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What was doing their course like? A chef shares his experience…

As with a coin there are two sides and the same goes for the ship’s cook certificate: you can either pay Secrets de Cuisine (Bluewater) more money and do it in Antibes in France or you can go the route I did and do it in the UK up north at South Tyneside College.

So what made me decide to do it at Tyneside you are probably all wondering?

There isn’t much difference in price and the Tyneside one is 10 days so a few days longer. 

The reason was I found out and did my research to what the ship’s cook certificate was and what it was all about. I can tell you now it is not about being assessed on your macaron skills or making puff Pastry from scratch or even Marpol regulations.

It is about cooking healthy nutritious food for crew in a clean and safe working environment, taking into account dietary requirements and that is it.

Having worked in Michelin Star restaurants myself first as a pastry chef I didn’t feel the need to pay someone to assess me on something that is completely irrelevant and with such a low pass rate compared to the high pass rate that Tyneside has.

The thing is fellow chefs this ship’s cook certificate is nothing new and Tyneside College have been doing them further back than 1981.

The course is at the Marine College set out by the M.C.A.

Now like me if you decide to do the Tyneside one then I have outlined below what you can expect.

It is a 10 day course and you are not assessed as soon as you get there. 

The first morning is a sit down with a cup of tea and biscuits and then you are told what will be involved, you do not need to learn anything before hand.

So over the course of the next 5 days you will do a walkthrough of a practical test, which isn’t counted and then the following day you will be given a practical test following a menu they have set out.

Now here is what they are looking for… can you produce it on time, is it tasty, is there enough, are you working cleanly and efficiently and finely presentation.

There is a pastry element as well which is more about cakes, tea breads and breads, things you would actually cook for crew.

During the course you will also re-do or if you haven’t done it you will do your level 2 food hygiene. In addition to this you will do a computer test on allergies as they deem this very important.

You will also have some dishes that you need to say what you would do to make them healthier and then finally you will do some work on costing.

Then at the end of the course you will sit a multiple choice exam based on everything and then hey presto you will be rewarded with your ship’s cook certificate, which then needs to be sent off to the MCA  to be endorsed.

The Tyneside College is a Marine College and is not a team of ex yacht chefs assessing you. It is assessed, by college catering lecturers. The course is set out by the M.C.A and it is my understanding the course by Secrets de Cuisine (Bluewater) is endorsed by the MCA.

The downside to this course is its longer and further away if you are in Europe however they have an excellent pass rate and if like me you didn’t want to or feel the need to do it in the first place it’s 10 days of your life then its over.

There is nothing to fear with this one from the stories I’ve heard of the other one it seems like a completely different course. It is worth doing I got two high paid temp gigs because I had the ship’s cook certificate. One boat one chef wanted to go on leave but the boat was not allowed to leave without someone onboard having such certificate.

Anonymous Chef

2 thoughts on “SHIPS COOK CERTIFICATE: SOUTH SHIELDS COLLEGE? a chef’s perspective!


    On 22/05/2016 19:06, Cedric Seguela wrote:
    > Hi Efrem,
    > I hope this email finds you well. I have to admit that we are not overly impressed with the following article :
    > Everyone has got the right to speak and we respect that, however we find that this article is rather defamatory, personal and we feel like we have a right to answer on that one.
    > Several statements made by this person are inaccurate, and are only aiming to slag us for some reasons, it also clearly appears that this person did not attend Secrets de cuisine course/assessment, which makes the comparison a bit biased.
    > For instance :
    > We have never enquired anyone to make macaroons, this is only demonstrated as a « bonus » during the prep course to make use of the italian meringue, which is a really basic pastry skills
    > Amongst other things, a ship’s cook should be able to make everything from scratch, including basic pastries such as puff pastry, See section page 13, section 55 of the following document—ed_dialogue/—sector/documents/normativeinstrument/wcms_218575.pdf, « Ships’ cooks require competencies in order to meet expectations of the shipowner and master and seafarers with respect to food being made from scratch using raw ingredients. Nutritionally balanced ready meals or semi-processed products should only be used for a short period of time. »
    > It is shocking to read that a ship’s cook should be aware of MARPOL, is a chef not dealing with food waste, cooking oil, and chemicals ? This is all part of MARPOL annex V. Please refer to page 28 section 4.13.4 of the same document
    > I would be curious to hear what does this person know about the pass rate at secrets de cuisine, it has now increased drastically, mainly due to the fact people are taking it seriously and are better prepared for it ? is that a bad thing ?
    > Does this person really think that we don’t have coffee and biscuits ?
    > I couldn’t agree more to the fact that knowledge on allergies are paramount, this is also included and emphasised in Secrets de cuisine
    > We have worked on Yachts, but also on cruise ships and in the Navy, beside that we are also training ship’s cook for the shipping industry, we also both have our teacher’s qualification and could easily teach in catering college. Again this person is aiming to slag rather than inform, why ?
    > I have attached the feedback that we are getting anonymously from candidates after the course, this is only used for quality management and improvement from ourselves, the responses are massively positive, and anytime an improvement is suggested, we implement it.
    > I feel like this is unfair to us, but also to candidates who have done the assessment with us to publish an article like that. I gather that you didn’t write that yourself, however by publishing it on a website you are running gives you a responsibility. I am just wondering why are you doing that ? What are you trying to achieve ?
    > Feel free to give Duncan or myself a phone call to clarify this situation.
    > Best regards,
    > Cédric

  • Chef Abdul Khaliq

    I m Expert in chef, for ship cook training. A diploma holder chef and working in Pakistan Marine Academy Karachi, His department Seamen Training Wing of Pakistan. can you help me in this course.
    Contact no. 00923328943060


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