Chefs plan and organise the preparation and cooking of food in a number of settings.
To become a chef you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Commercial Cookery. Entry requirements may vary, but employers usually require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.
Chefs may perform the following tasks:
Chefs may be required to work shifts, including weekends and public holidays, sometimes on a 24-hour rotating roster. The work may be stressful, especially at peak hours of the day. The range of duties carried out by chefs will vary depending on where they work. In larger establishments, the chef de cuisine or head chef generally does more supervising than cooking. Senior chefs have to attend staff meetings, where they discuss problems related to their areas, and receive or issue instructions to other managerial staff. In small restaurants, the head chef may prepare food, assisted by other cooks or apprentices. As well as expert cooking knowledge, chefs involved in supervision need a general knowledge of the skills and activities of all their workers. Chefs who have management responsibilities may also perform duties such as complaints resolution and maintenance of financial records.
Chefs are employed in hotels, motels, restaurants, clubs, cafÃ©s, cafeterias, hospitals, flight catering centres, seagoing vessels and food processing factories. Chefs with sufficient start-up money may become restaurant owners. The majority of chefs work in capital cities and in large country centres, particularly in areas where there are tourist resorts. Expanded tourism has increased demand for highly skilled chefs, particularly in establishments of international standard. In large kitchens, chefs usually progress from commis chef to chef de partie, to sous chef, to chef de cuisine, to executive chef or food manager. Movement between employers within the industry may be required in order to gain experience and promotion.
A chef de cuisine is the head or first chef.
A chef de partie may specialise as a larder cook, butcher, pastry cook, sauce cook, roast cook, relief cook, side-dish cook, breakfast cook, canteen cook or fish cook.
A commis chef is a cook who has just completed an apprenticeship or has an equivalent qualification.
A demi chef de partie is the second-in-charge of a particular section of the kitchen.
A sous chef/second chef is the second-in-charge in the kitchen.