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The catering and hospitality sector in Norwich

  • Head chef salary (September 2019) in Norwich: £28,000 a year / £14.36 per hour
  • Sous chef salary (September 2019) in Norwich: £26,230 a year / £12.74 per hour
  • Chef de partie salary (September 2019) in Norwich: £23,570 a year / £10.13 per hour

Thanks to its geographical isolation in East Anglia, the city of Norwich has developed a unique character all of its own. A vibrant and compact city that effortlessly blends the old and new, the urban and rural, Norwich is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. And with a truly inclusive and progressive atmosphere, few cities in England are quite as easy to settle in as a newcomer. There’s much more to Norfolk’s county town than Alan Partridge and plans for pedestrianisation.

Up until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the second-largest city in England after London. This proud legacy has not been forgotten, and Norwich is the best-preserved medieval city in the UK. Historical attractions include Norwich Castle; Norwich Cathedral; the cobbled streets of Timber Hill, Tombland and Elm Street; ancient buildings such as St Andrew's Hall; and half-timbered cultural treasures such as Dragon Hall. A trip to Adam and Eve, a pub dating back to 1249, is also a must.

The surrounding countryside is equally special. The Broads, a low-lying area of navigable rivers, lakes and canals, is the only National Park in the country to have a city located in it. Nothing says rural escapism like an idyllic barge trip up the River Wensum.

The city is also a mainstay of the arts, education and culture. The University of East Anglia (UEA) is ranked in the top one per cent of world universities and is a world leader for literature and creative writing. The literary bug is part of the city’s fabric: in 2012, Norwich was the first city in England to be awarded UNESCO City of Literature status. Former resident and UEA alumnus Kazuo Ishiguro would be proud, as would Norfolk native and modern renaissance man, Stephen Fry.

Norwich is a great place to work. In 2016, the Guardian named it the happiest place to work in the UK. And with a thriving food and drink culture — including one of the UK’s best craft beer scenes — it’s also one of the best places for catering and hospitality professionals to find employment.

Major employers in the sector include the High Street, Norwich Shopping Centre, Carrow Road (the home of Premier League upstarts, Norwich City FC), Great Hospital, and the city’s two universities. And with hundreds of restaurants, bars, cafes and more, employment in the city is available throughout the year.

As for pay, the most up-to-date Blue Arrow data suggests that the average salary for a head chef is around under £30,000 a year, while a talented chef de partie can earn around £23,500 a year.

Finally, if you’re a chef looking to upskill, Norwich is also home to several industry-recognised training courses to help you master your craft. Professionals who work for a Blue Arrow employer can also enhance their career with one of our Blue Arrow Apprenticeships.

Find out how much you can earn in Norwich

Cost of living in Norwich

  • Average monthly rent in Norwich: £600-£1,100
  • Monthly travel pass: £63 (all forms of public transport)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £50

Wages go a long way in Norwich, which has a surprisingly affordable cost of living. To rent a 1-bedroom apartment just outside of the city centre, you’ll have to spend around £470.88 per month. At the other end of the scale, a plush 3-bedroom city centre apartment will set you back £1,023.08. And thanks to competitive wages, you’ll have enough to purchase new chefswear or enjoy the real ale scene on days off.

Arguably the biggest drawback to life in Norwich is its remote location on land that juts out into the North Sea. Though it’s easy to get to East Anglian destinations such as King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Ipswich, as well as London, Manchester and Cambridge, getting to the rest of the country via rail often requires changing at other locations. That said, the Norwich to London Liverpool Street train (operated by Greater Anglia) takes less than two hours, meaning it’s easy to get to the capital.

Across the Norwich area, public transport is cheap and efficient. The local bus network connects all parts of the city with the suburbs and surrounding towns and villages, with an adult day pass costing £4.80.

For newcomers to the city, food and drink can be purchased at the same prices you’d expect in supermarkets anywhere else in the country. There’s also plenty of fresh, local produce on offer at reasonable rates from the city’s famous market. In Norwich, it’s easy to dine out with spending an arm and a leg. A meal for one at an inexpensive eatery costs around £14.50, while £50 should be enough for a decent three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant.

Council tax in Norwich 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 £1,252.97 while the most expensive is £3,758.90 a year.

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Norwich

Norfolk’s rich, fertile land and 84 miles of coastline have long made it a great location for the freshest food and drink ingredients. As the only city in the county, Norwich continues to reap the rewards.

Seasonal cuisine and traditional pub fare are all the rage in Norwich. Chef-proprietor Roger Hickman’s restaurant is the pinnacle of haute cuisine in the city; a perfect location for a special occasion. At Benedicts, head chef Richard Bainbridge celebrates the best of Norfolk produce by combining comfort food and haute cuisine in a laid-back bistro. A little further down St Benedicts Street is Farmyard, a neon-lit, psychedelic, ‘bistronomy’-style restaurant that adds ambience and affordability to the fine dining experience.

British food is only a blip on the culinary radar, however. Just about every cuisine is represented here, from Indian street food to stylish Italian trattorias. Located near the cathedral in Tombland, the Japanese restaurant Shiki is the perfect place for some refuelling after a long day of walking around town. Donnelli’s Pizzeria, Brick Pizza and Saporita are hard to beat for an authentic wood-fired pizza experience. And Goulash House is a popular, family-run Hungarian eatery with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Other favourites include all-day breakfast at The Iron House; innovative small plates at Woolf & Social; sophisticated hotel dining at WinePress; plant-based tapas and cocktails at The Tipsy Vegan; and hearty pub grub at the upmarket Warwick Street Social. As for pubs, there are too many fantastic establishments to name, but here’s a handy list of the best watering holes that Norwich has to offer.

For something a little more familiar, Norwich city centre has a wide selection of national and international chain restaurants, including Cote Brasserie, ASK Italian, Prezzo, Wagamama, Turtle Bay, Nando’s, Zizzi, Bill’s and Pizza Express. Cafe culture is also thriving, with the town’s many delis and bistros providing a relaxing daytime working environment. Of these, Applaud Coffee and the waterfront’s Le Tour Cycle Cafe are arguably the cream of the crop.

In addition to bars, restaurants and cafes, there are top-class universities (the University of East Anglia; Norwich University of the Arts (NUA)), sports venues (Carrow Road), and hotels (including all the major chains such as Holiday Inn, Mercure and Premier Inn) that require catering and hospitality professionals throughout the year. Great opportunities can also be found in the city’s hundreds of primary schools and dozens of secondary and special schools, as well as in its hospitals and care homes.

From a kitchen porter in a swanky hotel to a sous chef in a down-to-earth gastropub, catering and hospitality jobs in Norwich have never been so abundant.

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Where to find  Blue Arrow in Norwich

Blue Arrow Norwich
1st Floor,
9 Bank Plain
Norwich 
NR2 4SF

Tel: 01603 615 121
Email: norwich@bluearrow.co.uk

Branch Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:30pm

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Latest Hospitality and catering Jobs in Norwich

    There are no Chef roles in Norwich being advertised at the moment.  Please contact our Norwich branch on 01603 615 121 to see how we can help you with your job search.