Commercial Cooking two cooks in the kitchen preparing canape

How To Get Started In Commercial Cooking

There are only so many cooking shows you can watch before you start to imagine how you’d fair with your own kitchen. Sure, it’s fast paced, and you’ll be sweating from both steam and stress, but the thought of having a signature dish and a dining set up to match is enough to light the fire in your belly. 

However, just because you’ve perfected scrambled eggs in your own home, it doesn’t mean you’re prepared for serving hundreds of customers. Instead you need to understand the ins and outs of commercial cooking to truly be able to cater in a professional setting. 

What is commercial cooking?

Sure, cooking for your family might feel like you’re catering for the masses, but that doesn’t quite qualify as a large restaurant.

Commercial cooking is the preparing of food for the greater public. Typically, it also includes using equipment that produces grease – think deep fryers and large grills. 

Commercial cooking isn’t just understanding how to cook but also the safety protocols that go along with providing food for the general public. 

What qualifications do you need for commercial cooking?

While for the most part, serving Michelin-quality meals comes from years of experience, there is an element of theoretical knowledge involved as well. 

To be able to cook for large groups as well as providing a service, you need to become familiar with how commercial cooking works. 

The required courses are either a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery. 

Certificate IV is more advanced and for those looking to take on a leadership role such as managing a kitchen while Certificate III gives you a basic yet sound knowledge of commercial cooking. 

A Certificate IV in Commercial cookery takes approximately 18 months to complete while a Certificate III is just over a year. 

Take the Qualify Me! self assessment now to see if your experience in the hospitality industry can get you on your way to a new career.

What are the tools and equipment used in commercial cooking?

Once you start dealing with bigger kitchens, more hungry diners and quicker cooking times, you can forget your usual pan on a stove setup. 

Instead, you’ll move on to cooking ranges, which have multiple functionalities, from frying to boiling, grilling to baking. Typically, you’ll also deal with 4 to 8 burners to help produce mass food for customers. The two standard types are restaurant ranges – less food volume and made for kitchens – or the heavy duty range – made for mass food production. 

Ovens in commercial kitchens are also slightly different. There are several styles of ovens, all serving a different purpose.  

Rack ovens are tall and made for a large volume of baked goods such as bread and pastries. A deck oven contains rotisseries or racks and is usually reserved for cooking meats. Meanwhile tunnel ovens are great for making pizzas. 

Instead of a barbeque, you’ll become accustomed to a griddle – flat plates mainly used for eggs, burgers and pancakes. 

Fryers are also a regular fixture, usually consisting of a basket to help lower the ingredients into heated oil.

Other regular kitchen staples make an appearance – from mixers, to cutting utensils, from cutlery to juicers. However, most are larger than what you’ve come to expect due to the bulk cooking needed. 


Thinking about a shift in career? Qualify Me! can help you use your existing knowledge and experience to fast-track a move to a different industry.

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