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We asked Martin Dunn from Failte Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Martin Dunn

Activities Manager

Failte Ireland

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  Martin Dunn
  • Qualities & Values - Patience, hard work, like meeting people, enjoy providing good customer service, desire to do a good job for yourself and your employer 
  • Client Skills - Qualification both education qualifications and practical ability to the job
  • Interests - to be generally interested in the field you are working in. I think that it is easy for people to look at the job and think its great and must be loads of fun because you get to go on the high ropes all the time. That is just a small part of the job and generally you are watching others having fun and playing on the activities and you only go on them to do staff training or to do safety checks. You must also be prepared for the paper work that goes along with a job where you are responsible for that safety of people and this cannot be overlooked.
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Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

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Occupation Details

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Commis Chef

Job Zone

Education
Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€20k > 22 
Commis Chef
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€20 - 22 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
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.
Shortage Indicator

Irish Hotels Federation (February 2014) reports serious staff shortages in the Hospitality sector for Culinary Skills; Complete Kitchen Management; Food and Beverage Service; Maintenance and Housekeeping functions

2%
Occupational Category

Chefs & Cooks

Also included in this category:

Chef-managers; head chefs; pastry chefs; cook-supervisors; head cooks

Number Employed:

26,700

Part time workers: 27%
Aged over 55: 8%
Male / Female: 59 / 41%
Non-Nationals: 39%
With Third Level: 39%
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At a Glance... header image

Assists with the preparation, cooking and presentation of food and in the running of the restaurant.


The Work header image

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.

The Work

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.

 


Personal Qualitiesheader image

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 Routesheader image

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.

Traineeship

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

Private courses include the Professional Three Month Certificate Cookery Course run by Dublin Cookery School 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.

Progression

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


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Chef - from:  iCould [UK] Video
Go..Chef - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Head Chef - from:  iCould [UK] Video

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Fáilte Ireland
  Address: Amiens Street, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 884 7700
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Restaurant's Association of Ireland
  Address: 11 Bridge Court, Citygate, St Augustine Street, Dublin 8
  Tel: 01 6779901
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Irish Hotels Federation
  Address: 13 Northbrook Road, Dublin 6
  Tel: 01 497 6459
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Dublin Cookery School
  Address: 2 Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  Tel: (01) 2100 555
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Tourism & Hospitality

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Further Ed & PLC Course Suggestions
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