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How to Become a Chef with No Experience

Want to be a chef, but have no qualifications or experience? …Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and thankfully, if you’ve got the will, we’re here to show you the way.

Working as a chef is an extremely rewarding job, whether you’re looking to pursue a long lasting career in the culinary arts, or a short-term gig learning some handy kitchen skills. With the right team and a cuisine you love, it can be a seriously fun environment.

And the great news is – you don’t actually need any experience or qualifications. In fact, Chef roles are in high demand right now, so you’re more likely than ever to find one that does not require experience.

Here’s how to do it:

Apply for Commis Chef roles

One thing many people don’t know is that plenty of venues hire for chef roles that don’t require any prior Chef experience. Many places are happy to hire people for entry-level roles that they can train up.

The role of Commis Chef is an entry-level Chef position. As a Commis Chef, you’ll receive rotational training and be placed in varying positions around the kitchen. As a result, you’ll gain a strong grasp of all the diverse elements of cooking. It’s a great chance to build foundational skills, as well as make close working relationships with all kitchen members.

If you’re keen to climb the ladder, you can then progress onto Chef de Partie, Sous Chef and finally onto Head Chef or Kitchen Manager.

If you’re just looking for a short-term Chef role, this is a fantastic chance to learn some key kitchen skills and work in a fun, fast-paced, lively environment.

In fact, RIGHT NOW is the best time to apply for Commis Chef roles. Why? Since the pandemic, employers have had a smaller applicant pool, so many venues have decreased their criteria and are looking to take on lots more people with no experience to train from scratch.

Our advice – seize this opportunity!

You can apply to hundreds of Commis Chef roles on the Placed App – simply download the app, set your location and you’ll find plenty of one-tap apply roles from well-known, trusted brands in your area.

Download the Placed App, set up a profile and start matching with jobs.


Work your way up

A large portion of Head Chefs and Kitchen Managers have reached the point they’re at from simply working their way up the ladder. Usually the journey to Chef begins as a Kitchen Porter or a Dishwasher, but always starts in the kitchen.

We chatted to Nuno Resende, Head Chef at Michelin-starred the Ninth in London, who started off as a Kitchen Porter and climbed the ladder with no formal qualifications:

“I started in hospitality initially as a Kitchen Porter, where I saw chefs cooking everyday. One day I approached them and asked them to teach me while I worked as a porter. Once I felt confident cooking, I applied for chef jobs, starting as a Commis Chef and eventually worked my way up.”

Nuno advises others looking to follow his path to keep asking lots of questions and always stay curious.

“There are so many chefs out there that will want to teach you.. I knew I liked French cuisine and found chefs who wanted to teach me, which gave me the opportunity to work my way through a career. Just know what you want to do, and find someone to teach you.“

“Don’t think you know everything – just keep asking questions. I still see chefs with over 20 years of experience asking questions.”

The good news is that Kitchen Porter roles almost always require no experience to apply. If you’re hard-working and keen to learn, you can easily secure a job and work your way up.

Placed App has a whole heap of great Kitchen Porter roles hiring for right now. To find one in your area at a range of trusted restaurants and pubs, download the Placed App and start applying today. No CV needed!

Download the Placed App, set up a profile and start matching with jobs.


A little networking goes a long way

If you know anyone who works within the culinary industry, try reaching out to them. This can feel a little daunting at first, but networking is often one of the best ways to get into an industry you don’t normally have experience in – and a lot of people are very willing to help out!

This can be anyone from Chefs, Waiter/Waitresses, Restaurant or Pub Managers – anyone who works either directly in the Kitchen or closely with Kitchen staff. The hospitality industry is packed with close-knit teams, so you’re bound to find a connection.

You could arrange a coffee or a phone call, and ask them how they worked their way up or if they know of anyone who might have vacancies or training opportunities for you. Even if they aren’t currently able to help you, they may have opportunities open in the near future – so it’s always valuable to put your name out there!

And it doesn’t have to just be people you directly know. You can network through online forums, social media groups, cooking events, group classes and more.

For instance, Placed App‘s community group of Service Sector job-seekers and career starters provides a supportive online space for like-minded candidates to network, whilst hearing about the latest hottest roles within industries like hospitality, retail, logistics and more.