Learn more about opening a restaurant with our complete guide.
So you want to work in a kitchen? The good news is that you don’t need any special certification or degree to do so. The bad news is that it still takes some hard work and dedication to make it in this competitive industry.
There are four main things that you need to succeed as a chef: talent, experience, passion, and certification. We’ll explore each of these in detail below, but let’s start with the most important one: certification.
The Level 2 Food Safety Certificate
The Level 2 Food Safety Certificate (or NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery) is the most basic certification requirement for anyone who wants to work in a kitchen. This course covers all the basics of food safety and hygiene, from temperature control and storage to cleaning and pest control. It also teaches you about food allergies, contamination, nutrition and cross-contamination of ingredients. The qualification is accredited by EHOs (Environmental Health Officers) so it’s accepted throughout the UK as proof that you know how to safely handle food.
The Level 3 Food Safety Certificate
The Level 3 Food Safety Certificate (also known as the National Hygiene Award) is slightly more involved than its predecessor but still covers all the same fundamental topics. This course focuses on the more complex aspects of food safety and hygiene, such as allergens, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), personal hygiene, pest control and nutrition. The Level 3 is accepted throughout the UK and most countries in Europe so it’s a great way to demonstrate your expertise in this area.
The National Hygiene Award
The National Hygiene Award is the highest level of certification available for chefs who want to work in a professional kitchen. It covers all topics discussed in Levels 2 and 3 but goes into much more detail about topics such as controlling cross-contamination, identifying hazards and recognizing potential risks. This certificate is recognized by all EHOs in the UK, so having it can be a major asset in the competitive restaurant industry.
Working in a kitchen requires more than just passion and experience – it requires certification to prove that you know how to handle food safely. The three most important certifications for chefs are the Level 2 Food Safety Certificate, the Level 3 Food Safety Certificate and the National Hygiene Award. All of these courses are recognized by EHOs throughout the UK and Europe, so having one or more of them under your belt is an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in this area.