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A Career In Catering

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Sep 2016 | comments*Discuss
Career Change Catering Career Change

People are often passionate about food, whether it's the food that they eat, or the food they cook. Whatever your preference, there is a 'foodie' career out there that could give you ultimate job satisfaction. Food is a vital element in any sort of celebration or gathering, meaning that there is plenty of opportunity to make a go of a career in the catering industry.

What Job Positions Are Available?

There are many ways to work within the catering business and the route you take to Changing Career may depend on the sort of work you're looking for. For instance, if you have no previous experience of working within a kitchen, you might have to start employment at a very junior level, such as kitchen assistant or kitchen porter, with the opportunity to Learn And Progress As You Work. Jobs include food preparation, cleaning and dealing with stock. Many employers are keen for their staff to train and become qualified as they work. This sort of approach is very involved and as with many catering jobs, involves long, tiring hours in a hot kitchen. The pay also varies on the establishment in which you choose to work.

If you already have some experience of working in a restaurant kitchen, you may be considered for more senior roles in smaller businesses, such as a sous chef, or kitchen manager/supervisor. You will probably have to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, as well as provide a Good CV with bona fide references when you apply for such a position. You may be involved in creative aspects, such as helping to devise menus and plan new dishes, in which case your passion for food and your fresh ideas should be well documented. Experience of supervising staff and managing stock beforehand will also definitely be a bonus.

If you have a Food Safety and Catering qualification, this will also help your chances of starting a little higher up the ladder in terms of career development, with the potential to earn a decent salary. Having a good understanding of food and hygiene is also very important. A food hygiene and safety certificate is also a rudimentary qualification when working for yourself, or running your own business. You can find details of how to get this certificate from your local council. You'll also need health & safety approved premises from which to base and run your operation.


Many catering jobs don't require a whole host of GCSEs and A-Levels to begin work. To boost your chances of getting the most out of a catering job, however, you can undertake training towards a valid and recognised qualification. Whatever area of catering you wish to enter into, this can often be done as you work – as with the vast array of catering-related qualifications such as BTEC HND in Professional Cookery, Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery and GCSE in Catering for chefs – or as part of a college course that will involve practical training.

If you are looking for a more managerial or supervisory role in catering, then there are also opportunities to train towards an NVQ or BTEC HND in Hospitality Supervision or Hospitality Management. Again, the course you take really depends on your previous experience, and which area of catering that you decide to work in. The main point is that there are a large number of courses to choose from, many of which will allow you to earn as you learn.

Once you have achieved certain qualifications, there is also the opportunity to continually train and develop your skills, particularly if you wish to specialise. If you're serious about a career change into catering, it may be worth contacting your local college to find out just what training opportunities are open to you.


Whatever position you choose to work within, in the catering profession there are a few attributes that are considered important for all job roles. You'll first have to be physically fit with a good level of stamina. This is because many catering jobs involve working in hot, busy, pressurised kitchens where you have to be constantly thinking on your feet. The ability to multi-task and communicate well are also imperative, with organisational skills being of the utmost importance.

Catering offers great opportunities for career development. To work within this profession you'll obviously need a passion for food, but also have the dedication and motivation to work long and sometimes unsociable hours.

Your Own Company

Ever contemplated opening up your own catering outlet? Get some top tips from our article Starting up a Coffee Shop, Restaurant or Bar.

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[Add a Comment]
I love to be a professional catering although I have a diploma in catering n hotel management which I just obtain this year all I want is a job DAT can make me learn more
vicky - 20-Sep-16 @ 4:39 PM
@Candyman - a college course would help. There are lots of part time courses in catering etc that can be undertaken in the evenings. The course provider should be able to give you an indication of the types of jobs available and how to get into them.
ACareerChange - 11-Feb-15 @ 12:28 PM
I am a 42yr old man looking for a change of Career from Clerical to Catering. But I am unsure what i can do to make this move?
Candyman - 8-Feb-15 @ 9:15 AM
I am 15 years old i would love to do catering as a career, however i am studying academic subject's at school and for a-levels. Do you think with out taking the cookery course i could still achieve a career in catering?
jade_nixonn - 2-Jan-13 @ 8:00 PM
To enhance my knowledge and skills where my professional & aducational experience could be achieved in a reputable, companyvalues and attitude upon joining in any institution that offers Greater opportunities in establishing personal growrh and stability .
sharshawy - 28-Jun-11 @ 8:13 PM
I am only 19 but have been working within catering for a good six years mainly as a chef. It is a great buisness to get involved in and there can be a very sucsessful carrer to be made. The main down side within catering especially if you are looking to work in a resturant as a chef or a member of the front of house team is the hours worked. The hours are very unsociable, working a good 11 hour shift daily and not finishing till very late at night, these hours make it very difficult to relax with friends, partners or family on a regular basis. This is something that should be considerd if you are looking to get into catering. As I said before it is a great buisness with many opportunties.
Jonesy - 7-Jun-11 @ 12:28 AM
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