What are the different chef tiers?

different chef careers

So you want to take your love for cooking to the next level, turning into a fully fledged career? 

Luckily, there is a demand for this creative type of work.

And thanks to Skills First Funding, eligible students can study for FREE in Victoria, with courses preparing them to take on sectors that are in high demand for skilled workers. 

This week, we’re taking a closer look at some of the main roles you may find yourself filling within a kitchen or other hospitality establishment.

What are examples of professional careers within food service?

Thinking about a career in food service?

Most food service positions fall under the categories of cookerly, patisserie, or hospitality, and in this blog post, we will focus on the two former.

Cookery is generally what you’d study if you want to be a chef or work in a kitchen, whereas you might like to focus more specifically on patisserie if you want to pursue being a pâtissier line chef in a kitchen or if you want to work, manage, or run your own bakery.

What are the different types of cooks?

When considering what path you want to take in your culinary career, you need to consider what chef position appeals to you.

You will generally work your way to the top and will therefore experience most positions if you want to become a head chef eventually.

From the starting position to the highest position, we outline the various chef roles.

Kitchen assistant

When you’re looking for an opportunity to start in the kitchen, you generally begin by becoming a kitchen assistant.

The role of a kitchen assistant is essential in helping with food preparation, undertaking tasks such as peeling, washing, organising, and storing food ingredients and food equipment.

Line cook

Since most commercial kitchens have multiple stations where different parts of a menu are prepared, these stations often need their own leaders. A line cook is someone in charge of a particular section who manages several cooks under it.

Line cooks are also known as chef de partie or a station chef. Here are two examples of a line cook:

Patisserie chef

The patisserie chef or pâtissier is the line cook for pastries, bread, desserts, and any other baked sweets.

If you’re wondering how to be a bakery chef, we invite you to learn more about our patisserie courses, the Certificate III and Certificate IV in Patisserie.


A saucier or sauté chef is another line chef who, as the name suggests, is in charge of making flavoursome and creative sauces.


The sous-chef is second-in-command to the head chef.

Since head chefs are very busy overseeing an array of tasks and people, the sous-chef is often responsible for reporting to the head chef as well as other important tasks including  meal presentation and assisting other chefs.

Head chef

Next up in the hierarchy, we find the chef de cuisine – the head chef. 

Chef de cuisines are the head of all the line chefs and are in charge of the entire kitchen.

The head chef will be in charge of the overall hiring process and be responsible for maintaining health and safety protocols, as well as the provisioning of ingredients and supplies.

Executive chef

Most of the time the head chef will also be the executive chef, but often in larger kitchens, there will be two separate positions.

In these circumstances, the executive chef will be in charge of organising what will be included in the menu and the recipes behind them. 

Some duties of executive chefs may overlap with the manager of the establishment, such as the overarching menu and cuisine as well as the restaurant’s ambiance and aesthetic.

Can you make a living as a chef?

You can with a little help from Academia!

Academia offers a range of patisserie and cooking courses to help you achieve your culinary dreams.

Cookery courses

Academia offers two commercial cookery courses in Brisbane and Melbourne to help you achieve your unique goals.

Certificate III in Commercial Cookery – SIT30816

Start a career in commercial cookery by learning the practical culinary skills and knowledge needed to succeed with the Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery.

Learn the basic art of cooking, including:

  • Food preparation techniques
  • Food safety practices
  • Meeting special dietary requirements

Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery – SIT40516

If you want to lead a team, manage a restaurant or cafe, or open up your own establishment, then continue from Certificate III into Certificate IV.

This course prepares you for all the necessary knowledge and experience beyond the kitchen, including management, finance, and marketing.

Patisserie courses

Interested in baking courses in Brisbane or Melbourne?

Certificate III in Patisserie – SIT31016

The Cert III in Patisserie teaches you how to create incredible masterpieces in a commercial kitchen.

Apply critical skills in communication, teamwork, hygiene, and safe food practices upon successful completion of this course. 

Certificate IV in Patisserie – SIT40716

Learn the essential skills that you need to lead and manage a team throughout the hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, resorts, or even for your own business with the Certificate IV in Patisserie.

Want more information? Get in touch with Academia today

Contact our career advisors using any of the outlets below – we would love to hear from you and help you take that first step towards a fantastic career in the hospitality industry.