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Taux horaire moyen pour le métier de catering assistant avec Brigad
Average hourly rate for the catering assistant job with Brigad
16£ /heure
16£ /hour
Experience required
Minimum 6 months experience
Required status
Self-employed / Freelance

Catering assistant: job description, salary, training

A catering assistant working

Catering assistants play a vital role in the hospitality industry, carrying out a broad range of tasks in catering kitchens for events like weddings, as well as in restaurants. Learn more about our catering assistant job description, including salary ranges, training opportunities, and the latest mission offers from Brigad.

They support chefs and cooks, collaborate with servers, and are involved in everything from food preparation to plating dishes, maintaining clean and orderly kitchens, and assisting other kitchen and front-of-house team members, including waiters, waitresses, and bar staff.

What is a Catering Assistant ?

A Catering Assistant, also known as a kitchen assistant or kitchen porter, is a crucial team member in the catering or food service industry. Their role revolves around supporting other catering staff in various elements of food preparation, service, and kitchen maintenance. This role is often fast-paced and requires excellent organizational and multitasking abilities.

Catering Assistants are involved in the execution of a variety of tasks, from basic food preparation such as peeling and chopping, to setting up buffet stations, serving food, and cleaning up after meals. They may also handle administrative duties like tracking orders and filling orders for the kitchen staff.

Catering Assistant duties and responsibilities

Their responsibilities extend to ensuring that food is prepared and served in strict accordance with food safety regulations. In addition, they may also participate in trade shows to promote the company's catering services and handle clerical duties for the catering team.

Catering Assistants are often employed in diverse settings that range from school cafeterias and hospital kitchens to corporate events and outdoor social gatherings. Regardless of the setting, their primary aim is to ensure the efficient operations and customer satisfaction within a catering environment.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the key duties and responsibilities, required skills, and career prospects for Catering Assistants.

What does a Catering Assistant do?

As a Catering Assistant, your daily tasks will be diverse and dynamic. They typically comprise:

  • Food Preparation and Service: Assist in the preparation of nutritious meals, and serve them to customers or guests. This includes basic tasks such as peeling and chopping, as well as plating up food.
  • Kitchen Maintenance: Ensure that the kitchen, dining areas, and food service areas are clean and hygienic. This includes cleaning work surfaces, walls, floors, dishes, and kitchen appliances.
  • Administrative Tasks: Handle practical tasks such as filling orders for kitchen staff, preparing packing lists, and tracking orders. You might also be responsible for receiving and unloading deliveries.
  • Customer Interaction: Greet patrons in person or by telephone, and ensure their satisfaction with the catering services provided. This might extend to promoting the company's catering services at trade shows.
  • Regulation Compliance: Ensure that food is prepared and served in strict accordance with food safety regulations, maintaining high standards in all aspects.
  • Team Support: Work alongside catering managers and other team members, supporting them in executing their tasks efficiently.

Do catering assistants cook?

Catering assistants do undertake some basic cooking tasks under the supervision of a chef or cook. However, their primary role is to support the culinary team in providing a seamless catering service. Key cooking responsibilities may include:

  • Food preparation: This includes washing, peeling, and chopping fruits and vegetables, as well as preparing sauces, dressings, and other basic items.
  • Assisting with cooking: Under the direction of a chef, catering assistants may be involved in cooking processes such as simmering soups, baking bread, or grilling meats.
  • Plating and presentation: Catering assistants often assist in plating dishes and arranging them for service, ensuring a visually appealing presentation.

Despite these cooking-related tasks, it's important to remember that the specific duties of a catering assistant can vary based on the nature of the event and the size of the catering team.

What is the difference between a Kitchen Assistant and a Catering Assistant ?

The main difference between a Kitchen Assistant and a Catering Assistant lies in their work settings and responsibilities. A Kitchen Assistant typically works within a restaurant or commercial kitchen, where they assist with food preparation, dishwashing, and maintaining kitchen cleanliness.

In contrast, a Catering Assistant is often involved in off-site catering events or catering companies, where their duties extend to setting up and serving food, beverage service, and ensuring the smooth flow of catering operations at various locations.

What is the difference between a Chef and a Catering Assistant ?

The key difference between a Chef and a Catering Assistant lies in their roles and responsibilities within the culinary industry. A Chef is a highly skilled and experienced culinary professional responsible for menu planning, food preparation, cooking, and overseeing kitchen operations.

In contrast, a Catering Assistant typically provides support at catering events, helping with tasks like setting up, serving food and beverages, and ensuring the event runs smoothly, but they may not have the same level of culinary expertise as a Chef.

Skills Required for a Successful Catering Assistant

To thrive as a Catering Assistant, certain skills and abilities are crucial. These include:

  • Culinary Knowledge: Familiarity with food preparation techniques, understanding of nutrition guidelines, and the ability to follow recipes accurately.
  • Attention to Detail: This is key in ensuring high-quality food presentation, maintaining cleanliness, and adhering to food safety standards.
  • Interpersonal Skills: As you will interact with clients, guests, and other staff, effective communication and customer service skills are vital.
  • Administrative Abilities: For tasks such as tracking orders, managing buffet stations, and reconciling daily income.
  • Teamwork: A successful Catering Assistant needs to be a [team player], collaborating effectively with other catering staff.
  • Physically Fit: The role often involves standing for long periods, lifting heavy items, and performing other physically demanding tasks.
  • Food Safety Certification: A ServSafe Certification or a similar food safety training certificate can be a valuable asset.
  • Ability to Work under Pressure: Events can be hectic and fast-paced, requiring you to stay calm and efficient.

Remember, these skills can be acquired and improved with experience and training.

Types of Catering Assistant

Catering assistants can be categorized into different types based on the environment they work in and the specific duties they perform. There are Full-time Catering Assistants who work regular hours, typically in a fixed location like a school, hospital, or corporate cafeteria. Their tasks often include preparing and serving meals, maintaining kitchen cleanliness, and assisting with inventory management.

On the other hand, Part-time Catering Assistants usually work flexible hours, ideal for balancing with other commitments. They might work in a variety of settings, from pop-up catering events to casual dining establishments.

There are also Freelance Catering Assistants who work on a per-project basis, offering their services to different clients, usually for specific events. This type of role offers the most flexibility but may also require more initiative in finding job opportunities.

Lastly, we have Hospitality Catering Assistants who often work in hotels or resorts, where they may also handle tasks related to guest service, such as setting up for banquets or serving food at buffet stations.

Each type offers unique experiences and opportunities, allowing individuals to choose the role that best suits their career aspirations and lifestyle needs.

What is a school Catering Assistant?

Working in a school setting as a Catering Assistant involves more than just meal preparation. You will be instrumental in providing nutritious meals to students, which can impact their overall health and academic performance. Food safety and hygiene are paramount in this role, as is following nutritional guidelines set by local or national standards.

Some specific duties may include:

  • Assisting in menu planning and preparation
  • Ensuring kitchen cleanliness and proper food storage
  • Adhering to school-specific dietary requirements or allergies
  • Interacting with students and staff in a positive and respectful manner

The role may also require flexibility to accommodate special school events or varying schedules. As you'll be working with young people, a positive attitude and the ability to act as a role model are crucial.

What does a Catering assistant in a hospital do?

A Catering Assistant in a hospital setting plays a vital role in ensuring the provision of nutritious meals to patients, staff, and visitors. They assist in different areas such as food preparation, often chopping vegetables for the chef or cook, and maintain high standards of health, safety, and hygiene in the kitchen.

They are also responsible for kitchen cleanliness, washing up either by hand or using a dishwasher. They serve meals in the hospital's canteen or restaurant, operate cash registers, and handle transactions.

Moreover, they aid in the transport of meals, loading them onto trolleys for distribution to wards and other parts of the hospital. An essential part of their role is to demonstrate good principles of customer care, ensuring helpfulness and compassion towards everyone they serve.

In some hospitals, the Catering Assistant may also be responsible for supporting the wider catering team during and throughout patient meal service periods.

The Role of a Catering Manager: A Comparative Study

In the catering industry, the role of a Catering Manager is significantly different from that of an assistant. A Catering Manager takes a leadership position, orchestrating the entire process of an event from menu planning to coordinating staff and handling logistics. They are responsible for not only meeting but exceeding guests' food needs, collaborating with event planners, chefs, assistant chefs, and other professionals.

On the other hand, a Catering Assistant provides support by carrying out practical tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and serving. They also help with administrative tasks like tracking orders.

The following points further highlight the differences:

  • Salary: Catering Managers typically earn more compared to Catering Assistants due to the higher level of responsibility and skills required.
  • Skillset: Catering Managers are expected to have strong leadership, creativity, and organizational skills. Catering Assistants, however, focus on practical skills and adhering to food safety regulations.
  • Career Progression: Often, Catering Assistants acquire new skills and eventually progress to managerial roles.

This comparative study aims to provide a clearer understanding of the distinct roles each position plays in the catering industry.

Why choose the position of Catering Assistant ?

Working as a catering assistant is a great way to progress in the catering and hospitality industry and gain some experience that could help you get promoted into more senior cooking and chef or management roles in the industry if you want a long-term career in restaurants, bars, or hotels.

What are the working conditions for a Catering Assistant ?

Catering assistant working conditions vary depending on the establishment or catering event. Catering assistants often work long hours, especially if an event requires catering staff to work from setup to after an event (or at least the dining section of an event) finishes.

Weekend work is often required as that’s when catering operations and events are usually busiest, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Typical working hours of a Catering Assistant

Catering assistant work often comes with long, irregular, and unsociable hours. Depending on shift patterns and the number of staff, you might work a shorter shift, or be present for before a catering kitchen closes to when it opens.

If you’re looking for a change of pace, more flexibility, and a better work-life balance (so you’re not always finishing work at midnight or later!), then Brigad could be the answer you're looking for.

Brigad can connect you with missions that better suit your lifestyle and what you want to earn as an independent self-employed catering assistant.

Catering Assistant Courses: Enhancing Your Skills

Enhancing your skills as a Catering Assistant can open new career paths and improve your proficiency in the role. Courses tailored towards Catering Assistants cover a wide range of topics such as food safety, meal planning, and service techniques.

  • Online training courses can be an excellent way to gain an in-depth understanding of the role and responsibilities of a catering assistant. These courses provide a comprehensive overview of the industry and can be taken at your own pace.
  • Food Preparation and Service Techniques courses are designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform your duties efficiently.
  • Level 2 Food Hygiene Certification is a valuable asset for a Catering Assistant, ensuring that you understand and adhere to essential food safety practices.

Remember, these courses are not just for beginners. Even seasoned professionals can benefit from skill enhancement courses to test and update their knowledge.

How to be a good Catering Assistant ?

The best way to demonstrate your skills as a catering assistant that can lead to promotions and higher salaries or self-employed missions through Brigad is to perform well in your role as a catering assistant, and then use this to advance your career further.

What career progression is possible for a Catering Assistant ?

Catering assistants with some experience behind them are perfectly positioned to move into more senior cooking and culinary positions, such assistant chef, chef de partie, sous chef, head chef, or into more specialised roles, such as a pastry chef or sushi chef in restaurants, pubs, and hotel food & beverage (F&B) operations.

Opportunities are endless at this point in your career, and Brigad could open doors that will help you take the next step.

UK Catering assistant salary ranges

The Catering assistant salary in the UK varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of establishment. In London and Birmingham, and larger, nationwide catering businesses, catering assistants will earn more than in smaller operations.

On average, catering assistants can earn anywhere from £21,000 to £24,000.

What is Brigad ?

Brigad is an app that allows hospitality establishments to easily connect with highly-qualified, self-employed hospitality professionals in London and surrounding areas.

The latest mission offers for Catering Assistants across London

If you're a Catering Assistant looking for short-term work and flexibility, follow these three simple steps to begin receiving mission proposals:

  1. Register as self-employed Catering Assistant before signing up for Brigad.
  2. Download the app and sign up in minutes; it's free, and there's no commitment required.
  3. Create and personalize your profile to start receiving mission proposals. You're free to decide whether to accept or decline them.
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How to become a freelance Catering Assistant ?

To become a freelance Catering Assistant, follow these essential steps:

  • Register as a Sole Trader with HMRC: This is a crucial first step, requiring minimal paperwork and enabling legal self-employment.
  • Obtain a UTR Number from HMRC: Secure your Unique Taxpayer Reference number, necessary for tax purposes and identification as a sole trader.
  • Meet Eligibility Requirements: Ensure you're eligible for self-employment in the UK, especially important for non-EU international students who may face restrictions.
  • Manage Your Tax Affairs: Be responsible for submitting an annual self-assessment tax return based on your income and expenses.
  • Maintain Accurate Financial Records: Keep detailed records of all your income and expenses for tax purposes.
  • Understand Tax Obligations: Familiarize yourself with tax bands and VAT requirements as they apply to self-employed professionals.

As a self-employed Catering Assistant, you have the opportunity to explore diverse working options. This includes the ability to combine freelance projects with long-term contracts, providing a varied and dynamic career path. You also enjoy significant work flexibility, allowing you to select your work schedule and locations that best align with your personal goals and preferences.

Additionally, it's important to stay informed by regularly consulting official government resources for any updates or new information related to self-employment.

How to find a Catering Assistant using Brigad? 

If you're a catering operation, catering firm, or hospitality company looking for a new catering assistant, Brigad makes it easy, fast, and efficient to connect you with talented catering assistants and other catering professionals in London.

To hire a qualified Catering Assistant using Brigad app, 3 steps are sufficient:

  1. Create an account on the Brigad app or website (free registration and no commitment)
  2. Set up your missions in a few clicks specify the required skills, dress code, equipment, duration, payment method, and more.
  3. Submit your mission and let the algorithm handle the rest!

Once you set up a mission, it's sent to talents with the relevant skills in your area.

When a talent accepts, you'll be notified and can then connect with them directly.

All Catering Assistants and other hospitality professionals undergo a strict vetting process to ensure the best match.

UK companies that are hiring Catering Assistants using Brigad

Trusted by over 10,000 businesses to reinforce their teams, Brigad is widely used by both large groups and independent businesses in every sector of the hospitality industry.

The platform offers a connection with thousands of highly qualified, self-employed hospitality professionals such as Catering Assistants.