In Summary - Commis Chef
Commis Chefs typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Commis Chef
A Commis Chef is essentially a trainee position, working in a kitchen environment to learn about cooking techniques through practice.
The work of a Commis Chef is all about attention to detail. Commis Chef's will start by learning basic knife skills, basic sauces, salads and cold dishes and progress to more complicated dishes through time.
Work also involves responsibility for checking food stocks - reporting on shortages, throwing out food that is close to expiry and keeping the larder areas in good order.
At all times a Commis Chef is expected to work to established health and safety guidelines. This includes keeping the work and food preparation areas impeccably clean and ensuring spillages are dealt with immediately. Personal hygiene must be maintained to high standards at all times throughout the working shift.
All food must be prepared promptly and presented to a high standard for the customer. Commis Chefs spend long hours on their feet in a hot busy kitchen environment, which can be very satisfying for those with a passion for their work.
Work is likely to involve early morning starts or late night finishes depending on your place of emloyment.
Employment as a Commis Chef can be found in a variety of hospitality environments including; hotels, restaurants, pubs, cruise ships and cafes.
A Commis Chef is in the kitchen to learn about cooking techniques through practice so the duties and tasks will vary even throughout a single day.
For starting off, the most basic of all chef techniques is knife skills. Only hours spent doing veg prep will bring the necessary coordination, precision and speed.
Commis Chefs will start with basic sauces and be expected to master these before moving onto more complicated ones.
Salads and cold starters provide a good introduction to preparing dishes for service, as they cannot be under or overcooked.
As more competence is shown, more responsibility will be given and a Commis Chef will be asked to move to areas requiring greater delicacy and urgency, for example - hot dishes, pastry or roasting.
A Commis Chef may be asked to check food stocks - reporting on shortages, throwing out food that is close to expiry and keeping the larder areas in good order.
At all times a Commis Chef is expected to work to established health and safety guidelines. His area must be kept clean, spillages dealt with immediately and personal hygiene maintained to high standards.
Although a Commis Chef is learning on the job, the sauces, veg and any other cooking ingredients that he/she prepares will be served to customers. Therefore it is vital that close attention is paid under instruction; a busy commercial kitchen cannot afford repeated mistakes.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Monitor sanitation practices to ensure that employees follow standards and regulations.
- Check the quality of raw or cooked food products to ensure that standards are met.
- Estimate amounts and costs of required supplies, such as food and ingredients.
- Instruct cooks or other workers in the preparation, cooking, garnishing, or presentation of food.
- Supervise or coordinate activities of cooks or workers engaged in food preparation.
- Inspect supplies, equipment, or work areas to ensure conformance to established standards.
- Order or requisition food or other supplies needed to ensure efficient operation.
- Determine production schedules and staff requirements necessary to ensure timely delivery of services.
- Check the quantity and quality of received products.
- Determine how food should be presented and create decorative food displays.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Developing and Building Teams Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Interests - Commis Chef
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
In this line of work it is vital to be able to listen and communicate effectivly within a team environment to ensure the kitchen runs smoothly and efficiently.
A genuine passsion for food and cooking is necessary to really thrive in this position. It is important to show creativity and originality in your food presentation and be open to learning from other Chefs in the kitchen.
Being organised and posessing the ability to multitask is key to keeping on top of your work in this fast paced environment.
Attention to detail is an important quality if you aspire to Head Chef status.
Entry Requirements - Commis Chef
The official entry route for a Commis Chef is through undertaking an apprenticeship.
Traditionally, experience was not always required to be a Commis Chef. The important thing was to show some inclination towards cooking. In the past, Commis Chefs might be promoted from Dishwashers or Kitchen Porters, as these two positions often involve basic veg prep or plating responsibilities.
Today, the main option is to undertake a professional qualification via the academic route. Most students pursue a culinary arts degree with an Institute of Technology. Courses tend to have an academic outlook and include modules in culinary techniques, pastry, baking and desserts, food and nutrition, food science, health and safety, meal service and international cuisine among others.
There are hundreds of courses available across Ireland to help you get started in the Tourism and Hospitality Sector. If full-time education doesn’t suit, you can also avail of some great apprenticeship programmes in the industry.
New Traineeship programmes have been introduced this year to address the increasing demand for chefs in the Irish context. IT Tralee now offer the National Traineeship in Professional Cookery. Like an apprenticeship, this is a Day Release Programme over 2 years (NFQ Level 6). The traineeship is designed to enable chefs to learn on the job while formalising their training on a day release basis in college. You must be in current employment or gain employment in an approved hotel, bar or restaurant prior to commencing the programme. Trainees who successfully complete the programme will be eligible to apply for year two of a relevant Higher Certificate or BA in Culinary Arts programme where available. Institutes of Technology registration criteria apply.
Private courses include the Professional Three Month Certificate Cookery Course run by Dublin Cookery School, Blackrock which is widely recognised as a credible and practical route to acquiring the expertise and skills needed to pursue a career in the food industry.
The next step for a Commis Chef is to Chef de Partie who is solely responsible for one area of the kitchen and all the chefs working in that area. This could be the hot section serving up the mains, the pantry, desserts, starters, pastry or a number of other sub-sections depending on the particular kitchen. To qualify for promotion, a Commis Chef would be expected to have served 4 - 5 years in a busy kitchen and have a qualification such as BA in Culinary Arts.
Major employers of Commis Chefs are restaurants and hotels, of which there are thousands all over the country and internationally.
Large hotel groups such as the Raddison, the Hilton, the Four Seasons or Best Western employ dozens of chefs in any one location. Additionally, you may be able to travel within the organisation. Application can typically be made directly to the .
Last Updated: March, 2016
Pay & Salary - Commis Chef
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 22k
IHF/Fáilte Ireland (2015)
Last Updated: November, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Commis Chef
Employment growth was high for this occupation; while chefs are employed across a variety of sectors, issues in attracting chefs relate to the hospitality sector. Employment permits have been expanded to allow for certain chef occupations. There is also evidence of issues with retention for entry level chefs. There has been a substantial increase in supply in recent years (+80% compared to 2012) but this has not been sufficient to offset demand.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Commis Chef
Restaurant's Association of Ireland
Irish Hotels Federation
Dublin Cookery School