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What Does a Kitchen Assistant Do

Candidate Advice

What Does a Kitchen Assistant Do

What Does a Kitchen Assistant Do

Assisting with the day-to-day running of a busy kitchen is a great stepping stone for kickstarting a culinary career. You’ll gain valuable experience within the kitchen, as well as basic safety, cleanliness, and cooking skills. Offering a wealth of opportunities for career progression and high salaries in the future, there’s so much more to being a kitchen assistant than first meets the eye.

Discover everything there is to know about being a kitchen assistant, including key responsibilities and duties, and the skills and qualifications required to succeed in the role.

What are the Duties of a Kitchen Assistant?

A kitchen assistant, also known as a kitchen porter, works under the supervision of a chef or kitchen supervisor. Kitchen assistants can be full time or part time and they typically work in hotels, restaurants, and other catering establishments. The overall role of a kitchen assistant is to help with the daily running of a culinary workspace, ensuring that kitchens are kept clean and can operate efficiently. You’ll need to follow strict health and safety procedures, as well as standard food hygiene practices.

Typical duties of a kitchen assistant include:

  • Using culinary equipment such as mixers, mincers, knives and cutters
  • Washing, peeling and chopping fruit and vegetables
  • Cutting meat, skinning and gutting fish, and plucking poultry
  • Preparing starters, salads, desserts and beverages
  • Serving food and assisting chefs with any other meal preparation tasks
  • Reviewing inventory and ordering food items
  • Unloading deliveries and organising the stockroom
  • Checking best before dates and rotating stock
  • Cleaning kitchen appliances, workstations and floors
  • Organising and putting away kitchen equipment and utensils
  • Correctly disposing of any general kitchen waste and other rubbish

What Skills Does a Kitchen Assistant Need?

Various skills and knowledge are required to become a successful kitchen assistant. These include:

  • Excellent understanding of food hygiene
  • Awareness of general health and safety procedures
  • Good food preparation skills
  • Knowledge of basic culinary ingredients
  • Exceptional communication and listening skills
  • The ability to work as part of a kitchen team
  • Strong attention to detail
  • High levels of stamina
  • Good time management skills
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment

What Qualifications Does a Kitchen Assistant Need?

You do not usually need formal qualifications to become a kitchen assistant, however, education to at least GCSE level is preferred by most employers. Basic numeracy and writing skills are also beneficial to the role. Some employers may ask for a Level 1 award in a relevant culinary subject, such as Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry, Professional Cookery, or Food Safety

Training is usually received on the job, with a possible day out of work per week to study for relevant cookery or food safety qualifications. Kitchen assistants with a good amount of job experience may then be promoted to a trainee chef.

How Much Do Kitchen Assistants Get Paid?

According to Indeed, the average salary for a kitchen assistant in the UK is £8.75 per hour. Salaries can vary depending on location, experience, and workplace demands. 

The starting pay for a kitchen assistant is usually based around the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW) set by the UK government. As of 1st April 2024, the National Minimum Wage is £6.40 per hour for those under 18, £8.60 per hour for 18-20 year olds, and £11.44 per hour for over 21s. With some experience, a kitchen assistant’s salary may rise.

Secure Your Next Role as a Kitchen Assistant

If you’re hoping to secure an exciting new role in the culinary industry as a kitchen assistant, the friendly team at RE Recruitment can help. Simply get in touch via 01242 505400 or today to gain access to all our latest job vacancies.

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