Commercial cookery career pathways in Australia
There is a wide range of hospitality career pathways available for those with commercial cookery skills and qualifications, including some which can provide a pathway to permanent residency in Australia.
Chefs are in high demand in Australia, and the occupation is listed on the current Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Chefs can expect to make between AUD$57,502 and AUD$85,002 per year.
What do chefs do?
Chefs are responsible for preparing food in a commercial kitchen. A chef may work alongside other chefs, or they may supervise a team of cooks. Chef duties may include:
Preparing, cooking and finishing dishes
Supervising a team of cooks
Communicating with other venue staff
Maintaining a safe and clean kitchen environment
Chefs can also work their way up to Head Chef, Sous Chef or Executive Chef positions.
Cooks are currently listed on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). This career pathway provides an attractive way for entry-level cookery professionals to live and work in Australia. Cooks in Australia can expect to earn an hourly wage of AUD$25 to AUD$30, or a salary of AUD$55,000 to AUD$65,000 annually.
What do cooks do?
Cooks may work alone in a small kitchen, or alongside a team in a larger commercial kitchen. Typical responsibilities include following all safety and cleanliness procedures, preparing and cooking food as well as keeping the kitchen organised.
In a large commercial kitchen, cooks will generally work under the guidance and supervision of a qualified chef. In a small kitchen, cooks may also be responsible for ordering ingredients and planning menus.
Pastry cooks currently appear on the Australian Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and are in high demand nationally. Pastry cooks can expect to earn an hourly rate between AUD$19.47 and AUD$28.43, with the median hourly rate being AUD$23.90.
What do pastry cooks do?
Pastry cooks are cookery professionals who specialise in desserts and pastries. In a smaller kitchen, a pastry cook may perform duties such as:
Planning dessert menus
Preparing dessert dishes
Arranging and replenishing dessert displays
In a larger commercial kitchen a pastry cook will typically work under the supervision and guidance of a pastry chef.
What visa options are available for cookery professionals?
Depending on the occupation you are applying under, there are a variety of both permanent and provisional visa options available for skilled commercial cookery workers.
Chefs, cooks and pastry cooks can apply for the following visas:
The following additional visa options are available to chefs (but not currently to cooks or pastry cooks):
Migration advice from registered migration agents
There are three essential steps to follow to be eligible for permanent residency in Australia:
Step 1: Selecting the appropriate course is crucial. For aspiring chefs, completing a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery is necessary to be recognized as a chef in Australia.
Step 2: Apply for the 485 visa. After completing your course, it's essential that you apply for this visa. It allows you to remain in Australia temporarily and gain work experience in your chosen occupation.
Step 3: Complete the Job Ready Employment program to demonstrate your skills as a chef for migration purposes. Please note that you must engage in paid work for a specific number of hours. This assessment is crucial for proving your competence to immigration authorities and progressing further in the visa application process.
It’s important to note that all visas may not be available for all nominated roles. For help and advice on choosing the right visa for you, contact the friendly IDP registered migration agents for personalised visa help.
Chefs and cooks, being one of the ancient careers and among the top three occupations sponsored for work visas in Australia, hardly ever go out of jobs, since everyone needs to eat. However, it's a physically demanding job, so make sure you understand this before deciding on your career path.
Alice Guan, IDP registered MARA agent
IELTS requirements for visa application
Different visas may have their own English language requirements, so it’s important to check the eligibility information before you apply.
The visa options available for a chef or a cook generally require:
An IELTS score of band 5 or above in each of the four IELTS components.
Book your IELTS test online today to ensure you’re prepared for your visa application.
IELTS One Skill Retake
Would you like a better score? The Australian Department of Home Affairs accepts IELTS One Skill Retake with the exception of applications for subclasses 476, 482, and 485, which need scores from a single sitting/attempt. It's important to check the Department’s website to understand for which visa subclasses you can use IELTS One Skill Retake.
You can now retake any one component of the test; Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking without redoing all four sections. IELTS One Skill Retake can help you back on track.
"I was ecstatic when my friend told me about IELTS One Skill Retake... I am very lucky to be one of the pioneering people to have this opportunity. One Skill Retake is a game-changer" Melbourne-based test taker.
Check out how to book IELTS One Skill Retake, or learn the difference between One Skill Retake and an Enquiry on Result (or a re-mark). We also have 5 tips on how to best prepare for One Skill Retake and a guide on how to get your IELTS One Skill Retake results.
How do I become a cookery professional in Australia?
If you do not already work in your chosen occupation, there are some qualifications you’ll need to become a cookery professional in Australia.
A Certificate III in Commercial Cookery is highly beneficial when applying to work as either a chef or a cook. This qualification provides a solid foundation of knowledge for planning, preparing and cooking food in a commercial kitchen environment.
A Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery is commonly requested by businesses hiring chefs for their kitchen. This qualification builds on the skills acquired during the completion of a certificate III and teaches additional cooking techniques and management skills required to lead a kitchen.
A Certificate III in Patisserie (Pastry Cook) is the minimum qualification most employers expect when hiring a pastry cook. This certificate teaches the fundamentals of dessert and patisserie cooking and presentation.
Top commercial cookery courses in Australia
If you’re looking to start a career in commercial cookery, we recommend these top cookery courses and institutions in Australia:
Alternatively, if you’d like to receive advice tailored to your specific needs and goals, our friendly IDP counsellors are available to help find the perfect course for you.
Charles Darwin University
Charles Darwin University offers:
Victoria University offers:
Canberra Institute of Technology
Canberra Institute of Technology offers:
IELTS requirements for cookery courses in Australia
Most universities and academic institutions have different requirements when it comes to IELTS scores. The best way to find out about the requirements for the course you’re interested in is to contact the course provider directly.
You can also get in touch with an education counsellor. They have access to information from multiple education providers.
For enrollment, generally, cookery students must achieve a minimum overall IELTS band score of 5.5, and a minimum score of 5.0 in each of the four components (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking).
How to prepare for IELTS?
Get test ready with IELTS Prepare
Achieving a great IELTS score takes time and planning. You can’t just book and take your test in a matter of days – no matter how strong your English skills are. Successful test takers create a schedule to help them study everything they need to know before they sit an IELTS test. They make time to practise all four English skills – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking – as they know that each one is different.
If they have trouble with a topic, they attend a FREE Masterclass with an IELTS expert who can teach them how to improve. And, when they’re almost ready to take IELTS, they will complete as many practice tests as they can find.
So, when there are hundreds of resources to help you study, where do you begin? Click here to access your go-to guide to IELTS preparation. All of our most important materials – both free and paid – are listed here, divided by category.
Immigration and the law
Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent.