Catering in the RAF - good choice?

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by WillP, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. WillP


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    Cook at home
    Hi! I'm considering joining the RAF to do catering - however I'm not sure on the pay yet. After training it would be around £18,000 a year which gives me £15,000 after tax. This seems really low to me - can someone advise? I understand there are opportunities for promotion which will bring payrises but I'm not sure this will be entirely liveable, as it's not much over £1000 a month.

    Hope to hear from someone soon :)
  2. 21TonyK


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    Chef, ex-restaurateur
    Would you not live on base, the cost of living AFAIK is pretty low in the military?

    I've no personal experience but I do know a couple of ex-military chefs. Both still go on about how good it was 10-15 years after demobbing. The training and opportunity to travel is what I would be thinking of and yes, you can actually earn a decent salary eventually, plus think of the pension! The other consideration is when you come out you will have far more experience than most and its relatively easy to move into any form of catering at a relatively high level.

    Both the guys I know are now senior management level making a decent living, one just bought a Jag F-type, has a couple of decent holidays a year and is planning to retire at 55!
  3. seabeecook


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    Professional Chef
    "Catering" in the UK equals "food service" in the US. UK institutions (military, hospitals, etc.) have a catering department where we have a food service department.

    If the RAF is anything like US Air Force, dining facilities are contracted out. The role of cooks has been expanded to include kitchens, dining rooms, barracks, bar, etc. US AF cooks also run recreation facilities and the morgue (in wartime).

    I don't know what it takes to live in the UK, but I would think you don't need much as a single person (assuming you're single). Room and board are provided. With deployments and training exercises, you're going to be kept busy.

    The website I saw ( said you have the opportunity to go into the reserves after your active service. As a retired US Navy Senior Chief, I found the reserves the best of both worlds. You maintain a civilian career while pursuing a military career.
    drirene likes this.