Jun 24, 2024

Chefs and cooks work in a variety of settings, from hotels to restaurants and luxury cruise ships.

Are you a foreign trained cook or chef? Do you love the idea of working for restaurants or hotels?

Cooks and chefs may be able to find jobs in remote and touristic areas of BC as well as in the middle of the city. Many love these jobs because they love food or care about people’s nutrition and well-being, or love growing vegetables and using fresh produce. Some love the mobility they provide and the opportunity to work in places like Whistler, Victoria, Banff or Jasper and enjoy all the perks of a tourist-oriented location.

Chefs are usually the higher step in a cook’s career path. However, many cooks may not want to become a chef. The difference between both is the amount of responsibility and creativity. Chefs usually lead and train staff (including cooks) and need to be knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of service such as: hotels, resorts, restaurants, cruises or ships and/or catering services settings.

Neither cooks nor chefs require to carry a certification or designation to work in B.C., however many employers may prefer one to ensure you understand and follow high standards, and for those internationally trained this is highly recommended.
Chefs and cooks who go for the Red Seal certification have also more mobility, meaning they can work across all Canada without going through further certifications.


Cooks levels go from 1 to 3. Cooks can either take a Professional Cook 3 apprenticeship program or may challenge the Industry Training Authority (ITA) certificate of qualification (at any level depending on hours of experience).

To challenge the ITA certification you need to provide proof of at least 1,000 documented hours of directly related experience (2,000 hours for level 2 and 5,000 hours for level 3, Red Seal). There is a $120 fee plus tax to challenge the certification and to pass an exam and practical assessment. The assessment costs range between $350-$500. The exam needs to be taken and passed within 12 months of approval of the challenging process.  

Apprenticeship programs take about two years to complete and are recommended for people who have no experience or require further training. Apprenticeship programs range in cost depending on educational institution providing the training and whether the employer supports you in this.

For more information on this, check the go2HR website here (where you may also find jobs!): https://www.go2hr.ca/training/apprenticeships/apprenticeship-and-certification-programs/how-challenge-cook-credential

The ITA website has all the documentation and steps for each level:


The highest designations for chefs are the CCC (Certified Chef de Cuisine) and the CMC (Certified Master Chef) designations through the Canadian Culinary Institute.
To start your application as either CCM or CMC, you will need to prepare: A detailed resume with work experience and positions dating back a minimum of 8 years; a scanned copy of a certificate of qualification; a scanned copy of a current Food Handlers Certificate and a scanned copy of an employer's letter confirming your employment positions for the past 5 year

The minimum requirements for CCC include:
• Minimum 5 years as a cook/chef in a supervisor capacity (exec. or head chef, sous-chef, chef de partie, kitchen manager).
• Has completed trade certification as an Inter-Provincial Journeyman Cook; OR has attained Canadian or International, Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in food service management, culinary art sciences or hotel management domains OR a minimum of 8 years practical supervisory positions. 
• Provide signed employer letterheads outlining positions served in the past 5 years of employment
• Provide a copy of current Food Safe Handlers certification
• Provide a detailed resume outlining a minimum of 5 years of industry work experience.

The application costs $750 for CCFCC members

The CMC Certification requires:
• Canadian Red Seal certification or the international equivalent.
• 8 years post red seal experience including 5 years in a supervisory capacity.
• A CCI –  Certified Chef de Cuisine designation or international equivalent.
• HACCAP Levels 1 and 2
• A Valid food handlers certificate.
• A current resume highlighting work experience for the previous 8 years.
• A letter from current employer pledging support.
• A letter from the applicant describing his / her reasons for seeking a Certified Master Chef designation.

The CMC has a cost of $1,250 for CCFCC members and may take at least two years to complete.

If you were a chef in your country, you may want to start by becoming a member of the federation (http://ccfcc.ca/ ) which will allow discounts in training and attendance to networking events that will help you find employment. Membership fees and types will depend on years of experience, designation and other factors and range from $30 to $115.

Silvia Di Blasio Argentinian born Silvia Di Blasio is a Certified Career Counsellor, Life Coach and an immigrant herself. With a passion for sustainability, food security and resilient communities, Silvia shares her time and skills through diverse projects including writing, blogging, facilitating workshops, coaching and consulting. Silvia works as a Case Manager helping immigrants to get back to their pre-landing occupations at the Career Paths Program at ISSofBC.

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