Apprentice Commis Chef - Lake District Hotels Ltd

Background to Employer:  Lake District Hotels, our Lake District Hotels are a distinctive collection of seven award winning hotels in the Lake District owned and run by the Graves family and situated in the most beautiful parts of the Lake District. From 4-star luxury Lake District hotels on the shores of Lake Ullswater and Derwentwater Lake, to traditional coaching inns and hotels in Keswick and a hotel in Penrith - our Lake District hotels are recognised for the warmth of our welcome, unrivalled personal attention and excellent service. THESE OPPORTUNITIES WILL BE AVAILABLE ACROSS THE VARIOUS HOTELS IN THE GROUP.

Brief overview of the role:  As an Apprentice Commis Chef, you're on the first rung of the ladder to becoming a great chef within our group. You will be involved in food preparation work and basic cooking under the supervision of senior chefs, this is your big chance to learn all there is to know about your trade.

Vacancy description: 

Apprentice Commis chef is a junior role that allows you to learn under the supervision of section chefs or chef de partie. This will teach you the essentials of a working kitchen and gives you an unbelievable opportunity to learn everything there is to know about your trade.

The idea is to learn all aspects of the kitchen and cooking techniques, so when you start out you will be rotated through the various different stations, which include vegetables, meat, fish, sauce and pastry.

Key Performance areas will include:

  • Knife skills – the most basic of all chef techniques. Preparing veg is the only real way to hone your skills to enable the necessary coordination, accuracy and speed.
  • Basic sauces – perfecting these will enable you to move on to more complex sauces for service.
  • Cold starters and salads – providing you a good introduction in preparing dishes for service.
  • Preparation and cooking – Fish, Shellfish, Meat, Poultry, Game, Offal, Vegetables, Sauces, Stock, Soup, Rice, Pasta, Egg Dishes, vegetable Protein, Bread and dough and Pastry.
  • Serving dishes – Presenting food creatively.
  • Stock Control – you may be expected to manage the stock rotation and deliveries,
  • Use of Equipment – Fryers, Grills, Ovens, Slicers. 
  • Hygiene – maintaining a high level of health and hygiene is a given regardless of your position within a kitchen. Keep your work area clean and your personal hygiene immaculate. You will gain your Level 2 Food Safety Certificate.
  • Health & Safety – Working to strict H&S procedures is vital to everyone’s safety in the workplace. You will be trained in COSHH, Fire Awareness, Manual Handling and gain a Level 2 Health & Safety Certificate. 

Once you have become a Commis chef, you can progress fairly quickly through the rank. 


Training to be provided:   Level 2 - Commis Chef 

Overview of the role:  Preparing food and carrying out basic cooking tasks in every section of a kitchen under the supervision of a senior chef.

What apprentices will learn:

  • principles of basic food preparation and cooking
  • food safety standards, practices and procedures, and personal hygiene standards
  • stock checks, stock control and waste management
  • setting up, preparing and cleaning their working environment
  • identifying commonly used knives and equipment and their specific uses

Details of standard:

  • A commis chef is the most common starting position in many kitchens and in principal the most junior culinary role.
  • A commis chef prepares food and carries out basic cooking tasks under the supervision of a more senior chef.
  • The primary objective of the commis chef is to learn and understand how to carry out the basic functions in every section of the kitchen.
  • Therefore having the opportunity to experience, consider and value each section with a view to choosing an area where they feel most inspired.
  • The learning journey of any chef will vary considerably from one individual to the next; however it is necessary to understand and have experience in the basics that this role provides in order to progress to any future senior chef role.

Knowledge and Understanding (Know it) Skills (Show it) Behaviours (Live it) Culinary:  

  • Identify the factors which influence the types of dishes and menus offered by the business.
  • Contribute to reviewing and refreshing menus in line with business and customer requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm for keeping up to date with business and industry trends.
  • Recognise how technology supports the development and production of dishes and menu items in own kitchen.
  • Use available technology in line with business procedures and guidelines to achieve the best result.
  • Use technology and equipment in line with training.
  • Recognise the importance of checking food stocks and keeping the storage areas in good order, know the procedures to carry out and how to deal with identified shortages and food close to expiry date. 
  • Check food stocks, report on shortages, prioritise food that is close to expiry and keep the storage areas in good order. 
  • Has the confidence to promptly deal with sub-standard ingredients, or those nearing their sell by date. 
  • Know how to undertake set up, preparation and cleaning tasks to standard whilst working in a challenging, time- bound environment. 
  • Work methodically to prioritise tasks, ensuring they are completed at the right moment and to the required standard. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify when tasks are not going to plan and has the confidence to request support when needed. 
  • Identify correct ingredients and portion sizes for each dish in line with recipe specifications.
  • Measure dish ingredients and portion sizes accurately.
  • Pay attention to detail and work consistently to achieve standards. 
  • Identify the principles of basic food preparation and cooking; taste; allergens; diet and nutrition. 
  • Demonstrate a range of craft preparation and basic cooking skills and techniques to prepare, produce and present dishes and menu items in line with business requirements. 
  • Show commitment to developing skills and knowledge; trying out new ingredients and dishes; practicing and reflecting on different preparation and cooking techniques. 
  • Identify commonly used knives and kitchen equipment and their specific function. 
  • Use correct knives and knife skills when preparing food and use the correct equipment when preparing, cooking and presenting food. 
  • Demonstrate care and attention when using knives and equipment. 
  • Recognise and understand sources and quality points of common food groups and commodities.
  • Correctly store and use food commodities when preparing dishesConsistently use the correct volume and quality of commodities in each dish, maintaining attention to detail. 
  • Identify traditional cuts of; and basic preparation methods for, meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. 
  • Apply correct preparation and selection methods when using meat, poultry, fish and vegetables in dishes. 
  • Utilise the correct cuts and preparation methods to produce high quality, technically sound dishes. 
  • Recognise the impact of seasonality on the availability, quality and price of ingredients. 
  • Complete preparation and cooking tasks to a high standard, delivered on time and presented as described within the recipe specification.
  • Has an appreciation of ingredientsFood Safety. 
  • Identify the personal hygiene standards, food safety practices and procedures required, understand the importance of following them and consequences of failing to meet them. 
  • Maintain a clean and hygienic kitchen environment at all times, complete kitchen documentation as required. 
  • Demonstrate high personal hygiene standards. 
  • Know how to store, prepare and cook ingredients to maintain quality, in line with food safety legislation. 
  • Store, prepare and cook ingredients correctly to deliver a quality product that is safe for the consumer. 
  • Follow safe working practices when storing, preparing and cooking ingredients to maintain their quality and safety. 


  • Understand how personal and team performance impact on the successful production of dishes and menu items.
  • Work effectively with others to ensure dishes produced are of high quality, delivered on time and to the standard required.
  • Take pride in own role through an enthusiastic and professional approach to tasks.
  • Know how to communicate with colleagues and team members from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures.
  • Use suitable methods of communication and operate in a fair and equal manner that demonstrates effective team working. 
  • Listen to and respect other peoples’ point of view and respond politely. 
  • Understand the importance of training and development to maximise own performance. 
  • Develop own skills and knowledge through training and experiences.
  • Welcome and act on feedback to improve personal methods of working, recognising the impact that personal performance has on the team.
  • Recognise own personal growth and achievement. 
  • Know how to support team members when the need arises.
  • Support team members to produce dishes and menu items on time to quality standards.
  • Respond positively to instruction and be aware of team members who may need support to get menu items out on time without compromising quality. 
  • Have an understanding of professional behaviours and organisational culture. 
  • Perform role to the best of own ability in line with the business values and culture.
  • Behave in a manner in line with the values and culture of the business.
  • Recognise how all teams are dependent on each other and understand the importance of teamwork both back and front of house. 
  • Develop good working relationships across the team and with colleagues in other parts of the organisation, and deal with challenges and problems constructively to drive a positive outcome.
  • Communicate and behave effectively to help team members achieve the best result for the customers and the business.


  • Understand the basic costing and yield of dishes and the meaning of gross profit.
  • Follow instruction to meet targets and effectively control resources.
  • Communicate and behave effectively to help team members achieve the best result for the customers and the business.
  • Understand the principles of supply chain and waste management.
  • Follow procedures regarding usage and waste of resourcesSet an example to others by working in ways which minimise waste. 
  • Recognise potential risks in the working environment, how to address them and the potential consequences of those risks.
  • Undertake all tasks with due care and attention, reporting risks in the appropriate manner.
  • Is vigilant and aware of potential risks within the kitchen environment and takes action to prevent them. 

Duration:  Based on the entry requirements the minimum duration for this apprenticeship is 12 months. 

Additional Training Benefits with Lake District Hotels:

80% of your time will be spent learning your trade in the Kitchen with 20% on specific training.  We have encompassed many additional activities into our training for Commis Chef, these are some of them: 

  • Demonstrations and tastings from our Executive Chef and Head Chefs on fine dining skills where you will see them prepare and cook complex dishes, refining flavours and creating dishes for our restaurants
  • Through our links with some of the best catering colleges in Europe, the opportunity to spend 2 weeks abroad working in a Kitchen in either Malta or Austria.
  • The chance to shadow our Head Chefs in our 8 Kitchens. 
  • Visits to local suppliers – Farms, Butchers, Fishmongers -  to see where our food comes from
  • Build your skills days – Team building, Knife Skills, Negotiation Skills,  
  • Kitchen Management – Covering all aspects of managing people, process and profits in a busy kitchen environment.
  • Being mentored by our Group Executive Chef who will share with you his extensive knowledge of the industry, and help you build your career path with us.  

Requirements and prospects

Desired skills:

  • Organisational and Time Management Skills – the rest of the team are depending on you to be doing what you are supposed to be doing, with the right tools, at the right time.
  • Excellent Communication Skills – you need to be able to take direct and respond back with your progress.
  • Working Quickly and Efficiently -  tme is of the essence in a busy kitchen; there is never enough to waste.
  • Ability to Work Under Pressure - when service fills up and the pressure is on, it is crucial that everyone performs to their best.
  • Ability to Learn on Your Feet - you must absorb your lessons and put them into practice right away. The more quickly you can do this the faster you will progress.

Personal qualities:

  • Critical Thinker - you will need to be able to solve problems on your own using creative thinking and initiative. 
  • Dependable – you will be someone who is reliable and responsible.
  • Flexible – you may have to juggle multiple tasks at the same time and to be open to different work.
  • Interpersonal – great people skills are vital in a kitchen, as you will be working in large teams and must be able to communicate with colleagues at all levels.
  • Motivation – you will be positive and passionate about your job, and are motivated.

Desired qualifications:

  • No formal qualifications required.  

Future prospects:  On completion of your training you could be ready to take the step into Chef de Partie. From there it is up to you, we have 8 kitchens in our group, and we love to promote from within our group. Could you be one of our future Head Chefs?

Things to consider:

There is no getting away from it… kitchens are hot, the work is hard. With long, often unsociable hours, split shifts, early starts preparing for the day ahead and late finishes for clearing up. What we can offer you:

  • Professional Chef Training
  • Rewards as you progress to include, knife set, dine with your Executive Chef, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast in one of our hotels, 2 weeks working abroad in either Malta or Austria.
  • On completion of your level 2 a full-time position and a £1000 bonus.
  • Salary is competitive and above minimum wage.
  • Live in accommodation is available if required.
  • Staff discount scheme in all our hotels and Restaurants.
  • You will work as part of a friendly and supportive team in a fun and team spirited environment.
  • Joining one of the most successful hotel groups in the Lake District.

Hours of work:

40 hours per week, over 5 days. 20% of time will be allocated to dedicated training.


Dependable on age, minimum of £4.20 per hour and up to £7.83 per hour during your first year.


Various locations across the hotel group.

Closing date:

31 Mar 2018

How to apply:

You can apply for this position, by clicking on the 'apply now' button. 

Be sure to take your time when completing this application, ensure you consider all the required skills and responsibilities and what you can offer.  If you would like any support in completing this application, you can access support from Student Services at Kendal College on 01539 814725.   

Apply now