Qualified Chef (RFA)

Service:Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Food and drink
Chef RFA

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Chef in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), you’ll be part of the team that provides healthy and nutritious meals for your ship’s company. Your hard work is what keeps them going, and vital operations on track. 

The RFA is responsible for making sure the Royal Navy has everything it needs to continue protecting our nation’s interests all over the world. So, as you develop your cookery skills, you’ll make an increasingly important contribution to a truly global effort, whether you’re getting breakfast out on time, or catering for a unit of Royal Marines about to deploy.

If you have questions, talk to us

The role

  • Continue your professional cookery career by leading a team and creating varied menus for the entire crew.
  • Outside of the galley, you’ll have crucial duties to perform as part of the ship’s company, including firefighting, first aid, and being a member of the damage control team.
  • Unlike most civilian chef roles, you’ll have real responsibility from the day you start, working in challenging environments all over the world.
  • It’s your job to make the ship feel like a home from home for your crewmates. Many of them will be at sea for months at a time and will look forward to the food you cook, whether it’s Friday Fish, or dinner for a social event.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Fully funded Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA)  certification portfolio
  • The ability to conduct a range of catering activities across the full spectrum of the Galley

Skills you'll develop

  • Training will be a constant feature of your time with us, as you receive world-class development packages

Career progression

Depending on your level of experience and qualifications, you could start your career with the RFA as either an Assistant Chef, Leading Hand Chef or Petty Officer Chef.  After joining the RFA in one of these Chef roles, you will immediately put all the skills and experience you’ve gained into practice. With some experience and further training you could be promoted to Leading Hand and then Petty Officer.  After that, you may go on to become a Chief Petty Officer. To qualify for promotion, your skills and qualifications will be assessed on a competence basis, so if you work hard and show potential, you can quickly rise through the ranks. If you demonstrate the right competences, commitment, skills and academic ability, you may also be offered the opportunity to apply to train as an Officer via the RFA’s Officer Training Scheme.

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 16 or over, there is no upper age limit
  • Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery, or equivalent (MNTB Ship’s Cook CoC / City & Guilds etc)
  • Level 2 or higher Certificate in Food Safety or equivalent
  • Existing qualifications and experience in a professional catering environment
  • Applications with supervisory experience are highly desirable
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to  applying, or a dual national
  • You'll need to have confidence with jumping into water and the ability to wade whilst wearing a life jacket

Skills and interests

  • A passion for cooking
  • Drive and enthusiasm
  • Enjoy working as part of a team
  • A sense of adventure
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve requested your application and provided us with some basic information, you’ll receive a link to the online application form

  • Confirm eligibility

    You will be asked to send us copies of your certification

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    If you’re eligible you’ll be invited to take the DAA. You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    Pass and you’ll sit an interview, which is normally conducted using your own device over the Shine video platform.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    If you are successful at interview, you will be offered a contract