A chef CV should consist of just the right ingredients to pique the interest of hiring managers and persuade them to invite you for an interview.
Restaurant owners and managers don’t have a lot of time to spend pouring over your CV, so how do you make a great impression and ensure you catch their attention?
With dozens of occupation-specific CV examples and writing guides, Resume.io is an expert resource for job seekers at every stage of their careers. In this CV guide, together with our chef CV example, you can expect to learn more on the following topics:
- The role of a chef and what this entails
- Tips on how to write your chef CV
- The most effective format to use for your chef CV
- Ensuring each of your CV’s essential sections is effective: header, summary, employment history, skills, and education
- Advice on the best layout and design to use for your chef CV
What does a chef do?
Chefs have overall responsibility for the kitchen. They can work in various settings, including restaurants, hotels, and schools. In each type of setting, they plan the menu, deal with the food preparation, and manage the kitchen staff to deliver high-quality meals as promptly as possible
Most chefs work over 50 hours a week as it is a high-pressure and extremely busy role.
How much does a chef earn?
The average salary for a chef in the UK is £35,411. If you work for a high-end restaurant in London, you can expect to earn over £50,000 per annum.
The sky's the limit when you work as a chef if you are willing to commit and put the hours in. Gordon Ramsay is a shining example of this, a now world-famous TV chef who came from humble beginnings. He started his culinary career as a teenager and has worked his way up to become the second richest chef in the world, with a staggering net worth of over £200 million.
How to write a chef CV
Your chef CV, like all CVs, must include the following essential sections to adequately cover the your skills and experience:
- CV header
- CV summary
- Employment history
When writing each of these sections, it's important to be mindful of the target employer. For instance, consider the difference in tone you would adopt for a prestigious restaurant rather than a laid-back local café. Make tweaks to your CV to suit each job application.
The best way to build rapport before you even meet someone is to find out about them. Get a feel for the hiring manager and make sure to customise your CV for the job specs. At the same time, scrutinise the posted job requirements for keywords and phrases that stand out — especially those used multiple times. Be sure to use those keywords throughout your chef CV. This is your best precaution to avoid rejection by automatic tracking systems (ATS), commonly used to electronically screen online job applications.
Look at LinkedIn
When researching the employer and hiring manager, LinkedIn is a great tool for finding useful information on individuals and general company information. It is well worth signing up for, if you haven't already.
Choosing the best CV format for a chef
The best format to use for your chef CV is reverse chronological. It places your employment history section at the forefront with the education and skills following later.
One time when you might consider diverting from this format is when you lack relevant experience and want to focus on education or transferable skills instead. For instance, you might be looking for a trainee chef role, and are qualified but haven't yet developed expertise in industry roles.
Another instance when some job seekers adopt the functional (skills-based) or hybrid (combination) CV format is to reflect self-employment rather than employee work experience. Again, they might emphasize transferable skills, or even projects or clients, instead of places worked.
Feel free to swap different CV sections to suit the situation. But for most experienced chefs who have worked in a series of employee positions, reverse chronological is the best option.
Before getting into the content of your CV, one section at a time, it’s important not to overlook a critically important design element that helps make the document look more inviting to read. That is the CV header, which displays your name, occupation and contact information prominently on the page. It not only adds visual interest but also makes it easy for hiring managers to contact you later when you’re shortlisted for an interview. The impact is more striking when you apply the same header design to your CV and cover letter.
CV summary example: the starter
The summary (also known as the personal statement or profile) is the first section hiring managers will see on your chef CV. It's a short synopsis of your experience and skills to date — a brief introduction to you.
The summary only needs to be a few sentences long, and should include dynamic action verbs such as "led," "managed," planned,” organised,” or "demonstrated." It's not necessary to start each statement with the 'I' pronoun. Just jump right in with descriptive adjectives and adverbs supporting the action statements.
Some job seekers find it challenging to write their CV summary, unsure exactly how the free-form style can be used to best advantage. If you are looking for some inspiration for your chef CV summary, take a look at some of the other CV samples in Resume.io's library, including our barista CV example, hospitality CV sample, waiter CV sample, and waitress CV sample.
Below is the summary section of our chef CV example.
Passionate and innovative chef with 7+ years of industry experience working to create memorable and flavorful dishes. Skilled in Italian and Spanish cuisines. Dedicated to elevating the dining experience by experimenting with new techniques, fusions, and cooking approaches.
Employment history sample: the main course
The employment history section is the "main course" of your chef CV — i.e., the most influential section of the hiring case you're presenting.
Begin with your most recent position and work backwards to the earliest. Below each dated employer heading, create bullet points highlighting the duties of the role. You don't need to describe every aspect of every role; or even include every job. Keep it short and relevant cover the important points. Again, lead with action verbs and omit the "I" pronoun.
Because chefs plays an essential part in managing teams of kitchen staff, they naturally aim to meet performance targets.That’s why you should try to incorporate “success statistics” to support your work experience highlights. Focus on results, not merely duties.
For instance, instead of "responsible for ensuring a quick turnaround of meals from kitchen to table," you could say, "ensured meals were prepared and on the customer's table within 15 minutes." It gives the hiring manager a clearer insight into the deliverables they could expect from you, making your chef CV more persuasive.
Below you’ll find the employment history section from our chef CV sample.
Head Chef at Amara's Bistro, Bristol
April 2018 - December 2023
- Led a team of 12 chefs and kitchen staff, overseeing menu planning, food preparation, and quality control to ensure superb guest dining experiences.
- Researched and introduced new menu offerings based on seasonal themes and ingredient availability, contributing to an 18% boost in overall business and 15% repeat customer increase.
- Maintained all department expenses within the budgeted guidelines.
- Optimised kitchen operations, reducing food waste by 28% through conscientious inventory management and portion control.
- Oversaw kitchen cleanliness and compliance with food safety regulations, consistently achieving 100% health inspection scores.
Chef at Lemondrop Cafe , Bristol
September 2014 - March 2018
- Worked closely with other kitchen staff in a team of 8 to prepare delicious, high-quality meals for guests.
- Consistently met or surpassed strict service timelines for high-volume meal preparation, delivering 150+ orders during busy shifts.
- Collaborated with team members to streamline kitchen workflows, enhancing overall productivity by 15%.
- Assisted the executive chef in planning and budgeting the food costs.
CV skills example: the accompaniment
Your CV skills section serves as the “bread” accompanying the “main meal” discussed above. It supports the work experience you describe, adding a little extra value.
A chef is an all-rounder who requires a wide array of skills. Therefore, your CV skill section should show the hiring manager what you're good at and what makes you the right person for the job. As a chef, you need to possess a good combination of hard and soft skills. You need to have the hard skills and training required to understand food, cooking, and preparing meals, but you also need the soft skills of communication, working under pressure, and managing stress. Therefore, your CV skill section should show the hiring manager what you're good at and what makes you the right person for the job.
Check out the skills section from our chef CV example below.
- Effective Time Management
- Culinary Techniques
- Knowledge of Food Chemistry
- Knowledge of Food Safety
- Staff Management
- Creative Thinking
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Ability to Work in a Team
Show your passion
Chefs need to be passionate about food and deliver outstanding service to customers. Your CV should leave no doubt in the hiring manager's mind that you are passionate and love everything about food and preparing mouth-watering meals. Keep the language positive and incorporate your desire to create your menu where possible.
Chef CV education example: the dessert
As there are no specific educational requirements for a chef, the education section can sit at the bottom of your CV. On-the-job training may be more relevant; however, education is still significant.
If you have relevant qualifications as a chef, but no work experience, you may want to switch the education and employment history sections around. This would put your education and training qualifications above what would normally be the employment history section. These qualifications would include certifications and any culinary courses you've completed with the latest at the top.
Take a look at the education section from our graduate chef CV example for some inspiration.
Culinary Arts, Chef Academy London, City of London
September 2012 - May 2014
Demi Chef at Las Mananitas, Bristol
November 2013 - April 2014
- Served as a motivated assistant chef, helping with food preparation, presentation, and cooking.
CV layout and design: the finished product
Just as you would want your finished dishes to taste great, you also want to ensure the finished product is aesthetically pleasing. The same applies to your CV layout and design. But that doesn’t mean you need to overthink your CV layout and design. Simply strive to ensure that the document is clean, uncomplicated and visually appealing.
Using one of Resume.io's expert-designed CV templates helps you focus on writing the content without worrying about costly formatting errors. Together with our builder tool,
Key takeaways for a chef CV
- Use a clear structure when writing your chef CV, ensuring you cover the most important aspects of your skills and experience.
- Make sure your CV is targeted to each role you are applying for.
- Ensure positive language throughout your CV, along with relevant keywords.
- Check out our adaptable chef CV sample for more ideas on creating a great page layout.