Working As A Chef/ Cook In Korea
Due to the impact of globalization, the number of foreigners in Korea is on the rise. And so is the love of non-Korean food. International cuisine is gaining popularity in Korea. Younger generation Koreans have a very diverse palate and are willing to try foods from different countries.
As a chef/cook you will primarily be responsible for preparing food using a variety of cooking methods. In a large kitchen you may work as part of a team, and look after one food area, like meat or pasta.
Your main tasks as a chef would include preparing, cooking and presenting food in line with required standards (relevant hygiene, health and safety guidelines) of your workplace. You will be required to keep preparation at the right level and make sure that food is served promptly. You may also be asked to monitor food production to ensure consistent quality and portion size.
Additionally, You will be responsible for meal planning assisting and supervising other cooks and assistants in the kitchen.
Qualification requirements differ depending on the work place and the type of job. Typically if you have a High school diploma or GED, you need 6 years experience in the culinary, food and beverage, or related professional area.
If you have a 2-year degree from an accredited university in Culinary Arts, Hotel and Restaurant Management, or related major, you need 4 years experience in the culinary, food and beverage, or related professional area.
According to the Korean immigration website in order to apply for the visa work experience requirements differ depending on the kind of license you have. For example:
License holder of the Intermediate Level or higher (Examples: Level 1~2 for China)] work experience requirements exempted.
Elementary Level License Holder at least 3 years of experiences
Those who have completed 6 months of training or more at least 5 years of work experience
To become a chef/cook apart from a keen interest in food and cooking you will also need to have strong communication and leadership skills. Some jobs may require you to have basic Korean language skills as well. Moreover, You should have the ability to work under pressure and be able to do several tasks at once.
Applicable Job Types
To work as a chef/cook in Korea you can only apply for certain jobs. For example: Western Food Chef and Cook, Chinese Food Chef and Cook, Japanese Food Chef and Cook, Chef and Cook for other countries food.
You CANNOT apply for a job as a Korean Food Chef and Cook, Flour Based Food, Coffee, and Traditional Tea Maker.
You can work at: tourist hotels, tourist/foreign restaurant, Tourist Restaurant that specializes in foreign tourists, Airline catering service division etc. You can work at five stars hotels that caters to foreign tourists and serve cuisines other than traditional Korean food. You can also work for the various foreign restaurants serving ethnic food.
Where To Find These Job Openings
You can find these job openings in local newspapers or government job websites. You can also find some of these job openings online for example: on Craigslist or social media platforms like Facebook. You can always try calling the restaurant/hotels directly to inquire about potential job openings.
Required Documents And Visa
You can apply for an E-7 visa. You will need:
- Chef Certificate/license
- Career Certificate/Resume
- Apostilled degree/diploma (confirmation is required on education completion certificate. If you do not have apostilled degree/diploma you can get authentication from a Korean consul in your country)
I highly recommend calling your nearest Korean embassy or consulate for more information.
If you meet all the requirements a 2 years, single-entry visa will be issued.
Salary And Working Hours
Hours are likely to involve early mornings and/or late nights depending on where you work. You can also expect to cover weekends and public holidays. Part-time, casual and seasonal work is often available. Additionally working in a kitchen is not easy. Kitchens are especially hot, humid and very busy around key meal times.
Salary largely depends on where you work at, your qualifications, skills and experience. You can expect to make around 1.8 to 2 million KRW as a starting salary. You can potentially make around 3 to 3.5 million or more depending on you skills and work experience.
Part-time and seasonal jobs usually offer hourly wages. It can be anywhere between 7,000 KRW to 10,000 KRW depending on the working hours. I saw some jobs offering as low as 6,500 KRW per hour. So use you discretion and shop around.
If you’re quick on your feet and not afraid of heat and knives, consider a job as a chef or a cook in Korea. You’ll not only be able to show off your creative side by presenting dishes in imaginative ways but also experience living and traveling in another country.