Chef Cookery Courses Level 2 & 3 Diploma (Professional Cookery)
- Course length
- 1 year full-time per level
There is a strong demand for well-trained chefs and excellent promotion prospects for hard-working professionals with commitment and flair. Our Chef Cookery Courses will equip you with the practical skills and knowledge to work across a variety of sectors in the catering and food service industries, from event catering to fine dining restaurants.
Level 2 will teach you about key food preparation and cookery skills including a broad range of cookery processes, dishes, sauces and baking.
Level 3 will help you develop and refine your essential skills, building on your culinary foundations to take your cookery to a higher level with more complex techniques and dishes. On completion, you will be able to apply for degree-level courses.
UCB also runs the prestigious chef apprenticeship with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. On-the-job training takes place at some of the finest restaurants in the Birmingham area. Please see the Apprenticeships tab for more information.
Why should I choose this course?
- University College Birmingham has an international reputation for the quality of its professional cookery courses
- We have revised the content of this popular course to allow you to reach Level 3 in two years rather three
- The new-look course allows you to get a job or progress to a university degree much earlier, saving you a valuable year at an important stage of your career
- The course has been developed to provide a more hands-on approach with more time developing your kitchen skills
- Although the majority of students will take the Level 2/Level 3 diploma, you can still take the Level 1 diploma if you think you might need additional support to get you on your way.*
"I have had the most rewarding three years of my life at UCB. I’ve travelled to Lyon to watch the Bocuse d'Or, the world’s most prestigious chef competition. I’ve represented UCB during a Royal visit from the Countess of Wessex and I’ve cooked for some amazing chefs at the British Culinary Federation dinner, including Brian Turner and Benoit Blin."
"Cooking for big organisations such as the British Culinary Federation has been the highlight of the course so far. It’s very rewarding to be part of such big events. I have taken an interest in food writing and journalism but for the time being I want to get as much experience as I can working in a fine dining or Michelin star kitchen."
Why maths and English are so important to your career
Achieving a good level of English and maths is important so that you can compete in today’s labour market and securing the career you’ve always wanted. Alongside your full-time course, students will continue to develop their English and maths skills. If you haven’t yet achieved grade 4 (grade C) in English and maths at 16 you will continue to study these by resits or by taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level.
Mathematics plays a vital role in the culinary arts, bakery and the food and beverage sectors.
- Measurement (including weighing) is an important in cooking/baking and serving food and drink properly. This applies in following a recipe or in serving alcohol in the correct measurements. There are many tools, such as measuring cups, measuring spoons and scales, which are used in food/drink preparation.
- Being able to read both temperature and time and make suitable adjustments in both is vital in food/drink preparation.
- Fractions are very important in recipes and determining serving sizes.
- Geometry is used by top chefs and bakers in the presentation of food and baking in order to make them aesthetically appealing.
- Nutritional data informs choices about health and the role of a balanced diet. This includes issues to do with calories, sugar, sodium and fat. This is important for those creating menus.
Maths is also central in successful stock management which is vital in running restaurant, bakeries and bars.
- Accurate spelling and a wide and specialist vocabulary are key in the presentation of quality menus
- Good quality Speaking and Listening skills are needed when communicating with colleagues
- Customer services skills require good English skills in speaking and written communication
- Accurate reading is a vital skill when following instructions and recipes
- Secure English is important when preparing a CV or a business proposal or when advertising/marketing your business
The University has a total of nine industry-standard training kitchens which are regularly used for prestigious chef competitions and demonstrations.
One of the UK’s top quality assurance organisations has described University College Birmingham as “one of the best, if not the best, catering colleges in the UK” in its assessment for two of the highest awards for colleges. Find out more about the College of Food's gold accreditations.
Teaching and assessment
There are regular practical tests to make sure you are on course. Theory is mainly assessed through assignments and short answer questions and recorded in your electronic portfolio.
Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.
Level 2 Chef
- Ideally, you will require a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade 3 (grade D) or above, or equivalent. However, our chef lecturers are looking for students who are enthusiastic and passionate about cooking, together with a keen determination to succeed in the hospitality industry, so please contact us if you have not achieved these grades.
- School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance.
- If you do not have a grade 4 (grade C) or above in English and maths and you are under 19, you will be required to complete an assessment so we can ensure you receive appropriate support. Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English
- Please note: Professional Cookery Level 1 is available if students require additional support.
Level 3 Chef
- To apply for Level 3 chef, you will need a relevant Level 2 qualification and, ideally, English and/or maths at grade 4 (grade C) or above.
- Alternatively, at least 2 years’ relevant work experience.
- If you do not have a grade 4 (grade C) or above in English and maths and you are under 19, you will be required to complete an assessment so we can ensure you receive appropriate support. Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.
Students are required to buy a uniform and a basic set of equipment. To help keep costs to a minimum, these items are available to buy through UCB. If you have any concerns about the cost of the uniform, please discuss this at your interview as we may be able to help.
What will I study?
- Prepare, Cook and Finish: Basic Fish Dishes; Meat dishes; Poultry Dishes; Dishes; and Vegetable Dishes
- Prepare, Cook and Finish: Basic Hot Sauces; Soups; Bread and Dough Products; Cold and Hot Desserts
- Food safety
Complex Skills and Techniques in Producing:
- Vegetarian Dishes
- Meat Dishes
- Patisserie and Fermented Products
- Desserts, Petits Fours and Decorative Products
* Level 1 Professional Cookery Diploma: We still have the option to provide the Level 1 diploma where this is considered to be a more appropriate course for students with additional support requirements.
Your study programme
In addition to your full-time course every student has an individual study programme which ensures that you develop the right skills and experience to progress onto either higher education or gain employment. What’s included in your individual study programme will vary depending on what you have already achieved and your career aspirations.
For example; if you haven’t yet achieved grade 4 (grade C) in English and maths at 16 you will continue to study these by resits or by taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level. Achieving a good level of English and maths is important so that you can compete in today’s labour market and securing the career you’ve always wanted.
Work placement will form an essential part of your individual study programme and all students will be expected to complete an appropriate work placement related to their full-time course.
To find out more about the work placement opportunities for this course, click on the ‘Work Placement’ tab above.
Work placement - College of Food
Alongside training in the University’s industry standard kitchens and superb restaurants, you will also gain additional experience on placements with opportunities available within hotels, restaurants, hospitals, conference and banqueting centre, artisan and craft bakeries, food manufacturers, patisserie and cake decoration outlets and in-store bakeries. College of Food placements are generally two to three weeks in duration. The reputation of UCB is such that many of our students are offered part-time employment following a successful placement.
A work placement not only gives you valuable experience, it also:
- Helps you to apply what you’re learning into practice
- It gives you a better understanding of how a company or organisation works
- Helps you to develop essential skills such as time management, social and communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team
- Enriches your CV
- Enhances a UCAS application and personal statement should you wish to progress to higher education
- Helps you to consider wider future employment opportunities
At UCB we have a specialised team of Employability Tutors based in hired@UCB (located on the 7th floor at Summer Row) who will provide you with the necessary skills in order to source a work placement.
If students are passionate about their career choice, work placements are vital.
A set of achievements, skills, understanding and personal attributes make a student more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupation, which benefits themselves and the work force.
This course opens up great career opportunities in all sectors of the industry from fine dining restaurants to gastro pubs. There are jobs in hotels and casual dining restaurants, in leisure and tourism, and the health and welfare sectors.
Alternatively, you can join the foundation degree in Culinary Arts Management. If you choose this option you will only have to study for a further two years (instead of three) to gain the qualification. You can also apply for other undergraduate courses at UCB.
The team at hired@UCB – our student placement and careers service – can help you with advice, information and guidance in finding a job. It can help you develop your work-related skills.
Based in new facilities on the 7th floor of our Summer Row campus, the hired@UCB team comprises specialist staff to help with:
- Careers advice and guidance
- Placements, work experience and volunteering
- Unitemps – UCB's recruitment agency
- Employer engagement
- Part-time and seasonal work
- Internships, apprenticeships and traineeships
- Alumni support
Find out more about hired@UCB services.
Read what our current students and alumni love about UCB and how we helped them begin their career in industry.
Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery (Preparation and Cooking)