Certificate in Culinary Arts Level 4

40 weeks
Level 4
120 credits
Intakes: 15 July 2024, 19 August 2024, 23 September 2024

Already a whiz in the kitchen? Turn your talent into a career with our Level 4 culinary arts programme. Gain hands-on training in our state-of-the-art commercial kitchens and learn innovative culinary skills from top chefs. Plus, you’ll graduate with real work experience thanks to our unique internship programme.

Who can enrol?

If you are 16 or older (18 if you are an international student) and want to enter the cookery sector as an intermediate level chef, you will be perfectly placed with this qualification.

What will I learn?

This hands-on programme teaches you complex culinary skills that will take your career to new heights. Learn how to prepare, cook and present restaurant-quality dishes, and gain real workplace experience with a culinary arts internship. You’ll never look back!

You will cover:
  • Complex soups
  • Complex meat, seafood, fish and poultry dishes
  • Complex hot and cold desserts
  • Complex pastry and larder dishes
  • Food safety
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Communication skills
  • 80-hour internship with an industry employer


What qualifications will I gain?

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery Level 4

Where will this take me?

With this qualification, you will have the knowledge, skills and confidence to gain an intermediate level chef role – or pathway into higher level cookery studies. Either way you’ll stand out from the crowd by having trained at Ignite Colleges!

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this course

What do I need to enrol?

It’s easy! All you need to bring along is proof of citizenship or PR. We’ll help you do the rest. If you are an international student, please contact us first.

How much does this course cost?

You might be eligible to do this course for free! Talk with our Student Support Team to find out. If not, you may be eligible for loans and allowances, and we can help you with that.

What time does my course start and finish?

This course runs from 12 noon until 4pm, Monday to Friday.
* course time may be subject to change

What resources will I need?

We provide you with a chef uniform (including coat, trousers, apron and hat), knives and a bag. All you need to provide is a pair of closed steel toe non-slip shoes.

What does a typical day look like?

You’ll be working in our brand-new training kitchens, honing your chef skills. Learn to prepare, cook and present complex soups, meats, desserts, pastry and larder dishes, and build your knowledge of food safety, health and safety, and communication. You’ll be taught by professional chefs and gain all the expertise you need to succeed in a busy commercial kitchen.

Is work experience part of the course?

You will get plenty of hands-on experience during this programme – our cookery students cook for our school café ‘Study Break’, and also do the catering for Ignite Colleges industry functions and events.

This programme also includes an 80-hour internship in a café or restaurant, so you will have lots of work experience under your belt when you graduate. You will even have a unique opportunity to work in Spain at a Michelin-starred restaurant!

Will you help me get a job?

Yes! As part of your course we spend time working on interview and CV skills to make sure you leave us work ready. We also bring in speakers from industry to talk to you about what today’s employers expect. As well as this, our tutors have great industry connections and can introduce you to potential employers.

What jobs can I apply for after completing this course?

This is a high-demand sector with lots of exciting job opportunities. Once you have successfully completed this course you could work as a chef in restaurants and hotels, cafes, bars, corporate catering firms, hospital kitchens, airport catering companies and even cruise ships.

Can I travel overseas with this qualification?

Yes you can! This qualification opens up exciting opportunities to travel overseas. Our chefs have international experience and contacts, and you may be able to connect to their networks.

Never before in history has food been such a big deal. What was once merely fuel to power our bodies, is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. This global foodie frenzy means one thing – training in culinary arts is a very smart move. There’s a huge shortage of qualified chefs in New Zealand – in fact it’s on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list.

By 2025 visitor numbers to New Zealand will be close to 5 million, and thousands more chefs will be needed. They’ll be needed in restaurants and hotels, cafes, bars, and catering companies. They’ll be needed in fast food joints, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, and government buildings. For chefs with talent, passion, and a qualification, the options are vast.


What makes a great chef?

As well as having an aptitude for cooking and a flair for food presentation, successful chefs need a wide range of other skills. During meal service kitchens can be frantic, so the ability to stay calm under pressure, and work quickly is crucial. The hours are long and often include evenings and weekends, so flexibility and stamina are prerequisites. Sound knowledge of everything from food safety to nutrition is a must, and chefs need to be able to work well as a team.

There are several other professional skills and personal attributes that will help set chefs on the path to promotion, including:

  • knowledge of budgeting and stock management
  • ability to price and plan menus
  • leadership skills and ability to train and supervise staff
  • cross-cultural awareness
  • efficient record keeping
  • keeping ahead of the latest developments in nutrition, food technology and cooking techniques
  • be reliable, adaptable and highly-organised
  • be strong and fit
  • excellent communication skills


Employment opportunities

This is a high-demand sector with lots of exciting job opportunities, so once qualified, the chances of getting a good job are excellent. Start off as a commis chef. You’ll earn between minimum wage and $18 an hour and work across all areas of the kitchen, preparing and cooking food and sometimes washing dishes and cleaning. Work your way up, and your salary and areas of responsibility will increase accordingly.

Chefs de partie usually earn $18 – $20 an hour and are in charge of one section of the kitchen. They train and supervise staff, plan menus and order food. Sous chefs are second-in-charge of the kitchen, and earn $18 – $25 an hour, while head chefs (or executive chefs) are responsible for the entire kitchen and could earn anything from $22 – $49 per hour.

While many chefs master their craft in restaurants, cafes and hotels, there are plenty of other workplaces that require the skills of a culinary arts professional, such as:

  • bars and taverns
  • cruise ships
  • corporate catering firms
  • hospital kitchens
  • airport catering companies
  • bakeries
  • fast food outlets

Or branch out into other food related areas – start your own business, become a food product developer or an artisan food producer.

The tourism and hospitality sector is currently New Zealand’s second largest export earner. Overseas visitor numbers have doubled every decade since 1970, topping 3.7 million in the year ending January 2018. And that number looks set to keep rising. Tourism spending is forecast to grow to 15.3 billion in 2023, and visitor numbers will rise by 39%. Each one of those visitors will need tourism staff, hospitality professionals and chefs to cater to their needs.


This course is available for international students. If you are interested in this course please contact us for more details: [email protected]

Who can enrol?

If you are 18 or older and want to enter the cookery sector as an intermediate level chef, you will be perfectly placed with this qualification.