A trainee chef is also known as an apprentice, junior or commis chef. Trainee chefs work in restaurant and other kitchens to learn what it takes to become a chef. As a trainee chef, you will study the functions of each kitchen section and ideally spend three to six months at each kitchen station to gain important work experience. By rotating throughout the kitchen, you will be able to make an informed decision about which area of specialisation to choose. You will report directly to the head chef.
Since you will be working only as a junior chef, a certificate in culinary management will be sufficient education to get you accepted into a restaurant kitchen. A certificate in food hygiene is also required. You start out as a kitchen attendant first and then apply for a training programme later. Some trainee chefs complete the full chef's training course and start working in a kitchen as a trainee chef to gain enough experience to qualify for a chef's position.
Trainee chefs must have excellent skills in attending to details. They must be able to make exact measurements according to recipes and perform well in a team. First aid skills are an advantage.
As a trainee chef, you may work in shifts during the restaurant's open hours. Be prepared to work late in the afternoons because this is when many restaurants are the busiest.
Compensation is based on your skills and kitchen experience. According to the National Careers Service, as of 2014 chef salaries start at around £13,000 per year.
As a trainee chef, you are expected to assist the head chef, sous chef, line chefs and other kitchen staff in food preparation. Your responsibility is to support kitchen staff in maintaining high culinary standards. The head chef requires your assistance in ensuring that dishes are prepared and served on time. He might also need your help in developing menus and ensuring that safety and health standards in the kitchen are met. With other junior kitchen staff, you are responsible for storing all leftover food and keeping the restaurant clean.