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November 18, 2022

Your Guide to Becoming a Professional Chef

Are you someone who can fall in love with the aroma of delicious food? Does the clattering sound of the bustling kitchen fill you with utter joy? Are you a big-time foodie? If the answer is a big ‘YES’, then here awaits your passion that you can embrace as your profession to gain work experience. Become a world-class chef by choosing chef as a career choice in Australia. Becoming a chef in Australia is a lucrative career option, as the multicultural influences in this country have resulted in a rich culinary culture. Gaining work experience as a chef can certainly be a boon to your career and financial status as well.

To start a career as a chef you have to first understand the apt meaning and scope of a chef, and the ways to become a successful chef in Australia to gain work experience in this profession.

Therefore, in this article, you shall learn how to become a chef in Australia and give a kick-start to your career as a foodie, eventually gaining the requisite work experience.

Working as a chef

As a chef, you will be in charge of food preparation and cooking, along with providing direction to the kitchen staff. You will also be responsible for activities like, ordering the weekly food supply and maintaining relationships with vendors of the restaurants.

The major role of a chef is to foster the business by creating business objectives, such as suggesting new menu items and associating with the general manager.

To be concise, a chef is a trained culinary professional with an industry-recognised qualification. As a chef, you can work at any restaurant, cafés, resort, hotel, or event catering upon mastering a wide range of cuisine styles, cooking techniques, food preparation, and menu development. With time you shall gain ample expertise and work experience as a chef in Australia.

To gain further work experience It is crucial that you, as a chef stay in touch with food trends, experiment with recipes, and keep evolving the repertoire to establish exciting customer experiences.

What training do I need?

For becoming a chef and gaining work experience in this field, you certainly need to obtain a professional qualification from any Recognised Training Organisation (RTO). There are many Australian RTOs that can help you get these professional degrees. Having studied and obtained a degree as a chef from such recognised training organisations makes you eligible to work in any part of the world.

There are several Culinary program options available for you to opt for. These include; culinary arts programmes: SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, SIT40516 Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, SIT60316 Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management, or our prestigious Grand Diplôme (SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery & SIT31016 Certificate III in Patisserie).

Your role as a Chef

Being a chef, you can gain tremendous work experience by committing to the following duties:

  • Planning menus and deciding the labour and food costs.
  • Preparing, cooking, freezing, and preserving the food.
  • As a chef, you will also have to recruit and train staff members.
  • Ordering the required food, equipment, and kitchen supplies. 
  • Figuring out various techniques for cooks and offering advice on cooking procedures.
  • You will also be responsible for planning the staff schedules and monitoring the work of the cooks and assistants.
  • As a chef, you have to determine the food quality at all stages of preparation and presentation.
  • You will have to explain and enforce hygiene regulations within the place of work.
  • To deliver your best expertise and gain work experience you need to discuss the food preparation process with dietitians, managers, and other staff members.

Characteristics of a good chef

A successful chef needs to be passionate about the culinary industry, love to create new dining experiences and possess creative flair too while working. To cope with long hours of working and day-to-day challenges, he or she has to have a strong work ethic and physical stamina. A good chef coordinates with the entire kitchen team – from fellow chefs to kitchen porters, waiting staff and senior managers. Your leadership skills will pave the way for you to become the head chef.

Reasons to study in Australia 

Australia is one of the best countries to study, work and live in the world. Australia is the destination for more than half a million international students every year. Opting for a certain educational course allows the students to further go for permanent residency.

Permanent residency in Australia is possible if you study to become a qualified chef in Australia attaining the required skills to master this profession and gain work experience.

How to become a chef in Australia

Now when you have decided to pursue a career as a chef in Australia, but are struggling to figure out how and where to begin. Then all you need to do is that you have a culinary dream and work on making it a reality!

Following are a few of the steps to get a general idea of how to become a successful chef in Australia and gain work experience:

Step 1: Gain work experience working in a kitchen

If you are aspiring to become a chef, the first and foremost thing you need to do is get yourself into a kitchen. As this is a profession that needs you to know the nitty-gritty of the kitchen for all the right reasons.

During the initial periods of your career as a chef, you can work as a waiter, dishwasher, or cook. No matter what you do, the purpose of becoming a chef is to get the essence and taste of working in the kitchen and knowing if this profession interests you or not.

Therefore, before you step into becoming a chef, you have to gain work experience as a kitchen hand or take up any other role to get a feel of the hospitality industry. Remember, cooking for a living and just cooking for fun are two diverging things.

Working for the hospitality industry requires you to work longer hours, including working on most weekends and even on holidays. So, stay prepared for how this can affect your work-life balance.

Step 2: Apply for an apprenticeship with a private college or TAFE institute

In case you are perplexed about the qualifications that you need to require for becoming a chef in Australia, then be clear that you don’t need any specific qualifications. Although, being a trade-driven profession, it is common for chefs to successfully complete an apprenticeship and get a vocational degree, for example, getting a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30813) or higher, towards the end of their training.

There are numerous apprenticeship opportunities and chef courses in Australia that you can undertake. It all depends on the type of chef you want to become.

Step 3: Work as a chef apprentice while pursuing your qualification

It takes three years to complete the training and transition to become a qualified chef from an apprentice. Usually, this training program for becoming a chef consists of:

  • Working at a restaurant (four days a week).
  • Attending classes at TAFE or college (one day a week).

Step 4: Get qualification and specialisation

Upon completing a three years apprenticeship program, you will graduate with a nationally recognised diploma or chef certificate in Australia and be able to work as a certified professional chef in Australia or outside.

It is absolutely your decision where you want to take your career next. You may also wish to get a specialisation in Asian cuisine and master the art of pulled noodles or learn about the future of sustainability. Therefore, apprenticeship provides you with an opportunity to improve your skills and find your interest to pursue a specialisation in it.

Step 5: Get a job as a chef to gain work experience 

Once you finish your graduation, you can either continue at the restaurant where you were training or look for other opportunities outside. If you want to pursue a career as a chef and work elsewhere, you can consider the following

  • Find a job in the kitchen that is a good fit for your professional choices.
  • Draft a cover letter and a resume to showcase your expertise and skills as a good chef.
  • Go for different interviews and leave a lasting impression on the executive or head chef. 

Want to learn more about how to gain work experience while studying in Australia? Reach out to our experts to answer all your questions.