Level 2, Level 3 Diploma

Course Level

Level 2, Level 3


1 year full-time per level


Included in course




View Fees

Birmingham College of Food
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Global reputation within the industry for food-related courses

Train in industry-standard kitchens to support your future career opportunities

Do you dream of becoming a professional chef? Well-trained chefs are in strong demand, with big promotion prospects for those who demonstrate commitment and flair for the job. From working in fine dining restaurants to event catering, our Professional Cookery college course will give you the practical skills and knowledge for a range of careers in the catering and foodservice industries.

University College Birmingham is internationally renowned for our chef training and catering courses, with an experienced team of expert chef lecturers and excellent professional kitchen facilities for you to hone your culinary skills. Our Level 2 course introduces you to key food preparation and cookery skills, while the Level 3 course builds on your culinary foundations to take your cooking to a higher level with more complex techniques and dishes, preparing you either to start your career or move onto a university degree.

Our chef college courses focus on developing your hands-on practical skills, and you’ll have the opportunity to put them to the test both on campus and out in the industry. As well as training in our industry-standard kitchens and restaurant, you’ll gain additional real-world experience on placements, working anywhere from hotels and restaurants to cafes and food manufacturers.

Note: Professional Cookery Level 1 is available if students require additional support.

Former Professional Cookery student Dan Lee (Pictures: Shine TV)

Student stories: MasterChef champion Dan Lee

By taking our Professional Cookery diploma, you can follow in the footsteps of ex-student Dan Lee, champion of MasterChef: The Professionals 2021.

Dan, who studied our Level 2 course, was dubbed a "star in the making" by the show's judge and Michelin-starred restaurant owner Marcus Wareing.

There have also been a string of other students from our Professional Cookery course to have featured on the hit BBC TV show, including 2017 semi-finalist Leo Kattou of Michelin-starred Simpson's Restaurant in Birmingham, as well as 2011 finalist Claire Hutchings.

Discover more about Dan and our other MasterChef stars:

Read more

Why choose this college course?

  • PRACTICAL APPLICATION – Our course is all about learning by doing, getting you straight into the kitchen to develop your cookery skills
  • WORK PLACEMENT – Give your CV a huge boost by gaining real-life work experience in the food industry during your course
  • EXCELLENT FACILITIESOur industry-standard kitchen and restaurant facilities on campus will help boost your confidence working in the food and hospitality environment
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to continue your learning journey after college? Progress your culinary training to degree level on our wide range of university food courses
There are lots of reasons why we think you should study with us, but here are our top 5. View video.

Our facilities

University College Birmingham is renowned for its outstanding food industry training facilities. To help you achieve your chef qualifications, you will have access to our professional standard kitchens and our award-winning restaurant on campus.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

  • Basic fish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes
  • Bread and dough products, soups and basic hot sauces
  • Food safety
  • Patisserie and fermented products
  • Desserts, petits fours and decorative products

Please note: Units/topics of study are subject to change

You will also have an individual study programme to help you build the skills and experience you need to progress onto higher education or gain employment.

Maths and English

To help you secure your dream career, you will also continue developing your maths and English skills alongside your full-time course. If you haven’t achieved GCSE grade 4/C in English and maths at age 16, you will continue to study these through resits or taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level.

How maths will support your career

  • Making measurements in following recipes and in serving food and drink properly
  • Using fractions for recipes and serving sizes
  • Making adjustments for time and temperature in food and drink preparation
  • Handling nutritional data to inform choices about health and balanced diet while creating menus
  • Enhancing presentation of dishes using geometry

How English will support your career

  • Using accurate spelling and specialist vocabulary for presenting quality menus
  • Developing good speaking and listening skills for communicating with colleagues and customers
  • Improving your reading accuracy when following instructions and recipes
  • Enhancing your CV or advertising your business with the correct use of English

Entry requirements

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 Admissions if you do not have the specific requirements outlined below.

If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919, email or use our live chat.

Professional Cookery Level 1

Academic requirements

  • Entry Level 3 in English (Language or Literature) and maths are desirable for entrance. Admissions will be administered on an individual application basis.
  • This course level is available for students who require additional support.

Guaranteed progression option

Students who achieve Level 1 Professional Cookery and receive approval from the University College Birmingham teaching team will be permitted to progress onto Level 2 Professional Cookery.

Professional Cookery Level 2

Academic requirements

4 GCSEs at grade 3/D or above, or equivalent.

Supporting documents required

  • School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.
  • If you are a school leaver (over 19), you will be required to provide a reference from a previous education provider or employer in support of your application.

Guaranteed progression option

Students who achieve Level 2 Professional Cookery and receive approval from the University College Birmingham teaching team will be permitted to progress onto Level 3 Professional Cookery.

Professional Cookery Level 3

Academic requirements

  • A relevant Level 2 qualification in Professional Cookery or Chef
  • GCSE English (Language or Literature) and maths at grade 4/C are desirable for entrance but not essential.

Work experience admissions pathway

2 years’ relevant chef industry experience. Admissions will be based on your interview performance alongside a reference stating the roles and responsibilities held during your period of employment.

Supporting documents required

School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.

Guaranteed progression option

Students who achieve Level 3 Professional Cookery will be automatically guaranteed an offer for Culinary Arts Management FdA and Professional Chef FdA. Student who wish to study other degree courses at University College Birmingham will need to contact for further advice and guidance on suitability.

English and maths

If you do not have a grade 4/C or above in English and maths and you are under 19, you will be required to study these subjects alongside your vocational subject. After enrolment you will complete an assessment with our teaching team so we can ensure you receive appropriate English and maths support.

Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve a pass for this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a foundation degree course at University College Birmingham.

Key information

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 2021-2024.

Uniform and kit costs

This course requires a uniform and kit costing approximately £250, depending on the items you purchase. (Prices are subject to change each year – exact costs and information on how to order required items will be provided to you prior to enrolment.)

You may be eligible for the Learner Support Fund, which assists college students with course-related costs such as essential uniform, equipment and travel. For more information, please visit our Financial Support for College Students page.

Latest updates

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UCB Food Courses



of graduate employers say relevant experience is essential to getting a job with them

Work placements

Work placements offer a wealth of benefits alongside your studies, helping you put your learning into practice, develop your skills and understanding of the workplace, boost your CV for your chosen career or enhance your UCAS application for higher education. Our Hired employability team can help find the ideal placement for you.

Students on our college cookery courses have opportunities for placements in hotels, restaurants, conference centres, cafes, food manufacturers, patisserie outlets and even hospitals. Placements can last from 70 – 350 hours depending on the level of study, with many of our past students subsequently being offered part-time jobs.

Work alongside experts in your sector

A snapshot of some of the employers we have worked with:

  • The Belfry (Sutton Coldfield)
  • Simpsons Restaurant (Birmingham)
  • Malmaison (Birmingham)
  • Anderson's Bar and Grill (Birmingham)
  • Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club (Warwickshire)

I had the most rewarding three years of my life here. I travelled to Lyon to watch the Bocuse d'Or, the world’s most prestigious chef competition, represented the college during a royal visit from the Countess of Wessex and cooked for some amazing chefs, including Brian Turner and Benoit Blin.

Ryan Sharpe Level 3 Professional Cookery

Career opportunities

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Sous chef

Average salary: £30,000 - £40,000

Head chef

Average salary: £35,000 - £50,000

Catering manager

Average salary: £22,000 - £45,000

Pastry chef

Average Salary: £21,682

Food business owner/restaurateur


Product development chef

Average salary: £25,000 - £40,000

Aspiring to a higher level career? Complete this course and you could progress onto our Culinary Arts Management degree.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Dan’s Story

Within 11 years of leaving Birmingham College of Food, Dan Lee was lifting TV’s coveted MasterChef: The Professionals trophy.

Read Story

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