Logistics

Chef

RAF Chefs have a varied role when it comes to cooking and preparing food for RAF staff and guests. They can be preparing food at five-star themed banquets one day and cooking in the field the next.

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Prepare meals in RAF messes
  • Order, store and account for food
  • Help plan menus for everyday meals and VIP occasions
  • Prepare in-flight meals for cabin crew and passengers

Similar civilian roles include Chef or Caterer.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side.

Scroll down to explore the opportunities as a Chef in the RAF.

Key Facts

Recommend this role

Full Time
Regular

Initial pay after training

£17,485 + Benefits

Pay during training

£14,348 + Benefits

Entry level

Airmen/Airwomen

Commitment

12 Years

APPRENTICESHIP: Int Apprenticeship in Hospitality & Catering

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Spare Time
Reserve

Initial pay after training

Day rates dependent on rank, role and experience

Entry level

Airmen/Airwomen

Commitment

27 days per year for 12 years minimum. Each year includes a 15 day block for general RAF training, which is taken over a two week period, and 12 days for additional/trade training, or training exercises.

 

The possibility of being deployed to a UK or overseas base for up to 6 months after the first year.

Locations

RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire

RAF Benson, Oxfordshire

RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

RAF Woodvale, Merseyside

Aldergrove Flying Station, Co Antrim

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Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

In the RAF

My Role

‘Chefs in the RAF do all kinds of work. I’ve done official functions cooking first-class food, I’ve worked in the Sergeant’s Mess, which is a bit like a canteen, and I’ve done field catering, based outdoors, feeding hundreds of personnel.’

My Day

‘In my kitchen here, we prepare meals for about 350 people. There’s a servery with about five or six choices for lunch and dinner, including vegetarian options and a sandwich bar. We take it in turns to prepare meat, vegetarian dishes, poultry and vegetables, so we have a go at everything.’

Si, Chef

Training

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Full Time
Regular

Initial Training

Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.

Specialist Training

If you are joining with little or no catering experience, you will complete specialist training at the Food Services Wing DLS CTS (RAF) Worthy Down. This 17 week course will give you an overview of catering in the RAF and the basic craft skills required of a chef. You will also undertake a ten-day Introduction to Deployed Operations with No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. Whilst at CTS during the course you will begin a level 2 NVQ Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Diploma in Professional Cookery (preparation and cookery) which you will complete during the first year on unit, and you will be on your way to gaining an Apprenticeship in Hospitality. On successful completion of specialist training you will receive your first assignment.

You may be eligible for fast-track promotion if you already have acceptable academic catering qualifications and suitable catering experience in the hospitality industry. Before you join, however, your qualifications will be scrutinised by the Catering Apprenticeship Team. If you have the relevant qualifications and experience and if you achieve a pass rate of 80% or higher on all practical and theory Phase tests during the 17 week specialist training you will qualify for promotion to Senior Aircraftman/woman and will receive your first assignment.

Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities

As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills, including management and leadership. In addition, you will have the opportunity to complete further courses in higher culinary skills, food hygiene, and instructor duties. You will also receive regular training in deployed catering and food ordering, accounting and storage.

Your First Tour

For your first tour, you will be posted to either an Officers’ or Sergeants’ Mess – which serve food of hotel standard – or to a Junior Ranks’ Mess, which offers a wide range of high-quality meals. It’s your first experience of life on base and a chance to understand how the RAF community works.

Your Future Career Prospects/Progression

You will initially join the RAF for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement with effect from 1 April 2015. If you have joined without qualifications, after completing one year’s total service you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman when you pass a Trade Ability Test. Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection.

Transferable Skills

The NVQ and Apprenticeship you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find a job in the hospitality industry.

Qualifications You Can Achieve Under The Apprenticeship Programme

Level 2 NVQ Professional Cookery
Level2 Technical Certificate in Hospitality & Catering
Principles Professional Cookery
Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering
Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace
Level 1 Award Functional Skills Mathematics
Level 1 Award Functional Skills English

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Spare Time
Reserve

Initial Training

Your training will start with a Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) consisting of 4 weekends at your chosen RAuxAF Squadron, followed by a 15 day residential training course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. This training course will prepare you for service life in one of the most respected military forces in the world; it is also designed to help you tune into the military environment and way of life. As well as military training, you will learn about the core values, code of conduct and history of the RAF, as well as its unique lifestyle.

Specialist Training

Unqualified Chef: If you are joining with little or no catering experience, you will complete specialist training at the Catering Training Squadron (RAF) at Worthy Down. This course will give you an overview of catering in the RAF and the basic craft skills required of a chef. You will also undertake the Deployed Skills Course at 3 MC Sqn based at RAF Wittering. The professional training phase will be delivered over 2 training years. After successful completion of year 1 and your Trade Ability Tests (TATs) you will be promoted to Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) where you will be classed as interoperable and will be able to deploy on UK based exercises. After successful completion of year 2 and your TATs, you will be promoted to Senior Aircraftsman (SAC).

Qualified Chef: You may be eligible for fast-track promotion if you already have acceptable academic catering qualifications and suitable catering experience in the hospitality industry or previous military catering experience. Before you join your qualifications will be considered, and if you have the relevant qualifications and experience you will complete a 2 day diagnostic test. If you achieve a pass rate of 80% or higher on all practical and theory tests you will qualify for promotion to SAC. Following this you will complete the Deployed Skills Course.

Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities

As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills, including management and leadership. In addition, you will have the opportunity to complete further courses in higher culinary skills, food hygiene, deployed catering, food ordering, accounting and storage.

Career Prospects/Progression

You initially join the RAF Reserves for a period of 12 years. Following time and experience in the rank of SAC (detailed above), you will be eligible for further professional training and, subject to recommendations from your Flight Commander, consideration for promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond; this is by competitive selection and subject to you obtaining positive annual appraisals.

Transferable Skills

The skills you will learn are transferable to any catering establishment and are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAuxAF, you will be well placed to find a job in the catering and hospitality industry.

Requirements

Full Time
Regular

Job requirements

Qualifications:

Unqualified Chef: GCSEs at Grade G in English Language and Mathematics or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 6/Scottish National 4 in English and Mathematics.

Qualified Chef: You should have two to three years of suitable experience working as a chef/cook in a hotel, restaurant, hospital or industrial canteen, or other catering establishment (not fast food). You need to have GCSEs at Grade G in English language and Mathematics or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 6 in English and Mathematics as well as one of the following:

• NVQ Level 2 in Food Preparation and Cooking; and Level 2 Certificate in Hospitality and Catering Principles (Professional Cookery)
• NVQ Level 3 in Food Preparation and Cooking; and Level 3 Certificate in Hospitality and Catering Principles (Professional Cookery), or Any other appropriate recognised civilian qualification

All RAF ground trade recruits (except Air Traffic Controller – Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) must have or gain Functional Skills (FS) qualifications in English and Mathematics to graduate from Recruit Training. Your first chance to pass these tests, if you do not already have the necessary FS grades, will be at the Pre-Recruit Training Course. The level of FS qualifications you need to achieve depend on the trade you are applying for; as a Caterer, you will need to pass the Level 1 FS tests in Mathematics and English.  Even if you have other qualifications in Mathematics and English (like GCSE/SCEs), you will still have to take and pass the FS Mathematics and English tests.  Further information will be available from your local Armed Forces Careers Office.

Age:

  • Unqualified Chef : 16–30 (Must attest before 30th birthday)
  • Qualified Chef : 19-30 (Must attest before 30th birthday)

RAF Requirements

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.

Spare Time
Reserve

Job requirements

Qualifications:

2 GCSEs/SCEs at Grade G/6 minimum or equivalent in English language and maths.

 

 

Age:

  • 18 - 54.6

RAF Requirements

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.