What is an Army Chef?

An army chef is responsible for producing healthy, well-balanced meals for soldiers and other army personnel. Army chefs can work anywhere from a beautifully maintained regimental mess to a scratch kitchen in a war zone, and might serve a dozen soldiers or hundreds at each meal they prepare.


So tell me more about how to be an Army Chef

As a chef in the British Army you’ll be helping keep soldiers fighting fit, serving up delicious meals all over the world – whether it’s in an army barracks providing gourmet suppers, or out in the field using pre-packed rations.


Chefs in the army have a really exciting and challenging role and regularly win national awards as a result! As an army chef you will:


  • Receive complete training – from the basic to the most advanced culinary skills

  • Learn how to construct field kitchens and to prepare food in a combat zone

  • Feed hundreds of soldiers at once – making sure they have a balanced and healthy diet that keeps them fit and strong

  • Use your training to cook and prepare food in lots of different conditions (sometimes creating on-the-spot field kitchens from whatever materials are available!)

  • Cook gourmet meals for special occasions and visiting VIPs

  • Learn about kitchen management, food storage, menu selection and hygiene

  • Be awarded an NVQ Level 2 in Food Preparation and Cooking (Don’t forget, these qualifications are valid and highly prized in non-army kitchens and restaurants too!) 


Becoming an Army Chef: What does it take?

You should be interested in cooking and food preparation, but looking for a job with more travel, excitement and danger than working in a pub or restaurant. Army chefs often have to improvise meals with the bare minimum of supplies, meaning that creativity is very important. You should also be calm, capable of working in very stressful surroundings and committed to the ideals of the British Army.


What is the job market like for careers in forces catering?

For as long as we have an army, we will need army chefs! The number of people employed in the armed forces is falling overall, but chefs represent an essential trade that cannot be easily downsized. You’ll also find that your qualifications and experience will be much prized in the civilian catering market.


Forces catering courses and training to build your career

Over the course of your Phase 2 (trade-specific) training you will earn an NVQ Level 2 in Food Preparation and Cooking, and could go on to complete more advanced courses. These could include the NVQ Level 3 in Hotel and Catering Hospitality, or even a diploma or degree in the same subject.

Promotion is largely dependent on experience, but you will also have to complete examinations to prove your capacity to lead.

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