Considering moving abroad to be a chef? Make sure you read this guide first.
The world is full of unique and delicious cuisines, so what could be better for a trained culinary professional than to working overseas?
Not only do you get to learn about new and exciting foods and cooking methods, but you also get to explore new places and new cultures, learn a new language, meet new people, gain valuable new experiences, extend your professional network, and give your CV a serious boost.
Here’s our guide to what you need to know as a British culinary professional looking for work abroad…
Experience and Qualifications Needed for Chef Jobs Abroad
Each job is different, and the qualifications and experience necessary for each job is entirely dependent on what the position demands.
Most chef jobs abroad require a minimum of 2 or 3 years of experience, and obviously the higher your level of qualification, the more likely you are to find well paid work, although there are culinary jobs available at various different levels.
What to Expect as a Chef Overseas
Working as a chef overseas can often be very lucrative, particularly if you are paid tax free or get a good package which includes healthcare, transport and accommodation allowances, however this is not always the case.
Expect to work just as hard (if not harder) than you would in the UK.
Speaking another language is definitely a bonus, but if you currently only speak English there is plenty of scope to learn a new language on the job if you will be working in a non English speaking country, however be prepared that not speaking the local language can be a barrier.
Types of Chef Jobs Available Overseas
Opportunities for many different types of chef jobs exist overseas, including commis chef, bakery chef, chef de partie, demi chef, sous chef, and head chef.
There are also often internships recruiting from overseas.
You could find yourself working anywhere from cruise ships to high class hotels.
Best Countries to Work as a Chef
French cuisine is revered throughout the world, and working in a French kitchen is an invaluable experience that looks great on your CV.
Here you can learn the ins and outs of classic cuisine where it is taken most seriously, and it’s the ideal foundation for a great culinary career.
In order to become successful in France you will have to work very hard and be extremely disciplined, but if you are successful, job prospects are good, and what’s more — if you decide to move on you will have in depth knowledge of the fundamentals of cooking which will stand you in good stead when furthering your career.
As a guide, average salaries for international chefs working in a service chef role in France are around £47,000 per annum.
Food and the dining experience plays an important part in Thai culture, social occasions and celebrations.
The best Thai dishes include salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavours. Rice is a staple of Thai cuisine, and noodles, meat, vegetable and fish dishes all play a part in a Thai feast.
In a major resort or upscale hotel, British chefs working in Thailand can earn around £600 per month as a bakery chef per month, as much as over £2000 per month as a sous chef, and as much as £3500 per month in an executive chef role, with the possibility for top chefs to earn much much more, however these roles are reserved for well qualified candidates with a lot of experience.
The availability of jobs for international chefs in Thailand is reasonably good, but those who are less qualified will find it harder to find employment — particularly in establishments serving local cuisine who generally hire Thai chefs.
As in most Asian countries, food and traditions surrounding food are extremely important to the Japanese, and traditional Japanese cuisine — called washoku — is one of only three national food traditions recognised by the UN for its cultural significance.
It can be tough to find employment as a chef in Japan, and even if you are a chef with a skilled labour visa, you must have a minimum of 10 years experience as a professional chef in any given type of cuisine, plus a good knowledge of the Japanese language.
Working in a western restaurant on the other hand may not require that you speak Japanese as you will be working alongside other international chefs, and there is a far greater chance that international chefs will find work in international restaurants.
Australia is incredibly multicultural and this can clearly be seen when it comes to the cuisine, from Aboriginal ‘Bush tucker’ to a wide range of international cuisine, barbecues, as well as a strong British influence.
Australia’s close links with the UK make it easier for Brits to work there, coupled with the fact that there is no language barrier.
There are wide range of restaurants with jobs available for international chefs, dependent on experience and qualifications, and where restaurants are located. Average wages for a head chef in Oz are roughly the equivalent of £33000.
Dubai is a glittering paradise for the wealthy, and there are a huge variety of restaurants, including traditional Emirati cuisine and some of the best award winning international restaurants in the world.
Dubai cuisine is inspired mainly by Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, and food is often heavily spiced.
When working as a Brit in Dubai you can take advantage of a generous tax free income, and many contracts come with allowances for accommodation, health care, and other benefits, but living costs can nevertheless be high.
Fortunately the high number of expats living in Dubai means that international cuisine is in high demand, so there are opportunities here for British chefs.
However in a city of such opulence with luxury restaurants and some of the best chefs in the world you will need to be well qualified to work here.
Pastry chefs particularly are in high demand, but only those with expert training from French masters and a considerable amount of experience.
Job opportunities are good for Brits wanting to work in New Zealand. In general there is a shortage of skilled chefs at all levels.
One to three years of training is the minimum that you should have before considering applying for a job in NZ.
You can expect to earn between the equivalent of around £18000 and £32000 per year as a sous chef, and between £32000 and £50000 as a head chef in a well reputed restaurant.
Much like Australia, the cuisine in New Zealand has many different influences — including British and Kiwi fare — and there are a multitude of gourmet restaurants.
How to Find Chef Jobs Abroad
If you are a Brit considering working abroad as a professional chef, there are many online resources that are available. It’s advisable to search employment before you go abroad.
Some of the best are: