A day as a chef

You work in your local NHS hospital kitchen, ensuring hundreds of patients receive healthy, nutritious meals. Today, you're on the mid-morning shift, and begin work at 11am. You manage your team of assistant cooks and kitchen staff, helping them to prepare healthy ingredients and create tasty meals for lunch. Some patients have special dietary requirements due to their illnesses, or for religious reasons, so you ensure these meals are prepared separately and in the right conditions. After lunch, you sit with your team and design meals for tomorrow. You check food stocks and order new supplies; then it's all go again as you and your team prepare the evening meal. You love the variety and challenge of your job, and enjoy succeeding as a team.

Does this sound like you?

You're interested in food and love cooking. You can make decisions, even under pressure, and don't mind working in hot, hectic conditions.

What's next after GCSE?

Good GCSEs aren't essential, but basic qualifications in maths, English, and design and technology (food technology) are a good idea. You'll then need to apply for a City and Guilds certificate 7061/2/3, or relevant vocational qualification, to work towards being a chef.

What's next after A level and beyond?

You don't need A/AS levels to work as a chef. Instead, you should work towards a relevant catering qualification (see above) and try to obtain some kitchen work