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Become a chef, study a commercial cookery course

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Jessica Hall’s dream of being a chef and heading up a commercial kitchen motivated her to study a commercial cookery course at Holmesglen. 

While training as an apprentice chef at Mercer’s Restaurant in Eltham, Jessica is studying the SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. 

The training will give her a qualification to work as a chef in restaurants, hotels, cafes and other catering operations.

“My dream is to work in France and Japan. But for now, I want to keep learning how to run a kitchen and about all the different areas of commercial cookery,” says Jessica.

What does a chef do?

It's a chef's job to make dining experiences memorable. They plan, prepare and plate food for customers to enjoy, and in hospitality environments, they are the leaders in the kitchen. They work both independently and in teams and also are responsible for maintaining food safety and handling, proper hygiene practices and menu planning.  

During her shifts at Mercer’s as an apprentice chef, Jessica rotates between different sectors of the kitchen. Her favourites are the panning and plating processes.

What qualities make a good chef?

A leading chef is more than the meals they create. Chefs need a detailed knowledge of food and best commercial cookery practices. They must also have specific personal qualities to help them develop their careers over time. 

Jessica believes a good chef should be:

  • patient when working through all different tasks 
  • open minded 
  • determined 
  • driven to practise outside of work or course hours to continue to learn on their own. 

Good chefs also use creativity and innovation in the kitchen and should have some basic business skills.

What is Jessica's advice for students and future chefs?

During her commercial cookery course at Holmesglen, Jessica has used each day in the kitchens to learn from experienced chefs. 

“Enjoy the opportunity to meet others in the industry, talk to them and learn from them. I’m encouraged to keep learning and thinking, not just remain stagnant,” she says. 

Holmesglen encourages its students to participate in competitions and events while they study, to build their professional work experiences.  

Jessica benefitted from her involvement in Paddock to Plate, a program where Holmesglen cookery students use local produce to prepare meals at our rural property, Holmesglen at Eildon. Jessica went on to win the section one category award at the 2018 Australian TAFE Culinary Competition.

How do I become a chef?

Holmesglen offers the SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery as both apprenticeship and non-apprenticeship courses. The non-apprenticeship course, which is available to study either full time or part time, is also available as Free TAFE to eligible students. If you wish to further your career opportunities as a chef or chef de partie, you can also study the SIT40516 Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, also suitable if you are looking to open your own cookery business.

Find out more about what you can achieve as a chef at our cookery courses page.
See courses


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All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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