Getting work experience as a chef can be difficult if you don't know anyone in the industry. But if you aspire to be a chef then, to increase your chances of getting your first job, you need to get some experience working as a chef on your CV. Kitchens are busy places and head chefs will only want chefs they can rely on. If you're struggling to find work experience, then here are some places that you can contact to ask for voluntary experience.
Where to get work experience as a chef?
Working as a Food Server
1. Restaurant Kitchens
An obvious place but most people only contact restaurants when they see vacancies being advertised. There's no harm in contacting a restaurant kitchen and asking if you can volunteer. Restaurant kitchens appreciate additional help preparing ingredients and assisting the teams.
Make sure to send volunteer enquiries to restaurants that you admire and eaten at before and show that you respect the place. It will make your voice stand out from other people who are asking any restaurant kitchen within a twenty-mile radius.
Many hotels have restaurants too. Some hotels only serve breakfast while others have restaurants that cater for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Working in a hotel kitchen gives you the chance to work with experienced chefs and learn practical experience you would also gain in a restaurant kitchen.
Most bakeries only hire pâtissier, pastry chefs, but they can offer excellent work experience for aspiring chefs. In a bakery, you can see how pastries, desserts, cakes and many other types of baked goods are made. Just like a chef in a restaurant, chefs in a bakery have to follow strict recipes and they have to have exceptional presentation skills. Volunteering at a bakery will teach you the important health and safety rules to follow as a chef.
If you decide you want to be a specialised chef and become a pastry chef, working in a bakery gives you an excellent head start on your career path,
4. Culinary School
Going to school (and/or attending courses) will give you valuable work experience. Lessons from experienced teachers and practical lessons are experiences you can add to your CV. It might not be the same as working in a restaurant kitchen but if you're struggling to get work experience, attending a specialist culinary school is very beneficial.
5. Working as a Food Server
You might be thinking 'I want to be a chef, so how could working as a waiter benefit me?' Well, in fact, working as a server is an excellent way of getting your foot through the door.
Finding chef work experience isn't always easy. It depends on where you live and if there are any opportunities near you. So, if you're struggling to get work experience, working as a waiter means you will be working between the kitchen and the restaurant. In some restaurants, the waiters are responsible for preparing desserts and assisting with other dishes.
As a waiter you can get to know the chefs and get insight on how the kitchen works and runs. If you develop a good relationship at work, when a new kitchen vacancy comes available, you can put yourself forward.
More chefs are starting as apprentices rather than going straight to culinary school. There are many benefits to a chef apprenticeship. Doing an apprenticeship offers practical experience, networking opportunities and a chance for you to see what it's like working as a chef.
The Compass Group is always looking for exceptional talent and offers chef apprenticeships in the UK (and worldwide).
Show you're serious by wearing the right clothes & footwear in the kitchen
When working in a kitchen, you need the right uniform. Chefs are expected to wear specific clothes and shoes. At Shoes For Crews (Europe) Ltd. we specialise in slip-resistant chef shoes, visit our shop.
Get A Free Copy Of Our Career Guide For Chefs
Did you know there are over 10 different types of chef jobs? Knowing what direction to take in your career can be difficult. That's why we've created the Complete Guide To Chef Jobs, one book that has all the chef jobs. It explains all the responsibilities, salary expectations and what experience you need to get the job you want.
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