Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc, the Roux Brothers, Heston… Chefs have never been so famous. Of course, most chefs don’t spend 75% of their time on TV or writing books. We lift the lid on life as a commis chef – the bottom of the career ladder but one that may one day lead to the heady heights of a career in the spotlight.
So, what will I actually be doing?
This is an entry level job that will teach you about life in the kitchen. If you have grand ambitions of one day rustling up Michelin-style dishes then put them on hold for now – as a commis chef you’ll be doing all of the preparation work for the more senior chefs.
However, this is an incredible opportunity to learn everything you can about the art – and it really is an art – of cooking.
Find commis chef jobs now
The nitty gritty
When you start out you should be rotated through different areas of the kitchen, such as vegetables, meat, fish, pastries and sauces.
You may end up doing some of the following…
- Ensuring good hygiene and health and safety at all times
- Preparing ingredients for the team
- Measuring dish ingredients and portion sizes
- Helping with deliveries of stock
Basically, you’ll be starting at the bottom but if you’re a quick learner you can quickly progress up the ranks.
Money, money, money
You ready for this? You will struggle to earn more than £18K as a commis chef and that’s in a top restaurant in London. You can earn as little as £12K, which isn’t going to keep you in diamonds.
See what people are earning in this job
The good points...
Kitchens are a fantastic example of teamwork as an entire group of people have to work together to ensure that the food is of a good quality, delivered on time and kept hot. You can expect banter and friendship although you will – more than likely – be shouted at on a daily basis as the head chefs get hot and stressed!
...and the bad
Without a doubt the worst thing about life as a commis chef are the hours. Early starts to get the prep work done and late finishes for the clearing up means you’ll be working long hours and you can forget having your weekends and bank holidays free unless you are very lucky.
This is a passion so you have to be willing to work yourself pretty-much into the ground to get ahead.
Is there study involved?
You don’t have to have any qualifications to work as a commis chef as you can do an on-the-job apprenticeship. However, there are diplomas, NVQs and even degrees that you can gain as well as certificates in health and safety or food hygiene.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
You have to be both practical and creative in order to be a good chef, and the top chefs also have incredible ambition. There are no set rules for who this job will suit as long as you’re not afraid of hard work.
Chef jobs can be found in everywhere from a local takeaway to some of the UK’s fanciest hotels so you can easily find a workplace to suit you.