Job type

Head chef

£23k - £50k

Typical salary

40 – 48

Hours per week

Head chefs oversee restaurants' staff, food and budgets.

More info

  • Use your love of cooking in your work every day as you plan menus and manage the kitchen in a restaurant or other food outlet
  • As well as great cooking skills you'll need to be calm under pressure and able to manage a team
  • Hours are often long, but there are opportunities to build an excellent reputation and increase your salary, or run your own restaurant

As head chef of a kitchen, you'll organise and manage the work of the kitchen staff, decide which tasks need to be done and share these among the team. You'll also be involved in some of the preparation and cooking of food.


  • Plan menus
  • Make sure food is of the right quality and price
  • Manage stock
  • Order food from suppliers
  • Control a budget
  • Keep accurate records
  • Manage health and hygiene procedures
  • Organise the staff duty rota
  • Recruit, train and develop staff


You could work at a restaurant, in an NHS or private hospital or on a cruise ship. You'll be on your feet most of the time, working under pressure in a sometimes hot and humid environment. You'll wear a uniform and hat for hygiene reasons and protection. 

You'll need

To be a head chef, you'll need knowledge of food production methods, maths knowledge, leadership skills, the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues, to accept criticism and work well under pressure, to use your initiative, and to work well with others.

There are no set requirements, but you'll need a passion for food and experience of running your own section in a professional kitchen, plus a qualification in food safety.

Most head chefs work their way up after starting in a job like a kitchen assistant, before working as a section chef and building up their experience.

You could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or degree in culinary arts, hospitality management, or professional cookery.

You could also do a college course like a Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery or Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts.

You could also take chef de partie or senior chef advanced apprenticeship, or a senior culinary chef higher apprenticeship.

You'll need a qualification in food safety.


With experience, you could go on to manage larger kitchens and more staff. You may work for a large restaurant chain managing more than one kitchen. You could also set up your own business, running your own restaurant or franchise. Some chefs set up their own restaurant brand.