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Would you love the opportunity to experiment with unique ingredients, create new dishes, and make people happy with your food?

If so, you could consider becoming an apprentice chef where you’ll receive on-the-job training as you work towards a professional culinary career.

To bring you more information about what this involves and how to get started, we’ve teamed up with the well-known pub and hotel brand, Fuller’s.

Fuller’s creates unique premium pub and hotel experiences with award-winning ales, craft lagers and ciders, and chef-led kitchens – and they’re looking for head chefs of the future.

Their award-winning chef apprenticeships for people of all ages are among the best in the industry, and provide an incredible opportunity to learn, thrive, and succeed.

What does an apprentice chef do?

What does an apprentice chef do

Apprentice chefs are individuals who are in the early stages of their culinary careers, and are working to learn the skills and knowledge required to become professional chefs. They balance their time between on-the-job training – where they support the running of a professional kitchen – and college study.

For example, at Fuller’s, apprentice chefs will spend one day per week at college receiving world-class training; and four days being mentored by a head chef at one of Fuller’s selected restaurants or hotels.

Typical tasks for an apprentice chef might include…

  • Attending expert-led master classes on everything from butchery to pasta making and lectures on classical techniques.

  • Keeping the kitchen organised – for example, cleaning work areas, sanitising equipment, and adhering to food safety regulations.

  • Observing, assisting, and learning from experienced chefs who can provide insights into the thought process, creativity, and attention to detail that go into creating different types of dishes. Senior chefs will also provide apprentices with feedback and evaluations of their practices to identify areas for growth and improvement.

  • Cooking and plating. With increasing proficiency, apprentice chefs get opportunities to cook dishes under supervision. They may start with sauces, garnishes, and sides, and move on to cooking full meals, as well as arranging and plating dishes to meet the visual and taste standards of the restaurant.

  • Building professional relationships with colleagues and mentors within the culinary industry.

  • Helping to brainstorm and develop new and existing dishes. This allows apprentice chefs to showcase their creativity and contribute to the menu.

  • Progression to more complex tasks. As apprentice chefs become more skilled and knowledgeable, they gradually take on more complex tasks and responsibilities, such as coordinating multiple dishes simultaneously, managing timing, and overseeing the work of less experienced kitchen staff.

What skills do I need to become an apprentice chef?

Apprentice chef roles are ideal for school leavers, career changers, or anyone looking to get the best start to a chef career.

And while you don’t need any specific qualifications or experience to apply, the right person will…

  • Be determined to succeed – a ‘get up and go’ attitude.
  • Have good communication skills.
  • Be an excellent team player.
  • Enjoy working within a fast-paced, hot kitchen.
  • Have good attention to detail.
  • Be passionate about cooking and focused on quality.
  • Be reliable and trustworthy – never let your colleagues down.

What will I love about being an apprentice chef?

  • Learning classical techniques from experts – plus, the culinary world is ever-evolving with techniques, ingredients, and trends emerging regularly. So, if you enjoy continuous learning and staying on top of industry developments, then an apprenticeship can offer that excitement.

  • Gaining hands-on experience – allowing you to put theory into practice.

  • Creative expression – being able to experiment with ingredients, flavours, and presentation to create dishes that reflect your unique style.

  • Sense of achievement – the feeling of accomplishment that comes from successfully executing a complex recipe, nailing the presentation of a dish, or receiving compliments from satisfied diners can be incredibly fulfilling.

  • Physical and mental agility – the fast-paced nature of a kitchen environment can keep you on your toes, both physically and mentally.

  • Potential for advancement – an apprenticeship is often the first step toward a successful culinary career. As you progress, you can take on more responsibilities, earn promotions, and work your way up to becoming a chef in your own right.

  • Developing life-long skills – the culinary skills you acquire as an apprentice chef stay with you for life. Even if you choose to explore different career paths later on, these skills can enhance your personal life and provide the joy of cooking for friends and family.

What are the challenges of being an apprentice chef?

  • The culinary industry often requires apprentice chefs to work extended shifts, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

  • Working in high-pressure environments, especially during busy service times. Apprentice chefs must produce consistent, high-quality dishes under tight time constraints.

  • The physical nature of kitchen work can be demanding, involving standing for long periods, lifting heavy pots and pans, and exposure to hot equipment.

How much will I earn as an apprentice chef?

Apprentices in the UK are typically paid minimum wage. As a commis chef apprentice (level 2) at Fuller’s, you’ll earn a starting wage slightly above the minimum wage of £10.72 to £11.99 per hour, plus tips.

You’ll also be offered other benefits, such as a 25% staff discount on food and drink, across all Fuller’s pubs for you and your friends and family – and this increases up to 40%, the longer you work with us – as well as discounted hotel stays.

Are there any opportunities to progress as an apprentice chef?

Apprentice chefs will have plenty of opportunities to develop new skills and work towards qualifications relevant to the industry.

At Fuller’s, after completing your Commis Chef Apprenticeship (Level 2), you can move on to the Chef de Partie Apprenticeship (Level 3), and then The Fuller’s Chefs’ Guild Scholarship – which is also Level 3 but focuses on leadership.

How do I get started as an apprentice chef?

How do I get started as an apprentice chef

Getting started as an apprentice chef is simple, as there are usually no specific experience and qualifications needed.

You can search for apprentice chef opportunities on online job boards, and it’s also worth getting in touch with restaurants and other hospitality companies directly to see whether they offer apprenticeship opportunities.

If you’re interested in applying for a Commis Chef Apprenticeship (Level 2) at Fuller’s, you can search and apply for roles near you via our website.

You can also read more about what it’s like to work at Fuller’s and why we’ve partnered with them on the page below.

Are you interested in becoming an apprentice chef? Did you find this page helpful? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.