Chef Apprenticeship

Chef Apprenticeship

Looking to become a chef?  The culinary arts can be incredibly rewarding.  Cooking is a creative and disciplined endeavour that requires open-mindedness and structure at the same time.  A chef apprenticeship will be the best way to go about becoming a chef.  These apprenticeships will be demanding, fast-paced and intensive.  Working in a kitchen is tough.  As anyone who has knows, keeping pace with orders and making sure everything is running as efficiently as possible is a skill that takes a certain type of discipline and communication.  Let’s look at how to find a chef apprenticeship, what the duties will be, typical entry requirements, and the average wages.

How to Find a Chef Apprenticeship

There are quite a few resources that will help you out in your search for a chef apprenticeship.  The Australian Apprenticeships Network is a website you can use to help guide you in your search. They will set you up with a representative in your area, who will then help you find an employer or registered training program.  You can also try searching on  It’s a great way to read job descriptions and learn about general entry requirements.

Typical Duties of a Chef Apprentice

Being a chef apprentice involves doing a lot of grunt work at first.  You’ll be helping a chef prepare and cook dishes.  This will involve aspects like food quality control, overseeing food supplies in the refrigerators or storerooms, and learning to operate a lot of the heavy equipment in the kitchen, like mixers, fryers, ovens, and other equipment of similar nature.  It will also include planning and executing recipes, and organising the day-to-day activities in the kitchen. The work will be demanding, the hours can be long, but if you’re passionate about food and a career in the culinary industry, then you might really enjoy it.

Chef apprentice preparing food

What kind of apprenticeship do I need to become a chef?

Most chef positions in Australia require a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.  This certificate can take anywhere from six months to three years.  You’ll also be assessed by your prospective employer and your contact at the Australian Apprenticeship Network in terms of your communication skills, initiative, planning/organizing skills, problem solving skills, self-management, teamwork, and ability to work with the kitchen technology.  There are no entry requirements to begin this certificate, but some background in the restaurant industry would definitely be a plus. 

How much are chefs paid?

The national average for chef wages in Australia is $57,287 per year*.  However, wages for entry-level assistant chefs average around $48,000 per year* national, while a sous chef will make an average of $66,500 per year* and a head chef will make $76,000 per year*.

Here’s a breakdown of average yearly chef salaries by state*:

  • New South Wales: $59,867
  • Western Australia: $58,273
  • Victoria: $56,914
  • Queensland: $56,172
  • Tasmania: $56,107
  • South Australia: $54,288

It is also important to note that your age and experience level will affect how much you’ll paid during your apprenticeship.  The average hourly wage for chef apprentices nationwide is $18 per hour*, however adult apprentices over 21 may be entitled to a higher rate.  You can find more detailed information about wages at the FairWork Ombudsmen website.

* According to and Glassdoor