Well, a Cook focuses purely on preparation and cooking, the Chef PLANS and ORGANISES the meals, and will often supervise others (depending on where they work).
A chef earns more than a cook, but there are also various kinds of chefs and wages reflect the amount of responsibility each Chef has.
For example, a Commis Chef (who has just completed an apprenticeship) would earn less than a Sous Chef (2nd in charge). In large kitchens, with various ‘departments’ (eg. Pastry section) you would have a Chef responsible for this area, they are called a Chef de Partie.
Chef’s and Cook’s will always be in demand. The popularity of reality cooking shows proves that Australians enjoy great cuisine, and we are getting better and better at producing (and expecting) amazing-lip-smacking dishes.
Without formal qualifications, you might (at a pinch) be able to pick up a cook’s role in a small establishment, but the legalities around food safety and hygiene forces kitchens to look for people with proven qualifications.
A website called Discover Hospitality is a great place to store your qualifications and references as well as seek work within the industry.
No matter what career you plan on having, part or full time hospitality work can help you along your journey.
If you aren’t sure about whether a career in hospitality would suit you, you can cure this dilemma with some work experience.
Here’s just two of many links to help you find out more about Cooks/Chefs.