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Learn the skills for a lifelong career as a chef

A career as a chef usually involves a slow rise through the ranks. Top restaurant kitchens tend to operate a rigid hierarchy, and you'll need to do your time among the chopping boards and prep stations before you can start being temperamental and creative.

Commis chefs are at the bottom rung of the ladder, essentially kitchen apprentices. If you check out the salary guides at a site like chefjpobs.co.uk, you'll see that wages for commis chefs start out at around £9,000 for chefs in Scotland or northern England, which means you'll probably have to survive off the scraps from your chopping board.

Life gets a little easier as a chef de partie or line chef, where you are running your own station in the kitchen, and getting to boss around those humble commis chefs. You may reach the heady heights of a salary in the region of £18,000 - £25,000 depending on the location and prestige of your restaurant.

A sous chef job means you've almost arrived in the restaurant world. This is where you really start to learn about the challenges and opportunities of work in a busy restaurant kitchen. In the culinary hub of the UK, London, average salaries for senior sous chefs range from £21,000 to £35,000 a year. From here you can start dreaming about running your own kitchen.

You may want to follow an alternative route to the top in your career as a chef, by working in small kitchens, bistros, even fast-food joints. This will give you more responsibility and creative input at an earlier stage. The job vacancies on sites like caterer.com or gumtree.com could start you off.

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