking isn't like that. Since everybody eats, chefs can find employment positions around the world. Also, by accepting jobs abroad, chefs get a chance to learn more about international cuisines and amplify their resumes.
  5. Self-employment options: most entry-level jobs do not provide self-employment positions in the culinary industry; nonetheless, after enough experience has been gained, seasoned chefs can start their own restaurants and choose their schedules.

If the five previously mentioned reasons aren't enough to convince you to consider a career as a chef, we don't know what will!

What Education is Required to Become a Chef?

classes and courses
While not necessarily required, one of the steps of becoming a chef is going to culinary school or receiving a cooking diploma from a vocational training centre. (Source: Unsplash)

It's important to start by stating that formal education is not required to work as a chef in the United Kingdom; most chefs hone their skills by taking internships or by shadowing an experienced culinary master in the kitchen.

Nonetheless, for most entry-level employment positions in the kitchen, persons are required to have at least a high school leaving diploma. Of course, it helps to have above-average grades in English and mathematics since chefs should have fantastic literacy and numeracy skills.

But, is a further education programme in a relevant culinary field a good idea? Absolutely! A degree level certification from a qualified academic institute is highly recommended to help aspiring chefs become more attractive to employers. Why's that? Well, if the candidate doesn't boast too much experience in the cooking industry, a restaurant owner will feel more inclined to hire a formally trained chef in comparison to a self-taught cook.

The following are some of the education pathways that an aspiring chef may consider:

  • Formal Training Programs: university, vocational schools, or culinary institutes are included when we mention formal training programs, and courses may last between a few weeks to a few years, depending on the course that is selected. These culinary programs boast both in-class theory and hands-on practice in the kitchen. A Bachelor's degree in some form of culinary skills may last between two and four years, and that is the longest training course to become a chef.
  • Apprenticeship Programs: as an apprentice or intern, aspiring chefs become skilled by following the example of experienced ones at a restaurant or culinary institute. Most internships provide hands-on training experience, but it isn't uncommon to also receive some theoretical training. Apprenticeship programs may last a few days or a few months, and a job may be provided at the end.
  • Self-Taught Training: slightly different from the other two more common training routes, self-taught learning to become a chef requires a lot of practice and may demand some assistance and guidance from a private tutor. The downside of teaching yourself is that you don't receive a certification, and, quite frankly, as stupid as it may seem, a piece of paper makes all the difference!

The three learning methods mentioned above are guaranteed to help you get equipped with the necessary skills to become a working chef. But, how many years does it take, on average, to become an experienced chef in the United Kingdom? Keep on reading to discover the answer in the following paragraph.

How Many Years Does it Take to Become an Experienced Chef?

tips to becoming better
To become skilled, an aspiring chef needs to spend hours and hours in the kitchen becoming familiar with techniques, ingredients, and cooking utensils. (Source: Unsplash)

So, how long does it take to become a chef in the United Kingdom? What's the answer? Is it possible to provide a universal answer for all potential situations? Unfortunately not. Because every circumstance is unique and the learning pathway of each chef is different, it's impossible to give one answer about how long it takes to become a chef.

Nonetheless, it's worth stating that becoming a professional and working chef may range from a few months of training to a couple of years. For instance, some culinary institutes provide short-term training courses that last only a few weeks or months and certification is granted to those who have completed the training and test.

Also, if persons want to take their skills to the next level, there is the possibility of being involved in professional culinary training degrees that last between two and four years at acclaimed institutes in the UK or internationally. At the end of their training, chefs who have taken long-term training programmes are skilled in many aspects of the culinary world.

Additionally, those who don't care very much about where they find employment as a chef may apply for line cook jobs without any previous experience and training.

So, although it is quite difficult to answer the questions about how many years it takes to become a chef, it's worth mentioning that the more professional qualifications you possess, the better since you will be able to apply for high-paying jobs at acclaimed restaurants. Therefore, a degree program in the culinary arts is highly recommended. You should budget a few years of training, learning, and studying to become a professional chef in the UK.

The Best Advice to Heed When Starting as a Chef

fresh ingredients
The most brilliant of chefs know where to find fresh ingredients and how to use them. (Source: Unsplash)

When starting a new job or studying to become skilled for our new career, we may feel uncomfortable and unprepared. The anxieties and fears associated with the unexpected may cause even the most confident person to shudder to begin something new and, even worse, go to a job interview.

So, what can help reduce stress and ensure success when starting your career as a chef? Are there any solutions? Absolutely! By taking to heart the advice and practical suggestions of more experienced culinary workers, aspiring chefs can succeed when starting in the cutthroat world of the food industry.

So, without further delay, the following are the most helpful tips that may assist new chefs:

  • Don't Worry About the Money: while it may seem strange not to preoccupy oneself with your starting salary, it's worth stating that no matter where you work in the beginning, a fancy Michelin star restaurant or a greasy spoon diner, your pay will be abysmal. However, there is good news, after some months and years of training, your paycheck should increase. In time, you will make a salary that you are proud to bring home.
  • Learn the Fundamentals: by having a stable foundation of the fundamentals of cooking and its techniques, you will add to your expertise and continually grow in the kitchen. Without a mastery of the basics, you will constantly feel overwhelmed and won't keep up with the chaos in the kitchen.
  • Have a Positive Attitude: experienced chefs are pleasantly surprised and pleased with newbies who have a positive attitude and good work ethic. Therefore, do your best to adapt to the changing circumstances in the kitchen and try to stay positive, remembering that your good attitude will rub off on others and create a more enjoyable workspace.

In conclusion, we sincerely hope that we answered your question in this article about how long it takes to become a professional chef in the United Kingdom.

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Brentyn

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