PrincipalHotel
breakfast buffet

Chefs

Welcome

Welcome to our careers page, whether you’re just starting as a kitchen apprentice or you’re an experienced Executive Chef, we are the right company for you with over 50 stunning Hotels & venues around the UK.

Our kitchens are a fantastic learning environment as no two days are the same. You may be catering for a conference lunch of 1000 or a bespoke 7 course dinner for 24; the attention to detail is paramount to give our guests the best experience.

Our local and national suppliers are some the best in the industry. The core raw ingredients with great provenance are a clear focus for each kitchen to create some amazing seasonal dishes and our chefs and kitchen team are championed for the daily ‘chef recommends’ menus.

Our first class training and development facilities include our own state of the art development kitchen based at De Vere Horwood Estate in Milton Keynes, from chef academies with NVQ level 2 & 3 qualifications through to Head Chef workshops, we have a range of courses to develop and enhance your career.

Cranage Chef

Training Academy & Development Kitchen

We have a fantastic Training Academy and Development Kitchen within the group that we use for our test menus and Chef Academy Courses. As a colleague you will have access to the following levels of academy training: Foundation and Intermediate.

Our Chef Academy Programmes was established to attract new chefs and develop our existing Commis Chefs and Chef de Parties to develop their skills base to a supervisory level. As part of the programme we work closely with our suppliers, visiting Billingsgate Market or local farms to pick your own vegetables to understand the importance of serving seasonal dishes. We also feature practical demonstrations and ‘Masterclasses’ bringing students and specialists within the industry together to learn new skills.

Any Chef worth their salt wants to be at the cutting edge of their trade and we can help you to progress faster and further in your career. The Chef Academy is all about delivering new skills, providing training and development to our chefs through the use of an industry recognised qualification, with the end goal of having fully qualified and confident chefs at Chef de Partie or Junior Sous levels.

If you can’t see a Chef job in the location you are looking for, please sign up to our job alerts.

Some of the benefits you could enjoy are:

Academy Programmes

We currently have two Academy programmes available:

Foundation Level

The foundation level is ideal for Commis Chefs looking to progress onto the next level; it is also perfect for school leavers or individuals with limited experience to achieve a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery.

Do you meet our requirements?

We are looking for people with:

  • An interest in cooking
  • Career aspirations to learn and develop kitchen skills
  • Practical experience within a kitchen environment or qualifications in food technology or home economics at GCSE level or equivalent
  • Flexibility on location – ability to work at other properties for training experience
  • Good English communication skills, both written and oral

Intermediate Level

The Intermediate level is available for Chefs who have achieved their level 2 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery qualification. We aim to attract both external and internal candidates to an 18 month programme, to gain a level 3 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery qualification, and move up from a Commis Chef/Chef de Partie to a Junior Sous level.

Do you have what it takes?

Our talent selection criteria:

  • NVQ level 2 or equivalent in cookery
  • Career aspirations to learn and develop kitchen skills
  • Work experience in a similar kitchen environment (fresh prep)
  • Flexibility on location – ability to work at other properties for training purposes
  • Level 2 food hygiene essential, basic H&S desirable
  • Good English communication skills, both written and oral
  • Numerical aptitude
  • IT literate

Our Restaurants and Bars

We have kitchens, restaurants and brilliant brigades in all of our properties; from city centre hotels to venue only space. Whatever you are looking for in your next role, as a group we will be able to offer you that next step. And beyond…

Principal Brilliant Bars & Restaurants

We have some truly amazing restaurants throughout our Principal division. All our menus have locally influenced menus with locally sourced products, generously created on property by our distinctive chefs.

Each one of our restaurants has a slightly different look and feel, whether you are at The Printing Press in Edinburgh or The Refectory in York.

From smoked wood pigeon to Josper grilled Buccleuch rib eye, The Principal York has created a menu that makes the most of seasonal Yorkshire produce to delight our guests.

Head Chef Colin Flemming at The Printing Press restaurant within The Principal Edinburgh George Street, has created a distinctly generous menu utilising local products such as Stornoway sausage roll, the highly rated “Mince and Tatties” to Sourdough loaded with Abernethy butter.

De Vere Food & Drink

We have brilliant menus across our restaurant and bars, which use a rich mix of fresh, seasonal food. Executive Chefs and their property brigades are able to be innovative by creating daily specials.

In all of our restaurants our Executive Chefs create with their brigade, deliver healthy food through balanced seasonal menus that reflect the local market and meet the needs of our customers. Whether they are looking for a favourite burger, comforting Gloucestershire Old Spot sausages or perhaps to try our “Catch of the Day” we can provide all of these in our fully equipped kitchens.

Working Here

What our collegues say about working here

Don’t just take it from us, we have included some great blogs so you can find out what it is really like to work here…

  • Gillian - Head Chef

    Wotton food and drink

    Television has a lot to answer for when it comes to the portrayal of working in a kitchen. From documentaries like Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, they portray the extremes; from clean and organised kitchens sending out plates of great food to messy, chaotic and poor food being served by rude shouting Chef’s.

    The reality, in the main is different.  And until you have worked in a busy kitchen you will never understand how much goes on behind the scenes with a huge amount of preparation and organisation needed to produce that wonderful looking plate of food. And don’t forget all the law and legislation requirements around Food Safety/Allergens and Health and Safety that are in place to ensure that on a day to day basis the kitchen is running safely and effectively.

    Another common myth is that all Executive Chefs are male, who are larger than life with a grumpy attitude, quite happy being back of house and only engaging with customers if they really have. This is just not always the case, as they say the proof is in the pudding and I love going out to meet customers especially if I am not what they expect. Women and men both make great Executive Chefs.

    However one truth is that starting out in this business has it’s challenges and you need to quickly realise that you have to speak out to be heard. It can be loud, pressurised, extremely busy and often tense but it’s key to work together despite the pressure.

    Your days, weeks and months will all merge into one, you’ll forget the hours that you have worked, the lunches or evening meals that you haven’t eaten and before you know it will be turkey and sprout season again but that’s real hospitality and I wouldn’t have it any other way for lots of reasons: one of the main being part of a team, pulling together and becoming like a second family.

    And what a diverse team and job roles you will find in each kitchen, each one critical to the success of the kitchen and the quality of the food produced.   Take for example the Kitchen Porter who I consider to the most integral part of the team. They are the hard core cleaners who ensure that chefs have clean equipment when they need it and preparation areas are always clean, tidy and ready to be used.  Without their commitment Chefs could not operate effectively, no food would be served and it would be a dirty unorganised kitchen.

    So with long hours, less social life, busy service, why do people not throw in their whites? Because there is so much satisfaction in working as a team to produce great food that brings pleasure to so many people.  I love what I do and I am extremely proud of where I have got to especially becoming a Head Chef by the time I was 30 years old.

    And whilst the path has occasionally been bumpy there is nothing better than having a team around me, coaching and developing them to be the best they possibly can be.

  • Craig - Chef

    What made you want to become a chef?

    I have a twin brother who wanted to be an engineer and I didn’t want to follow the same career path. As I’d done cookery at school and enjoyed it I decided to go a catering college in Birmingham. Once there I found it was on a different level from what I had previously done before. The passion coming from the lecturers and the lectures I attended only affirmed what a great career I had chosen and they are a lasting memory. I got to cook things I’d never seen before and learn new skills.

    Where did you start your career?

    I finished college on Friday and started working at Birmingham Airport Hotel on Monday as a commis for Trusthouse Forte.

    After three months, I transferred to a Post House Hotel in Aviemore, Scotland. This is where I put the principles that I had learned at college and work into practice in a Partie system kitchen. I learned how to cook quantities, TDH and a la carte menus and how to organise myself. I also had the opportunity to work with some fantastic local Scottish produce.

    Who has been your biggest career inspiration to date?

    Whilst working in Scotland I was selected to do a stage at Le Notre, a catering training school just outside Paris. I spent six weeks there studying plated food techniques and reduction sauces as part of the Nouvelle Cuisine style that was taking over from the old style of cooking.

    I then transferred to a small hotel in Chipperfield in Hertfordshire where the chef “Steven Carr” was practicing this style of cooking. My time here really helped me develop as a chef and put what I had learned in France into practice. He taught me about flavours, marrying ingredients together, use of fresh produce, seasons and presentation.

    I also admire Brendon McGee whom I worked with at Cheltenham for his management style. Always calm and disciplined which carried over into the whole kitchen when under pressure.

    What is your favourite type of food to cook?

    At home Italian food – lots of robust flavours which are easy to prepare. At work – fresh fish which I receive on a daily basis.

    Where do you see your career in 5 years’ time?

    I really enjoy working for the Principal Hotel Company. And with the investment taking place at the moment to develop the brand into an exciting product within the catering industry, I am looking forward to being part of the company’s future.

    How would you describe the food offering at De Vere Cranage Hall?

    Two days are never the same: At De Vere Cranage Hall we offer lots of different freshly prepared food for our customers, from banquets to BBQs to farmers markets to full restaurant menus to bespoke private dining.

    What are your thoughts on future food trends within hospitality?

    As current trends are showing more a rise in interactive cooking with the guests taking part, I believe we will see more theatre cooking in front of our guests- which is great.

    I also think we are going to see more use of local, seasonally produced ingredients from local suppliers to develop menus, so we are using ingredients when they are at their best.

    If you could only choose 3 dishes, what would you recommend off your menu?

    We offer a classic dish of the day on the restaurant menu. At present, we are offering a pressed slow braised brisket of beef which is very popular.

    I also love our blue plate fish specials which are fresh fish brought in on a daily basis. I recently offered sea trout with Cavallo Nero cabbage, pea and chorizo fricassee and it was a sell-out.

    But the number one best seller is the Tempus beef burger – a classic.

    How would you describe working in your kitchen at De Vere Cranage Hall in 3 words?

    Busy, great team and rewarding.

    Why would someone want to join the Principal Hotel Company as a chef?

    Within the Principal Hotel Company, who are keen to be market leaders, we offer great career paths with a strong emphasis on development at all levels.

Video Interview with Chef Martin Edmunds

Practical Interview & Assessment

If you are invited to an interview as a chef, you will be asked to complete a practical interview. This is a great way for you to demonstrate your own ability in the kitchen. The interview format for a chef will look something like this:

In total, this process should take approximately two hours. However we may decide to do this over two occasions.