Northgate House Head Chef

Working at Buckfast Abbey

Job Title: - Northgate House Head Chef

Location: Buckfast, Devon

Contract type: Permanent

Salary: £30,000

Hours of work: 5 day working week to include weekends

Reporting to: Executive Head Chef

Key relationship: Northgate House Manager


Located at the centre of a picturesque valley on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, Buckfast Abbey is home to a community of Roman Catholic Benedictine Monks, who live their lives of prayer, work, and study according to the ancient rule of St Benedict. 

The heart of our site is the Abbey Church and Monastery – the place in which the Monastic Community lives and prays at various times throughout the day. Our site is historic – the original Abbey being founded in 1018 AD. 

Today, our site is a flourishing complex of buildings which the monks have continually developed to aid them in realising their vision for Buckfast - to be a national centre of witness to God, and the Roman Catholic faith. To that end, the community places a great value upon hospitality, and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. 

Our site includes beautiful gardens, a restaurant, multiple retail outlets, a conference centre, and a broad range of guest accommodation. To aid them in operating and maintaining the site, the community employs over a hundred members of staff, and offers a variety of interesting and rewarding career opportunities.


A warm and welcoming hospitality is at the heart of what we offer as a Roman Catholic Benedictine Community. We are dedicated to delivering excellence in our hospitality to visitors. We provide our customers with the highest quality service and value. Our enthusiastic team provides a unique and memorable experience. We are passionate about exceeding our guests’ expectations. 

Role purpose

An experienced Chef with genuine passion for providing exceptional food using local and seasonal produce, taking pride in both its creation and execution and to manage Northgate House kitchen.  The role is hands-on and you will be ready to adapt during busy times, making sure all dishes reach high standards, safe and well presented. The role will include creating all menus, cooking, food prep, recipes, following current systems, managing stock and orders.

You will be a strong communicator and motivated, since you will be responsible for guiding and leading  the Catering Assistants in supporting the kitchen.  You will have a can-do attitude with a motivation for delivering an incredible guest experience.

Whilst this role will be based at Northgate House Restaurant, all Buckfast Abbey Chefs are required to work in other kitchens on site should the need arise. 

Main Responsibilities

This job description is intended to provide an outline of the key tasks and responsibilities only. There may be other duties reasonably requested of the post holder commensurate to the position of Northgate House Head Chef

  • Drive and ambition to manage a kitchen in a calm and organised manner
  • Broad knowledge of food and cooking techniques
  • Ability to produce consistent quality dishes under time and volume pressure
  • Uncompromising in your application of hygiene and food safety standards
  • Ability and experience to manage all routine kitchen stock control, administration and security
  • Evening, weekend and special function working 
  • Hands on experience of planning menus, events and manage all ordering and control of stock
  • Solid leadership and training qualities, enthusiastic and able to motivate a team to achieve excellent standards
  • To ensure compliance with food safety systems (HACCP) and all record keeping
  • To keep up to date with training requirements and attend training when required
  • Ensure all menus are costed correctly so they fit within the business profit margins
  • Have a balance of creativity as well as financial awareness, ensuring minimum wastage within the kitchen
  • Ensure meals are produced on time, and sufficient quantities are available
  • Portion size and control /keep cost reports/develop relationships with existing and new suppliers and manage deliveries/report any issues
  • Teach new skills in food production and presentation, coach staff to improve on their skills 

Person Specification – Skills, Personal Qualities and Requirements 

  • An experienced Chef with a track record in a similar position 
  • Qualifications in health and safety procedures
  • Punctual and trustworthy
  • Ability to motivate others with a passion for great food
  • Excellent communication skills with an attention to detail
  • Ability to solve problems and think on your feet
  • Willingness to take initiative and make considered decisions
  • Ability to delegate tasks effectively
  • Driving licence
  • Experience of working in a busy catering environment
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • A discreet and confidential manner that reflects a high level of integrity
  • Effective organisation skills and the ability to manage time effectively
  • An empathy with the values, ethos and culture of our site

Our Values, Ethos and Culture

Confidentiality: As an employee, you must maintain confidentiality of information about other employees as well as the intellectual property of Buckfast Abbey and be aware of the Data Protection Act 2018. 

Standards of Professional Conduct: We expect all employees to maintain the highest standards of conduct at all times, acting as a positive ambassador for the Abbey. The Employee Handbook sets out these expectations. Copies are available for every new employee.

Health & Safety: All employees should be aware of the responsibility placed on them under the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) to ensure that agreed safety procedures are carried out to maintain a safe environment. Further information relating to this is detailed on the Health and Safety signage around the site. Our efforts to promote and operate within an effective safety culture can only succeed with the full co-operation of all its employees. 

Equality & Diversity: All employees are required to treat all co-workers and visitors to our site equally, respectfully and with dignity, regardless of age, disability, gender, marriage and personal partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. All employees must abide by these principles and comply with our policies and strategies that underpin this ethos. 

Safeguarding: Employees should be aware of their responsibility to report any unacceptable behaviour / safeguarding issues in a confidential and timely manner to the Independent Safeguarding Co-ordinator. 

Training and Professional Development: To attend all training courses as required and proactively engage in our personal development processes.

Communication: To attend staff and team meetings; this includes 1-2-1 meetings with line management. To keep appropriate, clear, accurate and timely records as required of the role and in line with our policies and legislation. 

Team working: To liaise with, co-operate with and support all employees in a positive way that fosters good working relationships and collaboratively meets our objectives.

Flexibility: Employees may be asked to undertake other duties, as appropriate, which are considered reasonable and equal to the post as described above. 

Culture: Buckfast Abbey is a place of community, where everyone will show respect and dignity towards each other, towards all members of the Monastic Community and guests, be approachable and friendly and have empathy with the Catholic ethos of the site. 

To apply: please submit a CV to

Download an application form here

Please send it to: 

HR Department
Buckfast Abbey