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The catering and hospitality sector in High Wycombe

  • Head chef salary (September 2019) in High Wycombe: £38,000 a year / £18.27 per hour
  • Sous chef salary (September 2019) in High Wycombe: £31,200 a year / £16.96 per hour
  • Chef de partie salary (September 2019) in High Wycombe: £24,100 a year / £12.33 per hour

High Wycombe may not seem like the first place to consider for catering and hospitality work, but there’s a lot more to this Buckinghamshire town than meets the eye.

An industrial town and a thriving market town, High Wycombe was once famous for its chair-making industry (the town was known as the “furniture capital of England”). Today, retail is a major pull. A street market is still held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while the impressive Eden Centre attracts 350,000 visitors each week.

There’s plenty to explore both in town and beyond. West Wycombe Park contains a lavish Georgian mansion house that’s open to the public, and the nearby West Wycombe Village is home to charming, preserved houses built between the 16th and 18th centuries. The surrounding Chiltern Hills offer outdoor escapism, while the more urban setting of the Wycombe Swan showcases the best song, dance, theatre and comedy.

With a smattering of fine dining restaurants, independent cafes, gastropubs and nightclubs across town, food and drink is also prominent in High Wycombe. For catering and hospitality professionals, a steady stream of jobs is available here from an experienced commis chef in a fine-dining restaurant to a kitchen porter starting a career in a hotel. And with cultural and sporting events taking place throughout the year, seasonal employment opportunities are rarely in short supply, either.

Salaries are also among the most competitive in the Home Counties. According to the latest Blue Arrow data, a head chef can earn over £38,000 annually, while a chef de partie can earn over £24,000 a year.

And for chefs looking to expand their culinary repertoire, the High Wycombe area is home to a host of training opportunities, such as the Catering and Hospitality courses provided by Buckinghamshire College Group. Alternatively, if you find work with a Blue Arrow employer, you may be able to join a Blue Arrow Apprenticeship programmes.

Hospitality and Catering Jobs in High Wycombe

  1. Kitchen Porter High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire £8.21 - £10 per Hour Find out more

Cost of living in High Wycombe

  • Average monthly rent in High Wycombe: £700-£1,400
  • Monthly travel pass: £56 (all forms of public transport)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £45

Owing to its status as a London commuter town, rental prices in High Wycombe may seem a little expensive to outsiders. A 1-bedroom apartment in the town centre costs around £825 per month to rent, while a high-end 3-bedroom house in the suburbs costs around £1,350 per month to rent. However, competitive wages mean plenty is left over to buy new whites or the latest set of knives.

High Wycombe is easy to get around. The town's bus and coach station is located on Bridge Street, and bus routes serve all of the major urban and rural areas. National Express also operates coaches to London and other destinations. As for rail, regular services run to nearby towns as well as to London Marylebone, London Paddington, Birmingham, Reading and Oxford. The two rail companies operating out of High Wycombe are Chiltern Railways and Great Western Railways. By car, the M40 provides a quick escape to London and the Cotswolds.

For newcomers to the town, food and drink can be purchased at the same prices you’d expect in supermarkets anywhere else in the country. It’s also easy to dine out with spending a small fortune. A meal for one at an inexpensive eatery costs around £15, while £45 should be enough for a decent three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant.

Council tax in High Wycombe depends on a number of factors, including the area you live and the value of the property you buy or rent. The cheapest tax band for residents is £1,158.33 while the priciest properties will set you back £3,678.66 a year.

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in High Wycombe

High Wycombe is a market town, so it’s no surprise that a variety of flavours and cuisines are showcased. Whether it’s traditional British pub fare or the tastiest Chinese in the Chilterns, diners in High Wycombe have an eclectic range of options right on their doorstep.

Celebrating the spices of the subcontinent, Kappad Restaurant offers an extensive menu of Keralan fare in a rustic environment. Bluegrass BBQ is an American smokehouse serving hearty smoked cuts of meat, mouth-watering pancakes and craft beers in a casual, chilled space. Located outside of town, The Red Lion Great Kingshill is the go-to venue for locally sourced, classic English pub grub in a contemporary setting. And the stylish lata lata stands out for its unique selling point: “local produce, world recipes.”

Aside from independent restaurants and gastropubs, High Wycombe hosts many of the restaurant chains common in the centres of big cities, including Ask Italian, Zizzi’s, Bill’s, La Bodega, Nando’s, TGI Fridays, Wagamama and Pizza Express. There are also plenty of cafes, tea rooms and bakeries for those who prefer working in a more relaxed daytime setting.

There’s much more to High Wycombe’s catering and hospitality sector than just pubs, cafes and restaurants, with a wide range of job opportunities in the town’s primary and secondary schools, colleges, hotels, care homes and hospitals. The thousands of students attending the Buckinghamshire New University campus in the town centre also require talented staff to meet their food and drink needs, as do football spectators at Adams Park.

No matter whether you’re a head chef, catering assistant, wine sommelier or barista, High Wycombe is a fantastic, unsung town to grow your career.

Blue Arrow High Wycombe
First Floor Prospect House
Crendon Street
High Wycombe 
HP13 6LA

Tel: 01494 474 000
Email: high.wycombe@impellam.com

Branch Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 5:30pm

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