Professional Cookery Level 1/2/3

This hands-on course is for those who wish to pursue a career as a professional chef. Your progress will be measured through continuous practical assessment and theoretical understanding via online multiple choice questions. You will also be expected to collect evidence via a diary during the course, in preparation for assessment.

***Applications for full-time courses to start in September 2022 are open now!***

We want to make sure you have the best chance of securing a place with us. All full-time applications received by 31st of January 2022 will be guaranteed a place at Colchester Institute, subject to you satisfying the published entry requirements. We still accept applications after this date but may not be able to guarantee you a place on your chosen programme.

Application for this course are made by the ‘Apply Online’ buttons located in the menu further down the page.

If you are looking to start, or are a parent/guardian of a learner looking to start in September 2022, then bookings for our popular January Open Events are also open.

January Open Events

Year 1 Course Content

The Professional Chefs Certificate: Introduction to the Hospitality Industry – Chef and Restaurant Service Level 1 is designed for those applicants who have practical strengths but find the more academic aspects challenging. Student progression will be motivated via tutorials and discussions with the specialist subject lecturer.

Professional Chefs Certificate Level 1 course units include:

  • Food Production and Creative Cookery
  • Cookery Methods and Food Preparation Techniques
  • Patisserie Work – Desserts
  • Food Safety Studies

Please note that the course at Colchester campus incorporates a Restaurant Service qualification as a mandatory element. In addition, you will study at least one Functional Skill in English, maths, or ICT as part of your main programme. This is mandatory for any learner who hasn’t achieved Grade 4 in English and maths at school.

Year 2 Course Content

The Professional Cookery NVQ Diploma Level 2 course is designed for students who are enthusiastic about cookery and want to improve their career prospects in a fast-moving industry.
Practical work is recorded in course documents. Assessments will take place when each individual is ready. Practical assessments can also take place in the workplace by arrangement.

Learning activities include practical work centred around evidence gathering and assessments in the kitchen. Tutorials and tracking sessions will enable students to compile their own workbook that will help when completing underpinning knowledge questions.

Year 3 Course Content

The Professional Cookery Diploma Level 3 programme is aimed at students who would like to learn advanced methods of food preparation and cooking. The professional Cookery NVQ Diploma course consists of units, covering food safety, health hygiene and safety as well as the development of positive working relationships. The practical units cover a range of commodities including fish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes as well as the production of sauces, soups and dough products.

Practical skills development whilst working in the College’s excellently resourced training kitchens. Related theory will also be covered via numerous learning packages. Knowledge is tested through a specifically designed online assessment package.

Entry Requirements

Professional Chefs Certificate: Introduction to the Hospitality Industry – Chef and Restaurant Service Level 1: 4 GCSEs (9-1) and an interview

Professional Cookery NVQ Diploma Level 2: Satisfactory completion of the Professional Chefs Certificate: Introduction to the Hospitality Industry – Chef and Restaurant Service Level 1

Professional Cookery NVQ Diploma Level 3: Satisfactory completion of the Professional Cookery NVQ Diploma Level 2

Career Opportunities

Upon completion of the Professional Cookery NVQ Diploma Level 3 students can progress onto Foundation Degree Level study or employment as a chef in the hotel and catering industry, with the potential to rise to a senior position on an accelerated career path.

Course Progression

Upon completion of the Professional Cookery Level 1 Certficate, students may potentially progress onto the Level 2 Professional Cookery Diploma and from the Level 2 programme onto the Professional Cookery Level 3 Diploma or an Apprenticeship. Progression to the second year and third year of the programme depends on achievement during the first year and on punctuality, attendance, interest and effort demonstrated.

How to make an Application – Watch our video guide!

We have also prepared a step-by-step video guide – please view this video which will guide you through the application process.

Professional Cookery Level 1/2/3
LevelLevel 1
Level 2
Level 3
DurationThree Years
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusColchester Campus
Start DateSeptember 2022 - Applications open on 1st October 2021
Fee(s)16-18 year olds: Free
Year 1 19+: £878
Year 2 19+: £3,143
Year 3 19+: £5,421


All Fees and prices shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.