Sarah Paterson talks to Adam Bateman, head chef at Tatlers Bar and Restaurant in Norwich about what it takes to make it as a chef and his passion for producing great food.

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Jobs24 factfile: chef

Training

There are a number of routes to become a chef: either a full-time college course, find a kitchen to take you as a trainee with day release to college via an NVQ or an apprenticeship route or a part-time college based course.

Specialist qualifications are available for the experienced chef who wants to develop more skills.

Timescale

Initial training usually lasts two to three years.

Local training

• City College Norwich 01603 773773/ www.ccn.ac.uk

The college is a National Skills Academy for Hospitality and offers a wide variety of courses, full and part-time and day release including apprenticeships, professional cookery courses from level 1 to foundation degree level plus non-qualification leisure and specialist skill based courses.

• Great Yarmouth College 01493 655261/ www.gyc.ac.uk

Professional cookery qualifications, full and part-time and day release. Specialist skills courses include the level 3 Diploma for Pastry and Patissiers. Short leisure based courses offered through Futures.

• Poultec 01362 850983/ www.poultec.co.uk

Offer NVQs in hospitality and catering

• College of West Anglia 01553 761144/ www.cwa.ac.uk

Offer a variety of courses including apprenticeships, diplomas and short leisure based courses.

There are also a number of private cookery schools in the county offering short specialist non-qualification based courses. These include:

• Richard Hughes Cookery School

01603 712215/ www.thelavenderhouse.co.uk

• David Adlard Cookery School

01263 587258/ www.davidadlardcookeryschool.co.uk

Salary range

A trainee wage may start around £12,000 per year and rise to £30,000 for a head chef role.

The Advice Shop

Why is it a good profession to get into?

I think it is a good profession to get into because people will always have to eat and will always like to enjoy great food and the experience of eating out. It is also good if you want to climb the career ladder and are willing to push yourself to try and produce perfection. Being a chef is not for everyone but it really is a very rewarding job. I have been lucky enough to work at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons which is the 28th best restaurant in the world. I learned a lot there and it was a great experience.

What work does it involve?

As head chef, I oversee all of the cooking which does involve a lot of running around and getting sweaty. Other parts of my role include: doing the rota, writing the menus, doing the ordering and managing finances. The actual cooking is the part of the job I am the most passionate about!

What are the positive and negatives of this profession?

There are lots of positives to the job but the biggest I would say is being able to produce food to an exceptional standard. I love that when your customers are happy, you can feel a buzz in the atmosphere of the restaurant and that is always really rewarding. The negatives would be the long hours. I do 15 hour days, starting at 8am and leaving at 11pm at night. If you like your sleep, this may not be your ideal job. You have to be passionate and determined to get where you want to be particularly as the starting wage is not always that great.

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

I think there is, as I mentioned people always need to eat so there will always be a demand for chefs.

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

Employers are looking for someone who is disciplined, passionate and want to work to a high standard. You must be able to prioritise, follow instructions, work as a team and communicate well. My advice would be to look at doing a course, somewhere like City College Norwich, as their training is really fantastic. Also get as much work experience as you can, which may include working for free.

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