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UK Skills Shortage Occupation Six Sous Chef

sous chef

This is the fifth instalment in a series of blogs that provide information on occupational roles that employers struggle to fill. In this article we take a look at the role of the sous chef.

In this series of blogs, we will be taking a look at skills shortages in the UK as published by, a leading international immigration consultancy firm. The occupations that we will cover in this series are listed as those where the skills shortage is such that employers struggle to fill the roles to such an extent that jobs on this list do not need to be advertised before they can be offered to a non-EEA (European Economic Area) immigrant.

The sous chef (or under chef) is the second in command in the kitchen after the head chef. The sous chef makes sure that high quality foods are produced, helps to create new recipes and write menus and they may have to manage staff and take control when the head chef is away.

How to become a sous chef

Obviously you need to be able to cook and you also need to have an understanding of health and safety requirements, evidenced with certificates and an understanding of the financial and administrative processes involved in purchasing ingredients.

Post GCSEs undertaking a full time vocational catering qualification such as an NVQ is an option. Here you would learn the skills necessary for working at all stations of a kitchen. After study at level 3 you could move on to an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree if you wanted to, or you could look for an apprenticeship in the sector.

The skills that you need as a sous chef

  • a flair with ingredients
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • strong leadership skills
  • excellent culinary skills

What do sous chefs get paid?

Salaries for sous chefs vary depending on the kind of establishment you are working in (restaurant, pub, hotel) and the location, size and success of the establishment. On average though, the UK salary for a sous chef is around £25,000.

See skills shortage occupation 7

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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