Life as a chef and food vlogger: Dominique's story

Meet Dominique, 22, from London, who has turned her cooking hobby into a career. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Dominique in the kitchen.
"I always had this thing where I wanted to delve into the deeper aspects of food."

What is your job?

I have two jobs – I’m a private chef and also a food vlogger. Fine dining is where my heart is but my blogging came from loving to cook for my family. I'm also studying at university.

What skills do you use in your work?

I’m learning about accounting and financing for my own business – how to jot down invoices, and how I need to budget. My English skills, knowing how to speak to people and how to write my emails, help me be professional.

What subjects did you study at school?

Secondary school was hard, as things at home were hard for me to juggle at the time, so I only got four GCSEs. My school luckily allowed me into sixth form, and I took that chance, studied hard, and I managed to do well in my BTEC and A-levels. Now I’m in my final year at university studying PR and Marketing.

What preparations did you make for your business?

I looked at what serious clients wanted, so I have my Level 2 Hygiene Certificate, and I also have my business insured. I did all that registration myself, and now I have my own card machine for clients to pay with.

Was it a smooth ride?

No, because I doubted myself a lot. I’ve only just come into loving myself and loving my career. Now I have a lot more confidence in my food, so I don’t doubt myself as much as I used to. I did the US version of the TV show Culinary Genius and won. It showed me I'm capable.

Dominique filming for her vlog.
Dominique filming for her vlog.

Top tips

  • Everyone’s road is different. It’s very easy to see what someone else is doing and compare yourself to that
  • It's normal to doubt yourself – you’ll grow in confidence over time.

What to expect if you want to be a chef

  • Chef salary: £13,000 to £50,000
  • Chef working hours: 40 to 45 hours per week. You may need to work evenings, weekends, and bank holidays.
  • Typical entry requirements: You could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in culinary arts or professional cookery. One way into the job is to take a college course, like a Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery or Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts. You can learn while you work by doing an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as a chef. You could also start work as a kitchen assistant or trainee 'commis' chef and work your way up while learning on the job, or you could apply for work with restaurants or catering companies.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

How I turned my hobby into a career
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