The Commis Chef Apprenticeship is the starting point for a career as a professional chef. It is a formally structured two year education and training programme. The apprenticeship incorporates in-class and work-based knowledge and skills development with an approved hotel or restaurant kitchen

During the programme, apprentices will develop the underpinning theory, science and culinary skills in-class, refining and perfecting these competencies to a professional standard while working under the direction of qualified and experienced chefs in the kitchens of SOLAS approved hotels and restaurants


2 years – typically in-class Mondays and Tuesdays, on-the job work for 3 other days per week


To provide apprentices with:

The theoretical underpinning knowledge needed for practical competence in the role of commis chef

The ability to safely and effectively produce food, while observing food safety and hygiene standards and regulations

The ability to identify and resolve technical or business problems encountered (quality control)

Knowledge of a range of areas and theoretical concepts associated with producing food products, including the ability to apply knowledge, skills and competences in both familiar and unfamiliar working contexts

The fostering of the development of creativity and critical thought, and how to apply same to food innovation and product design

Knowledge of the structure and ethos associated with the chef craft and the wider industry within which it operates

Commercial awareness of market trends and technical developments in the industry

The ability to take responsibility for continuing professional development in order to keep up to date with new regulations and techniques

The conceptual and academic skills required to progress to Level 7 studies or to pursue further academic qualifications


Year 1 – Semester 1:

  • Health and safety
  • Culinary skills and standards
  • Larder
  • Classical cuisine
  • Basic pastry techniques
  • Applied nutrition for menu planning


Year 1 – Semester 2:

  • Computer essentials
  • Scientific principles and culinary technologies
  • Food and beverage service, international cookery and product development and innovation


Year 2 – Semester 3:

  • Foods safety
  • Volume food production
  • Global cuisine
  • Interpersonal skills
  • History and development of gastronomy and buffet skills


Year 2 – Semester 4:

  • Applied nutrition for menu design
  • Creative pastry techniques
  • Business practice for hospitality
  • Culinary entrepreneurship and culinary event


Demonstrate a broad knowledge of a wide range of Irish and International food commodities, cookery methods and processes, both contemporary and classical

Demonstrate an understanding of gastronomy and the role of food in society in the development of culinary arts

Demonstrate an understanding of a wide range of business discipline related knowledge appropriate to culinary operations

Demonstrate specialist knowledge of hospitality business principles and practices, including applications, within an entrepreneurial context

Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific principles, technologies and systems associated with food innovation and product development

Demonstrate knowledge of regulatory aspects related to Health and Safety and food hygiene

Recognise the effects that economic, social and environmental issues may have on their community of practice

Demonstrate a familiarity with employment and technology issues related to working in a culinary environment, together with an awareness of the other disciplines they may encounter in this environment

Demonstrate, with confidence and creativity, a wide range of advanced technical culinary skills producing a variety of dishes and patisserie products

Use market intelligence and research methodology to plan operations to take account of a variety of potential issues, both predictable and unpredictable, such as catering for specific dietary requirements, cultural/religious considerations, taking note of allergens, sourcing/availability of raw ingredients, waste management, costings, sustainability and energy consumption

Use information and communications systems within a range of contexts in relation to the proficient operation of a professional kitchen

Demonstrate autonomous practice and judgement both on-the-job and off-the-job relating to specified work roles and operational tasks, including producing culinary products/events and costings, implementing best practice in food safety in the workplace in line with the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), complying with relevant Health & Safety legislation, and operating in a business environment

Take personal responsibility for applying a comprehensive range of specialised knowledge, skills and tools to the production of quality culinary products, food and beverage services and related outputs, both on and off the job

Interact with and work alongside a variety of individuals and groups (in both on-the-job and off the-job environments). This will vary depending on the nature of the specific work based operation but in all contexts the apprentice will be required to demonstrate increasing levels of responsibility, including leading aspects of operational planning and live operations

Reflect on their performance in both on-the-job and off-the-job activities and tasks to identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement

Take personal responsibility for their own learning within a structured learning environment. The learner will, through practical activities and formative learning communities, provide learning support and guidance to other learners in the professional context. This will include, as appropriate, supporting others in identifying their learning needs as well as seeking guidance when working independently

Develop informed perspectives related to their personal and professional development which also take into account wider societal and environmental factors as appropriate to the culinary environment



Applicants must have acquired a minimum qualification placed at Level 4 on the National Framework of Qualifications, or have at least three years trade related experience. Assessment of trade related experience is by application to Kerry Education and Training Board.

  • Level 4 Award on the QQI National Framework of Qualifications
  • Level 3 Certificate on the European Qualifications Framework for holders of EU qualifications, with a minimum of 5 passes
  • The Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme is delivered through English. In the event that an apprentice has English as a second language, a B2 level of proficiency in English language is required

Mathematical proficiency is required:

  • Pass grade in Maths in a qualification placed at Level 3 on the National Framework of Qualifications
  • Pass grade in Maths in a certificate placed at EQF Level 2 for holders of EU qualifications


On successful completion of the Commis Chef Apprenticeship the newly qualified Commis Chef will receive a QQI Level 6 Major Award – Advanced Certificate in Culinary Arts


Apprentices are fully qualified to attain employment as a Commis Chef in the hospitality industry

Apprentices who successfully complete the Commis Chef Apprenticeship will be eligible to progress to the Chef de Partie Apprenticeship at QQI level 7