Job Description

As a chef in the RAF, you will have a varied role, preparing food at five-star themed banquets one day and cooking in the field the next.

Once fully trained you will have organisational, time management, communication and number skills with the ability to stay calm under pressure. You will be able to work in Military dining facilities preparing hotel standard fare and fine dining experiences for Military personnel, in a field kitchen supporting exercises and operations worldwide or in an In-flight production kitchen producing meals for fast jet pilots, helicopter crews, large aircraft crews and passengers travelling to all corners of the globe. With experience, you could volunteer to work in our VIP Team and cook for high ranking Officers, Government Ministers and even members of the Royal Family.

If selected, you could compete in culinary competitions and eventually gain an invitation to represent the Royal Air Force on the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team who compete internationally against the best industry Chefs in the world.

Your day-to-day tasks will vary with your role, but they will include: preparing attractive menus to nutritional standards, controlling stock, preparing meat, fish and vegetables for cooking, presenting food creatively, maintaining quality, adhering to hygiene and health and safety regulations whilst instilling a knowledge of allergens, nutrition and diets so you can cater to the diverse Royal Air Force family.

Typical Responsibilities

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

Training You’ll Receive

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 need to complete specialist training at the Food Services Training Wing at Worthy Down. This 16-week course will train you to maintain excellent standards of personal, food and kitchen hygiene whilst using specialist kitchen equipment to produce a variety of dishes. You will also undertake a 10-day Introduction to Deployed Operations with No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron where you will be trained to set up field kitchens under tents, enabling you to provide catering support to deployed operations worldwide as well as supporting exercises both based in the UK and abroad.

If you have the relevant qualifications and experience in professional cookery you will be offered the opportunity to undertake a diagnostic test at Food Services Training Wing at Worthy Down. Applicants would need to pass 60% in written and theory tests to be put forward to the fast-tracking process with scores of 80% plus making them eligible for accelerated promotion thereafter.

Fast Track students will automatically progress to the last 4 weeks of the chef course where they will complete familiarization training and the 10-day introduction to Deployed Operations with No 3 Mobile catering Squadron.

All Applicants Must:

  • Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth. Employment restrictions may be imposed within the Logistics Branch and Trades in relation to the rapid and effective deployability of RAF personnel to countries that apply travel restrictions to non-UK personnel. Non-British personnel applying for these fields of employment are required to certify that they have been advised of the nationality-imposed employment limitations and the consequences of not naturalizing as a British citizen.
  • Be aged 16–47 (Must attest before 48th birthday).

Education Requirements

If joining the RAF as an unqualified Chef, there are no educational requirements.

If joining the RAF as a qualified Chef, you will need the following:

At least 12 months of suitable experience working as a chef/cook in a hotel, restaurant, hospital or industrial canteen, or other catering establishment (not fast food).

You Will Also Need One Of Following:

  • NVQ Level 2 or 3 in Food Preparation and Cooking.
  • Apprenticeship in Commis Chef or Production Chef Standards.
  • Any other appropriate recognised civilian qualification.