In honour of Julia Child’s 100th birthday celebration, we thought it would be a great idea to look at chefs in BC! Although there are many different kinds of chefs, their main duties all revolve around the preparation and cooking of meals, as well as the general management of kitchens. Their work environments can range from small cafes or bistros to much larger establishments like hotels or hospitals. Most chefs will specialize in a particular cuisine, which may take on flavours or styles influenced by a specific region or culture. A chef who has studied Mediterranean cooking for example, will often use a lot of lamb, olive oil, and peppers in their food. That being said, even though we tend to associate chefs with food and cooking in general, their duties extend well beyond gas ranges and cutting boards. For instance, just some of the activities a chef may be tasked to do could include the following:
What qualifications are required to be a chef in BC?
In most cases, the completion of secondary school is required to begin a career in cooking, but if this qualification is all that you possess don’t expect to jump right into managing a kitchen. A career in the restaurant business right out of secondary school will typically begin with dishwashing, which will usually lead to advancement if you show that you are reliable, hard working, and capable of working under pressure. If you wish to begin your career in a higher-level position it’s a good idea to have several years of experience in commercial food preparation or certification. Certification is not required to work as a chef in BC, but many employers prefer to hire chefs who are certified. Overall, there is no “right” way to become a chef, but having experience and training will definitely help you stand out from the competition.
Where can I receive training in BC to become a certified chef?
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver – Vancouver, BC
Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts – Vancouver, BC
The Art Institute of Vancouver-Dubrulle Culinary Academy – Vancouver, BC
College of New Caledonia – Prince George, BC
College of the Rockies – Cranbrook, BC
North Island College – Vancouver Island, BC
Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC
Camosun College – Victoria, BC
Selkirk College - Nelson, BC
Okanagan College – Kelowna, BC
University of Fraser Valley – Abbotsford, BC
Cascade Culinary Arts School – Abbotsford, BC
Thompson Rivers University – Kamloops, BC
Northern Lights College – Dawson Creek, BC
What kinds of certification are there and how do I obtain them?
Right now there are three types of chef certification:
If you don’t have the qualifications to obtain chef certification, there are two methods that can help you get certified. The first method is to challenge the “Red Seal” certification exams for a cook. To challenge the exams you should have been in the industry for quite a while, as you will need to challenge the Professional Cook 3 Certification Exam. In order to challenge this exam you will have to provide evidence that you possess enough work experience and knowledge of the industry. The second method of achieving certification will be to go through the training and apprenticeship programs offered at any of the above schools. This will mean completing (or challenging) the three levels of training for cooks from Professional 1 to Professional 3.
For information on how to challenge the certification exams click here.
For more information on the types of certification, or to explore the journey towards certification, please check out this excellent flow chart from the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council. Click here.
Types of jobs in a kitchen environment:
Chef de cuisine
Chef de partie
Rotisseur (Roast cook)
Poissonnier (Fish cook)
Garcon de cuisine
Career Trek video on cooks:
For more information on becoming a chef please check out the following links:
Career Trek Cook Profile
WorkBC Chef Profile
WorkBC Cook Profile
Go2HR Apprenticeship Training Information
Canadian Culinary Institute
The Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks
Vancouver Community College ESL and Cooking Program
If you're currently a chef or were previously employed in a kitchen please share your story with other British Columbians who are thinking about pursuing a career in this field. Or, if you have any questions about this article please post a comment as we'd love to hear from you!
You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
Live Chat Support
is typically available
8:30am - 4:30pm PST
Monday to Friday.
Alternatively, contact us by
phone at 1-877-952-6914
Please visit our site help page to seek further assistance.