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13 2nd Chef Jobs Found

Chef roles continue to be a popular career choice for many people, with 2nd chef jobs an important stepping-stone to more senior positions. The role is also known as a sous chef, and involves being second-in-command of a kitchen and creating high quality food. The role is fast paced, and you could be working in a variety of sectors, including restaurants, pubs, hotels, leisure facilities and cruise ships.

The restaurant industry is traditionally strong in the UK, meaning there will be many opportunities for work. The role is demanding, and you will be expected to develop your culinary arts as you gain experience. Keep reading to learn how to become a 2nd chef, including required skill sets and experience.

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A sous chef job description is varied and will likely include many different duties. Health & safety is very important in catering. Therefore, you will be expected to wear the traditional white uniform, as well as a hat and apron. Long hours are often part of the job, including shifts. This means you may be working early mornings and late evenings, with a break in between. Working conditions are often cramped, with you having to work closely with other chefs in a hot, often fast-paced kitchen.

As second-in-command, you will be required to oversee various tasks outside of preparing food. Such duties can include ordering food, checking stock, overseeing hygiene and providing training to junior-level chefs. Depending on your experience and the size of the kitchen, you may also be required to help design and update menus.

Most 2nd chef jobs do not require you to have a university degree. However, many employers do want you to have knowledge of different techniques and essential skills. Therefore, chef employers prefer candidates with professional training. As such, HNDs, BTECs and degrees are all available in professional cooking. These courses will likely feature placements in real kitchens. Such placements provide you will valuable real-world experience.

It is of course possible to enter junior-level roles without qualifications. Whilst this is becoming harder, it is still possible for individuals with strong cooking skills and relevant experience. Because 2nd chef duties can depend on the size of a business and the sector it operates in, roles can vary. In addition to qualifications and cooking abilities, skill sets valued by employers include:

  • Understanding of food hygiene and health & safety
  • Self-motivated, hard-working and ability to multi-task
  • Good teamworking and communication skills
  • Strong attention to detail and self-pride in work
  • Ability to accept and learn from criticism

The UK catering industry remains strong. Therefore, there are often many employment opportunities for qualified, passionate chefs. As a 2nd chef, you will already by undertaking many small management-style duties. Therefore, the role is regarded as an important stepping-stone to more senior-level positions, such as head chef. Senior roles will often feature less cooking and more management, office-style work. This includes ordering stock and planning new dishes for menus.

Salaries can vary significantly, reflecting the many different industries you could be working in. For example, a high-end restaurant in London is likely to pay more than a similar position within an NHS hospital in Newcastle. The average 2nd chef salary is between £20,000 – £30,000. Once you gain more experience, and depending on the sector working in, salaries can rise to £50,000+ for head chef positions. Working as a chef provides opportunities to work in different areas, including food development, head of catering and freelance positions.

Many people working as a chef do so because they love cooking and want to turn this passion into a career. The role can be very creative, and you will be working closely as part of a team of dedicated chefs. Once you gain experience and skills, you will likely have opportunities to work in any sector you wish. Promotion to senior roles is possible, resulting in higher wages and more responsibilities.

Working as a 2nd chef can also be very demanding. The role is famous for heavy workloads and having to work under pressure. Your work will be judged everyday by customers, meaning you will have to maintain the highest standards possible at all time. Evenings and weekend work are common in this sector, which can have a negative effect on your life outside of work. Low starting salaries are also common, particularly amongst small and medium-sized businesses.