Learn how to structure and write a winning chef CV

Being a chef is technical in every way, from skills to lingo. You might know your crème anglaise from your bavarois, but do you know how to write a CV for a chef job and show off your impeccable skill set in the right way?

Whether you're looking for a head chef, sous chef, chef de partie or commis chef position, this CV writing guide will help you write a CV for all culinary roles, along with an example chef CV to show you the tips in action too.

How to structure a chef CV

While all CVs can be flexible in structure and format to complement your unique skill set and career path, there are some fundamentals that recruiters expect to see, which include:

  • Name, professional title, and contact details

  • Personal profile

  • Key skills

  • Employment history

  • Education and qualifications 

If you are starting out in your career and are applying for a commis chef position, you could add a hobbies section at the end of your CV to highlight any personal interests or achievements related to the field, such as your food blog.

It's not commonplace to add 'references available on request' at the end of a CV anymore, as the reference process is a given with any job application.

How to format a chef CV

Formatting and spacing on your chef CV are as important as the content.

The length of your CV is important. Typically, a CV is no longer than two pages, but it can span three pages if you are at a Head Chef or Executive Chef level. If you are starting your career, a one-page CV is also acceptable.

Headings are crucial, and this is because recruiters tend to scan CVs. Using big, bold headings for each section will signpost them easily.

Font size and type is also a consideration. Font size should be approximately 10 to 12 points for paragraphs and 14 to 18 for headings, and you can adjust the margins of the document to help you fit the contents of your CV neatly onto two pages. Font type should be clean, contemporary and easy on the eye to aid readability.

How to write a personal profile for a chef CV

A personal profile is a short paragraph of three or four sentences that offers an overview of:

  • Who you are

  • What you can offer the company or organisation

  • What you specialise in or your area of expertise

Despite its brevity, this paragraph is a powerful component of your chef CV as it's the only place you have an opportunity to offer a flavour of you as a person and persuade the recruiter to keep reading. It's your elevator pitch and the first impression you'll make on the reader.

Your personal profile must be tailored to the chef position you are applying for. As a result, in the 'what you can offer the company or the organisation' part, consider what is most relevant to the role. For example, it could be the company or sectors you've worked within, such as commercial kitchens, it could be your level of experience, your qualifications, or even the cuisines or sections you're well versed in.

How to write work experience for a chef CV

When detailing your work experience, start with your most recent position and work backwards. This is because your latest role is likely to be the pinnacle of your career to date and the most accurate representation of you as a professional. 

Each position of employment should be structured with your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a summary of the role. Then bullet point your responsibilities and key achievements, supported with impactful verbs and tangible evidence that proves your value. 

The more recent the role, the more depth you should add to it. Reduce the detail as you work backwards through your career history as a chef, and if you have roles older than 10 years, delete or summarise them.

And remember, cherry-pick the skills that are most relevant to the vacancy, and tailor your CV to each application.

How to write education and qualifications for a chef CV

Education and qualifications should also be listed in reverse chronological order for the same reasons. List the name of the institution, the date the qualification was awarded, plus the name and level of the qualification and the grade you achieved, if applicable.

As a chef, it's likely you'll have particular awards and certificates too, such as food hygiene. Don't forget to add these as they are often vital for a chef job.

Example of a chef CV

Below is a sample of a chef CV that showcases common experience, skills and qualifications and demonstrates how to structure the CV. TopCV example of Chef CV preview

Writing a CV for a chef job is simple once you have an understanding of CV structure and formatting principles. However, if you're uncertain whether you've highlighted your skills in the best way possible, a free CV review will help you land your next chef role. 

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