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Chef Jobs Reading

The catering and hospitality sector in Reading

Straddling both the River Thames and the River Kennet, Reading holds a prominent position in southern England. 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford and 40 miles (64 km) west of London, Reading is a large university and minster town that also acts as the county town of Berkshire.

Back in the day, Reading was something of an industrial powerhouse. It was known for the 3 Bs that underpinned its industry: beer, bulbs and biscuits. Nowadays, retail is king, with Reading being one of the top shopping destinations in the UK. The town centre’s department stores and chains serve a huge catchment area of consumers, who come from as far afield as Farnborough and Windsor. (Fun fact: despite being a hub for shopping and retail, Reading actually has the shortest high street in the country!)

In addition to retail, the town is a major hub for information technology and finance. Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Oracle all having a presence in the town, as do the Big Four accountancy firms.

Reading is also renowned for other things, too. The University of Reading is ranked as one of the top 200 universities in the world. The Reading Festival, held every August bank holiday weekend, is one of the biggest and longest-running music festivals in the UK. The first-ever Little Chef restaurant opened in Reading way back in 1958. Famous sons and daughters of the town include the regal (Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge), the talented (Ricky Gervais, Kate Winslet, Kenneth Branagh and Nicholas Hoult) and the controversial (Jeremy Kyle).

Despite being a place of reasonable economic and cultural clout, Reading is actually the largest town in the UK that doesn’t have city status. Over 300,000 people reside in the Reading urban area, so the opportunities for hospitality and catering work are numerous.

Salaries are also among the most competitive in the Thames Valley region. According to the latest Blue Arrow data, a head chef can earn over £36,000 annually, while a chef de partie can earn up £25,000 a year.

And for chefs looking to expand their culinary repertoire, the Reading area is home to a host of training opportunities. 

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