Order 5+ items to get access to our bulk discounts.

The Armed Forces Chef

Become a Royal Navy Chef: A Look at Armed Forces Catering Jobs

Have you ever considered a career that combines your passion for cooking with serving your country? Imagine the unique experiences and camaraderie that come with being a Royal Navy Chef. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the exciting world of armed forces catering jobs, covering everything from job requirements and training processes to career progression and real-life testimonials from those who have embarked on this fulfilling journey.

Short Summary

  • Become a Royal Navy Chef: A combination of culinary skills, teamwork and fitness required to join the 26-week training program with competitive salaries and allowances.

  • Responsible for providing nutritious meals while adhering to food safety standards in various working environments including ships, military bases and field kitchens.

  • Career progression opportunities through promotions or qualifications leading to greater job prospects in hospitality industry upon transition from service life.

Becoming a Royal Navy Chef

A Royal Navy Chef preparing food in a kitchen

Embarking on a career as a Royal Navy Chef means you’ll play a vital role in keeping the crew well-fed and energized. The job requires a unique combination of culinary skills, teamwork, and adaptability. To enter this field, candidates must have at least two GCSEs (grade G or above) in English and Maths. While previous catering training is advantageous, the military provides comprehensive training, including Level 2 City and Guilds NVQ in Food Preparation and Cooking and Level 3 in Kitchen Supervision.

Aside from the professional qualifications, physical fitness is a crucial aspect of becoming a Royal Navy Chef. Candidates must pass the Medical Risk Assessment and the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) to ensure they can handle the rigorous training and job demands.

Upon completion of the 26-week training program, a starting salary ranges between £17,000 and £18,000 per annum, with potential for advancement up to £33,100 with promotions.

Job Requirements

The role of a Royal Navy Chef comes with its challenges and responsibilities. Candidates must be British Nationals or possess Dual Nationality, and be between the ages of 16 to 39. Upon entry, the initial tour involves working in either Officers’, Sergeants’ or Junior Ranks’. Mess, producing high-quality food, consolidating training, and gaining invaluable experience. This hands-on experience allows chefs to develop their skills under pressure, preparing them for a wide range of locations and tours.

Royal Navy. Chefs must possess excellent teamwork skills, as they are often required to work closely with others to produce quality meals in challenging conditions. The role demands a strong sense of responsibility, as chefs must manage the entire process from ordering ingredients to ensuring food safety and hygiene.

In addition to these skills, chefs must also be prepared for extended absences from home and the physical demands of the job.

Training Process

The training process for aspiring Royal Navy Chefs takes place at the Food Services Training Wing at Worthy Down, covering a 14-week course. The course delves into essential topics such as maintaining hygiene standards, using kitchen equipment, and producing various dishes. Additionally, there is a 10-day training on setting up field kitchens, further expanding their skill set and adaptability.

Furthering their qualifications, Royal Navy Chefs can also pursue the Production Chef Intermediate Apprenticeship. This apprenticeship allows chefs to enhance their professional skills while continuing to work, providing a solid foundation for career growth and potential promotions in the future.

Benefits and Perks

Serving as a Royal Navy Chef offers numerous benefits and perks. A typical annual salary for a Royal Navy Chef is £22,000, with additional allowances. Apart from the financial rewards, joining the RAF as a chef also provides subsidized food, travel, accommodation, and free gym access.

The dedication and effort required in this role are rewarded with a stimulating and fulfilling work environment, fostering camaraderie, and team spirit.

Responsibilities of a Royal Navy Chef

A Royal Navy Chef cooking meals for a team of soldiers

As a Royal Navy Chef, you’ll have the crucial responsibility of ensuring that the crew is well-fed and satisfied with their meals. Your duties encompass meal preparation, menu planning, and maintaining food safety and hygiene.

By executing these tasks effectively, you’ll contribute significantly to the overall well-being and morale of the crew.

Meal Preparation

Creating meals for the crew is a primary responsibility for Royal Navy Chefs. Ensuring food safety and hygiene is of utmost importance when they prepare meals, to guarantee that the food is fit for consumption and reduces the likelihood of foodborne illnesses.

The satisfaction of providing a nutritious and delicious meal to the crew is one of the many rewards associated with this demanding yet fulfilling role.

Menu Planning

Menu planning is an essential aspect of a Royal Navy Chef’s duties. It involves creating appetizing menus that meet the dietary requirements of the crew, ordering, receiving, and accounting for provisions to sustain the menus, and ensuring that the food is prepared, cooked, and presented according to the needs of the customers and organizational standards. By considering dietary requirements in the planning process, you’ll ensure that the crew’s dietary needs are met and the food is safe for consumption.

The ordering, receiving, and accounting for provisions entail procuring the necessary ingredients and supplies to fulfill the menu’s demands, receiving the items, and then accounting for them to guarantee the correct quantity of items have been obtained. This meticulous process ensures that the meals are cost-effective and that the ingredients are accessible, allowing you to focus on creating delicious and nutritious meals for the crew.

Food Safety and Hygiene

A Royal Navy chef demonstrating proper food safety and hygiene practices in the kitchen.

Food safety and hygiene are paramount for a Royal Navy Chef. Ensuring that food production adheres to safety regulations and maintaining hygiene standards are crucial aspects of this role. By adhering to food safety regulations, you’ll guarantee that all food is stored and prepared appropriately, minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

To work in food safety and hygiene, a Royal Navy Chef must possess the necessary qualifications in food hygiene or food safety in catering. By following strict guidelines and procedures, you’ll ensure that the food you prepare is not only delicious, but also safe and compliant with the Royal Navy’s standards.

Working Environments for Royal Navy Chefs

A Royal Navy Chef working in a kitchen onboard a ship

Royal Navy. Chefs are employed in various settings, including onboard warships, on land operations, and in shore establishments. These diverse environments offer unique challenges and experiences, enabling chefs to continually develop their skills and adapt to different situations.

Whether you’re onboard a ship or stationed at a military base, your culinary expertise and dedication will play a vital role in maintaining the crew’s well-being.

Onboard Ships

Working as a Royal Navy Chef aboard a ship involves preparing meals in hot, busy, and pressured conditions. With the responsibility of providing culinary services to the ship’s company and Royal Marines on land operations, chefs must be prepared to work under the two-watch defense system during periods of tension or war. This demanding environment allows you to hone your skills, adaptability, and resilience while serving those who serve their country.

Onboard a ship, Royal Navy Chefs are responsible for providing meals for up to 900 individuals. This responsibility requires impeccable organization, time management, and creativity, ensuring that the crew receives the necessary sustenance to maintain their physical and mental well-being.

Military Bases

On military bases, Royal Navy Chefs work in military messes, preparing meals for personnel and providing catering services. The working environment may vary depending on the base’s location and the specific demands of the job.

Regardless of the setting, your culinary skills and commitment to delivering quality meals will play a crucial role in supporting the crew and personnel.

Field Kitchens

In field kitchens, Royal Navy Chefs are responsible for preparing meals for personnel and providing catering services, even in challenging conditions. They may be involved in in-flight catering production kitchens or setting up field kitchens during land operations.

This unique environment offers an opportunity to showcase your adaptability and versatility, ensuring that your culinary skills can rise to any challenge.

Career Progression and Opportunities

A Royal Navy Chef receiving a promotion and a new rank

As a Royal Navy Chef, you’ll have ample opportunities for career growth and professional development. Your progression in rank and responsibilities will depend on your leadership ability, experience, extra training, and the qualifications you gain throughout your career.

Whether you’re looking to advance within the Royal Navy or transition to civilian life, the skills and experiences you acquire will prove invaluable.

Promotions and Rankings

Promotion to higher ranks in the Royal Navy is achieved through competitive selection, with the potential to advance to the rank of Corporal and beyond. Trade Ability Tests (TATs) verify that an individual has attained a basic level of proficiency and are required for advancement to the rank of SAC. By demonstrating your skills, dedication, and leadership abilities, you’ll be well-positioned for career advancement.

For those with a flair for creativity and a passion for culinary excellence, the Royal Navy also offers opportunities to join the prestigious VIP Team, responsible for preparing meals for high-ranking officers, government ministers, and members of the Royal Family. This elite team showcases the highest level of culinary skill and professionalism, providing a unique opportunity for career growth and recognition.

Further Training and Qualifications

To further enhance your professional skills, the Royal Navy offers additional training and qualification opportunities, such as the Level 2 Production Chef Apprenticeship and the Level 3 Professional Cookery qualification. By pursuing these programs, you’ll strengthen your culinary expertise and increase your value within the organisation, ultimately opening doors to career advancement and promotions.

Transitioning to Civilian Life

For those who eventually decide to leave the Royal Navy, the transition to civilian life offers new opportunities to leverage the skills and experience gained during your service. Royal Navy. Chefs possess a variety of transferable skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork, which are highly valued by civilian organisations.

The Royal Navy provides support services to assist in the transition process, including career guidance, job search assistance, and financial advice. By investing time in researching civilian job roles, networking with potential employers, and utilising the support offered by the Royal Navy, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a new chapter in the hospitality industry or related fields.

Testimonials from Royal Navy Chefs

Hearing directly from those who have experienced the life of a Royal Navy Chef provides valuable insights into the challenges, rewards, and unique experiences that come with this extraordinary career path. From the high-pressure environments of ship kitchens to the satisfaction of serving delicious meals to hard-working crew members, these testimonials offer a glimpse into the reality of life as a Royal Navy Chef.

The job of a Royal Navy Chef is demanding and rewarding in equal measure. It requires a great deal of skill, dedication, and hard work, but the rewards are immense. Not only do you get to travel the world, but you also get to serve up food.

Challenges and Rewards

One such testimony comes from AB (Catering Services) Molly Rowe, who competed in Exercise Joint Caterer, a contest for the navy’s youngest cooks to showcase their skills, including mixing cocktails and mocktails.

Molly reported that participating in the competition greatly increased her confidence and described the experience as “spectacular”.

Unique Experiences

For Royal Navy Chefs, opportunities to travel and gain familiarity with various ingredients and cuisines are abundant. These unique experiences not only enrich their culinary repertoire, but also contribute to their personal growth and adaptability, further enhancing their value in the organisation.

Other Armed Forces with Chef Jobs

The British Armed Forces, including the British Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy, all provide chef positions. Each armed force has its specific requirements, training processes, and benefits, offering a variety of opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in military catering and hospitality.


In conclusion, the role of a Royal Navy Chef offers a unique and rewarding career path, demanding exceptional culinary skills, adaptability, and dedication. From rigorous training and diverse working environments to career progression opportunities and transitioning to civilian life, the journey of a Royal Navy Chef is filled with challenges, growth, and the satisfaction of serving those who serve their country. If you’re ready to embark on this extraordinary adventure, the Royal Navy awaits your talents.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do Royal Navy chefs get paid?

Royal Navy. The typical Royal Navy Chef salary is £28,559 annually, with salaries ranging from £15,896 – £55,000 depending on experience and other factors.

With these generous wages, Royal Navy Chefs are well rewarded for their hard work and dedication.

What do you call a Chef in the Navy?

A Chef in the Navy is referred to as a Catering Chef and they work with a logistics department to cook, plan, prepare and serve meals onboard ships, at Navy bases and ashore.

Chefs can also operate and manage Navy messes and dining facilities, providing hospitality and meal services to entire Navy bases and ships.

Where do chefs train for the Royal Navy?

Chefs in the Royal Navy train for 10 weeks at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. This is where they learn the foundational discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills that will benefit them throughout their career.

By starting their journey here, chefs are set up for success in the Royal Navy.

What is an Army chef called?

As a member of the Armed Forces, an Army chef is also called a Catering Chef This position focuses on preparing food for Soldiers, both while in the field or on military bases.

An Army chef works alongside professional chefs to ensure high quality meals are enjoyed by all members of the Army.