How to Become a Chef in Australia

Chef with open sign in the background

The culinary world in Australia rises to the Hall of Fame, taking its chefs to the golden seats of laurels and wealth. Opportunities for chef jobs oozes from the banquet, and Australia could not have you any better with their congeniality and stability when it comes to the hospitality industry in the country. 

Have you always loved working in the kitchen? Brandishing your knife skills on the chop boards, sprinkling flavor and passion in your recipes, and designing your food as artfully as a painter with only the plate as their canvas and food their paint colors. Are you good at multitasking? Have your skills always shone under pressure? Have you always loved the art of cooking? 

From five-star hotels scattered in main Australian cities to upmarket resorts to classy restaurants, doors open and welcome you to their working places to become the recognized chef of your dreams. However, how to become a chef in Australia is one of the frequently asked questions from aspiring dreamers in the culinary world. Questions as to what kind of work you will be doing in the kitchen, the qualifications needed to become a chef, and how long it will take you to get the requirements are daunting. Even the prospect of the demands of chef jobs should be weighted. Meanwhile, it can be entertaining to imagine the salary and chef rankings, but the requirements are indispensable to reach your dream salary and rank.

Below, we are going to break down everything you need to know about becoming a chef in Australia. If you are already a chef, you will also find an explanation about the available Australia immigration programs.

Being a Chef

How to become a chef in Australia

Truthfully, being a chef is more than just the appeal in the kitchen. By global definition and experience, it is being a professional cook whose work encompasses food preparation and kitchen management. The word glamorously originated from a phrase in French, chef de cuisine’, where the chef got the reputation of being the ‘boss of the kitchen’. In Australia, the word retains the same meaning, but other names for it are head chef or chef-manager. 

To reach the title of chef, you must undergo training or apprenticeship by which you can get a formal qualification. Through it, you will gain a lot of experience as a cook and become an expert in the craft. The range of your techniques will broaden, reaching many areas of cookery, or you can also choose to specialize in a specific cuisine. Chefs can be mostly found working in restaurants and catering companies, but they also work in households, schools, and hospitals. 

Since a chef’s job is overseeing many aspects of the kitchen, it is more than just cooking. They are the backbone of the restaurant. The whole cooking industry of a place depends on them. As you go through ranks, your responsibility heightens. You can go from purchasing ingredients and estimating costs to supervising other cooks. You can create or innovate new dishes. You can research and plan a menu. You can manage a kitchen and organize it for an easy workflow. You can hire or train staff, demonstrating to the kitchen neophytes cooking techniques and procedures. You can be in charge of sanitary or maintaining kitchen equipment. A chef can also be in charge of different specialties ranging from desserts or soups, depending on their ranks. An array of works present itself to any chef, whether expert or beginner. 

More opportunities are even available in Australia. Its hospitality industry has been growing steadily from the past five years and counting, with 81,000 job prospects by the next five years. Chef jobs in Australia are in all-time skyrocket and the Australian Government supports such claims. When it comes to money talk, the average salary does not fail in its window range of $43,000 to $55,000. 

Whether you do it for fortune, fame, or passion, the road can be challenging. It doesn’t matter whether all you are after is cash and job opportunities or creative satisfaction and excitement, everyone starts from the beginning. Here, you will be guided on how to become a chef in Australia, altogether scouring through the chef jobs in Australia. 

Who knows, this might be your start of a blazing career in the culinary world. 

Requirements For a Head Chef Job in Australia

Head chef and students learning to become chefs

There are many things required of you before taking on a chef job in Australia. You will be guided to each of them step by step. Below are the head chef qualifications Australia requires from applicants:


Ever have doubts that a career in culinary arts is for you? Before applying for your qualification, where you will undergo rigorous training from well-trained chefs, you must decide that you love cooking. You must ask yourself if you are passionate about it, and one way to prove it to yourself is to work in the kitchen. Even imagine yourself as a chef in a kitchen. 

Surrounding you is the rattle of kitchen utensils, whistling of equipment, and shouts of other chefs and kitchen staff about orders and menus. A kitchen is a pandemonium of people moving a mile in a minute. There is no rest as the orders keep coming. Your kitchen experience might be much better and believable if you do it hands-on and practical. Your love for cooking must be pragmatic, not illusionary. Through it, you will have expectations of the ins and outs in the kitchen and what a chef’s job must be like before you step into the realistic foray of the culinary castle. 

Skills Assessment

Working calmly under pressure is a must. A kitchen is a fast-paced vicinity where there is simply no time to take a step back and relax. Simply put, you must have enormous mental strength and motivation. You must have quick and precise attention to detail. Remember, you are dealing with food that goes into people’s stomachs. The flavor must be precise, the presentation exquisite, the food palatable, and the cleanliness on-point. 

However, cooking does not only stop at doing what your customer likes. You must fuel into the food passion and creativity, so it would be a food unmatched by anything they have ever tasted. A chef requires long hours of work as the orders only stop coming when the restaurant closes. It is a 9-5 job, and during the extraneously long hours of work, you must be full of energy and stamina. 

Finally, you are also with other people like fellow cooks and kitchen staff, so it is only a requirement to be friendly and cooperative. In a nutshell, a chef job is not as glorious as a naïve person thinks it is, and there is a lot to learn in washing the dishes, being a waitress, and cooking to be intimate with what the real culinary world looks like. 

Other skills you might need for your job are business and communication skills. Food is an aspect of the business world. Having skills in marketing your dish will be useful. You will also be dealing with quantities like ingredient control, cooking temperature, and cost calculation of meals, where skills in Mathematics apply. English is naturally a must when working in Australia where the language is used widely. 

Job Search

Once you have prepared expectations of your work, the next thing on the list is finding a chef job in Australia. This stage can easily sap up the energy of even the persistent ones. Desperation calls for desperate measures. Many suggest the best way is through networking. However, if you want an easy way around it, you can walk in hiring restaurants. Although it is much more exhausting. Thanks to technology, you can also go to their sites and see if they have job openings. 

Paperwork and Experience

Experience in the kitchen is necessary. It is precisely why you must try out in the kitchen first to know if you are passionate about being a chef. However, before going to Australia, you must apply for visas such as student visas, employer visas, working holiday visas, and migration visas for general skills. Immigration companies are more than willing to guide and help you in processing your traveling passports and visas so you can get to Australia safely and sound. 

For the chef jobs, some hiring sites need 12 months of field experience within the last three years. The apprenticeship during qualification is not enough, and there must be a post-qualification experience of at least three years. Last but not least are certificates namely Cert III and Cert IV in Commercial Cookery to show your qualification in chef education as per Australian standards. 

The journey does not stop there. You are not halfway yet. Requirements are only steppingstones to a full-fledged chef job in Australia. 

Qualifications For a Head Chef Job in Australia

Chef certificate

Qualifications are not a be-all-end-all means in acquiring a chef job in Australia, but they will give you an edge when applying. There is always room for improvement, and apprenticeship is the way to it. Besides, a chef certificate can only be given through chef courses in Australia. To make the whole ordeal less intimidating, you will be acquainted with the process below. 

Chef Courses in Australia 

The gateway to acquiring the chef certificate is chef courses in Australia. You can study as an international student in the country, taking courses in Commercial Cookery and Hospitality Management. Undergoing training in a registered training organization is a step in getting a professional qualification. Many international schools offer chef programs for aspiring chefs who want to work in Australia. 

Institutions are available all over the country that can cater to your training needs. As of now, 15 institutions can welcome culinary students from all over the world. You can either choose to take your training online and on-campus. Time flexibility is accessible through the options of part-time or full-time training. Additionally, requirements may differ in different regions, and it is where your local TAFE comes in. 

You can check out local TAFE courses in Queensland, North Metropolitan, Gordon, State of New South Wales, and others. These institutions offer culinary courses that can get you your qualifications. Private colleges that specialize in cuisines like Le Cordon Bleu Australia can be another way around the acquisition of a cooking experience. Several of these institutions provide high-quality education and facility in learning. Like any culinary education, the quality of their classes stood upon practical industry application and classwork. 

To check the requirements and costs of these sources, you can check the links provided in the institutions listed. 


The work of a chef is a hands-on job, so sitting while studying inside classrooms will not give you the exact full experience of the work. Throughout your education, you might apply your skills at a restaurant as part of your practical classes. An apprenticeship in Australia for a chef job might take you as long as three years to complete before you can get certified.  

Being an apprentice entails various jobs you do in the kitchen. An apprentice assists in menu planning and in preparing and cooking food. They also order food supplies and equipment. Their jobs are not as glamorized as a real chef’s job, but it will prepare you for the heavier responsibilities of becoming a chef in Australia. Notwithstanding the menial jobs, it is through an apprenticeship that you learn a lot about the kitchen, cooking techniques and procedures, and familiarizing the whole scenario of being a chef. 

What’s even nicer is, you get paid while doing your apprenticeship. The job itself has its own designated wage. As you progress through your training within three years, your hourly pay rate increases. It also depends on where you are taking your apprenticeship and your age. An apprentice, who is under 21 years old and works full time in a restaurant, will earn $430.82 per week ($11.34 per hour) in their first year. 

A Year 10 school certification from an institution or courses you choose to train in is an important qualification matter. For international students, there are international colleges in Australia that provide a course in becoming a certified tradesperson in the country. These courses include at least 360 hours of chef work experience along with a certified tradesperson. 

For international employees who completed half of their apprenticeship in their home countries, you can avail of a partial credit transfer to take up the credited components you might have missed in the Australian-standard qualification. Contacting TAFE courses and other institutions for advice helps gauge what you need to take up for the remaining credits. 

Chef Certificate in Australia 

The only necessary certificate to hand in when applying for a chef job in Australia is Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery. Acquiring this certificate is a giveaway that you have specialized in various skills and knowledge in culinary arts. Your employer will naturally expect you can use such high-quality knowledge to advise and deal with the problems in the kitchen. Since the curriculum used in courses is mandated by the industry, your skills are then built. Employers will value these skills in the workplace. 

Even so, getting the qualification is not a race. You can take your time in studying or experiencing chef work until you think you are qualified enough to get the certificate that aligns with your career goals in the culinary world. 

After qualification, you can finally look for a job and work your way up the ladder. 

Immigration Programs

Going to another country requires a visa. Since you are applying to become a chef in Australia, you can avail of permanent work visas under the independent migration for general skills. The occupation itself is included in the list of the Immigration and Border Protections’ Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). There are other visas you can apply for as well, including but not limited to Temporary Graduate Work visas and Skilled Independent (Subclass 189). The TRG visas are beneficial when you plan to study culinary courses and apprenticeships in Australia. For chefs with skills and experience, they can avail visas sponsored by their employers. 

From the name itself, you might need a skills assessment to apply for its General Skilled Migration visas. This is done through Trades Recognition, where you need at least 360 hours of work experience with a certified tradesperson to acquire the certificate of assessments for your chef skills. You might be urged to apply for an apprenticeship to get the visa and assessment, as you also need the Certification IV in Commercial Cookery as a requirement for skills assessments. 


Australian flag with visa application and passport on wooden table

Effort paves the way in becoming a full-fledged chef in Australia. Hence, UIS Australia will assist you in acquiring the necessary visas to game-start your career. Whether you are a beginner in need of experience in apprenticeship, or an expert highly recommended by your previous employer, let UIS Australia guide you in finding the best immigration program for you to push your way to culinary opportunities in the country.

Ron Ford

Ron Ford immigrated with his family to Australia in 2005 to work as a social worker. Following their difficult immigration process, he slowly turned to blogging and creating content about immigration: "…As a family of 5, we struggled to make ends meet. I was working around the clock and Clarissa was working in housekeeping any time she could spare. The move to Australia completely changed our lives, but it cost us a lot of money, time, and tears. Ever since I've wanted to help others on their journeys the way I wished someone had helped us".

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