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Becoming a Chef in Australia: Cert III and Cert IV in Commercial Cookery

If you aspire to become a chef in Australia, the main training to follow is Cert III, or more recently Cert IV in Commercial Cookery.

While it is absolutely possible to be a self-taught chef through experience, following this certification in a reputable school can provide benefits such as a better salary, networking opportunities, employment recognition, and foundational skills in the food and hospitality industry.

There are various options available to follow this certification for culinary arts, as it is based on unit validations by a certified organization. Unlike in France for the CAP cuisine (the equivalent certification), for example, where you train separately from the formal practical and theoretical assessment, which happens sometimes in May/June (it is free but you need to register via a school or as a candidate libre). You can find more information here (coming soon).

What is it?

First it is named commercial cookery because it is designed to train you to work in commercial kitchens in the industry. The Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (Cert III) is a vocational education and training (VET) qualification that provides comprehensive training in the fundamentals of commercial cooking. It covers essential skills such as food preparation, cooking methods, kitchen operations, hygiene and safety, and menu planning across 25 units, mainly practicals but some are theories.

This qualification is designed for individuals who are interested in starting a career in the culinary arts and hospitality industry. Graduates of Cert III in Commercial Cookery can work as junior chefs, kitchen hands, or other entry-level positions in restaurants, hotels, and other food service establishments. The Cert III program typically takes 12 to 24 months (if you need to retake some units) to complete and includes both theoretical and practical components, providing students with hands-on experience in a commercial kitchen environment.

What are the main options for studying?

If you are interested in the cookery industry, you may want to consider these foundational options:

  • Commercial Cookery Cert III (SIT30816)
  • Commercial Cookery Cert IV (SIT40516): includes additional units on kitchen management, finance management, and team management.
  • Dual Qualification covering Certificate III Cookery (SIT30816) & Certificate IV Patisserie (SIT40716)

Additional diplomas are available to further your learning or specialize your education:

  • Patisserie Cert IV (SIT40716)
  • Food Science and Technology FBP50121
  • Graduate Certificate of Food Systems and Gastronomy - CRS1400365

The traditional path is to follow a training program provided by a recognized training provider in full-time (1 year) or part-time (1.5 years) mode.

  • If you have prior learning or experience and have a specific training provider in mind, you can get recognized for prior learning and have some modules validated, which can shorten the course study time. For this, you will need to talk to your provider and apply to the training provider you selected. For example, in Victoria:
  • If you are eligible, you can apply via TAFE or another program to partially or fully cover the study fee. Check on the state government website to see what is available as some programs are federals and others state founded: you can start here , then depending of your state you may want to have a look at the state resources for example for Victoria: VIC
  • Some schools also offer scholarship options. You will need to contact them to learn more.

Another option is an apprenticeship plan (up to 3 years) (SIT30816). It combines campus-based training with apprentice experience in a job. Employers release you from duties 1 day per week to attend the learning in campus.

Choosing a training provider

My recommendation when you are choosing a training provider is to look for those criterias:

  • Firstly, you want to take a good look at the kitchen facilities. You want to ensure that the school has a well-equipped and clean kitchen that is suitable for your needs. This is where you will be spending a lot of your time, you can usually visit the facilities registering to open days events or via appointment.
  • Next, you want to evaluate the quality of the chefs who will be teaching you. Look for schools that have experienced and knowledgeable chefs who are experts in their fields. These professionals should have experience working in the industry, and be able to provide you with practical advice and guidance.
  • Thirdly, it is important to consider the school's network in the industry. You want to attend a school that has strong relationships with industry professionals and businesses, as this will increase your chances of finding work after graduation. These connections can provide you with valuable contacts, internships, and job opportunities.
  • Reputation is also crucial. Look for a school that has a good reputation within the industry and among employers. You can research this by reading reviews and speaking with chefs or students.
  • Job opportunities are also an important factor to consider. Look for a school that has a good track record of placing students in jobs after graduation. This can be an indication of the quality of training provided.
  • It's important to look at the timetable or past timetables(when available, some schools offers the training on 3 days, others on 4 or 5 days)
  • and finally is the location. Realistically, this is an intense training, and you want to consider something close to your place or be able to move closer to the training facilities.

What do I need?

Your Kitchen material kit is essential for this training here my recommendations

What you will learn?

The Food Units are structured as follow:

BSBSUS201: Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

BSBWOR203: Work effectively with others

SITHCCC001: Use food preparation equipment

SITHCCC005: Prepare dishes using basic methods of cookery

SITHCCC006: Prepare appetisers and salads

SITHCCC007: Prepare stocks, sauces and soups

SITHCCC008: Prepare vegetable, fruit, egg and farinaceous dishes

SITHCCC012: Prepare poultry dishes

SITHCCC013: Prepare seafood dishes

SITHCCC014: Prepare meat dishes

SITHCCC018: Prepare food to meet special dietary requirements

SITHCCC019: Produce cakes, pastries and breads

SITHCCC020: Work effectively as a cook

SITHKOP001: Clean kitchen premises and equipment

SITHKOP002: Plan and cost basic menus

SITHPAT006: Produce desserts

SITXFSA001: Use hygienic practices for food safety

SITXFSA002: Participate in safe food handling practices

SITXHRM001: Coach others in job skills

SITXINV002: Maintain the quality of perishable items

SITXWHS001: Participate in safe work practices

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Hi! I'm Chloe from CKitchenAtelier my french cooking atelier overseas, let's chat and explore about food techniques, recipes, training, tea and everything interesting related to cooking/patisserie here.                                                                             What is CKitchenAtelier Currently (2023), CKitchenAtelier is a welcoming space for all foodies, but it will continue to evolve over time. So, welcome here and let's get started! Ah and also, I am a geek and I love productivity so you may find some tech/productivity stuff along the way ;) Want to be in touch? Contact me  ---------- What is on the menu Professional learning guide: Commercial Cookery Cert III & IV CAP cuisine Recipes Ingredients Techniques Chef’s profiles Kitchen equipment Geekery