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Assessment in Marine Cookery Course

Broaden your culinary horizons and attain your practical qualification towards becoming a chef at sea


Elevate your skills to new heights in this professional course


Best suited for people with moderate culinary experience


Externally accredited professional course



The Leiths’ Assessment in Marine Cookery is a three day assessment for working food professionals who want to gain the qualifications required to become a chef at sea. This assessment contributes towards the Ship’s Cook Certificate, that is a mandatory requirement for all chefs wanting to work on UK-registered commercial vessels operating more than 60 miles offshore and with 10 or more seafarers on board.

Leiths took over delivery of this qualification from Tante Marie Culinary Academy in 2019 and is now one of only two places in the UK where you can undertake this assessment. Over the three days, you will complete a two-day cooking assessment and a theory exam, taking place in the Leiths’ state-of-the-art professional kitchens.

Please note the Leiths’ assessment only forms part of the overall certification process for the Ship’s Cook Certificate. Under the MCA’s certification criteria, to achieve the overall certificate you must also have completed the Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering with face-to-face training, a Standards of Training Certification, Watchkeeping (STCW) basic safety courses and possess a current Medical Fitness Certificate. These are not covered in the Leiths assessment. Once all achieved, successful candidates can then apply to the MCA for their Ships’ Cook Certificate and be well on their way to becoming a qualified chef at sea.


The Assessment in Marine Cookery is suitable for working chefs or food professionals that want to gain their Ship’s Cook Certificate to qualify them to chef out at sea on commercial vessels.  

Course Content

Course Structure

This assessment is run across three days, including one evening/afternoon session and two days.  

A typical course schedule will consist of: 

Day 1: Afternoon 

A theory examination covering: 

  • Kitchen operations, costs and menu planning 
  • Applying work place skills 
  • Healthier foods and special diets 
  • Cultural and religious catering requirements 
  • Dietary requirements of shift workers 


Once all candidates have completed the theory assessment, they will receive a briefing on kitchen orientation and skills. 

Candidates will then be issued with the recipes on which they will be practically assessed, enabling them to prepare for the assessment. 

Day 2: 

A one-day practical, kitchen-based assessment in: 

  • Pastry 
  • Bakery 
  • Desserts 


Candidates will be provided with a menu for assessment the day before.  

Candidates will be assessed on hot and cold desserts, bread and pastry. 

All competencies and food preparation requirements for assessment can be found in MCA MSN 1846 Document, Annex 2, which can be found here. 

Day 3: 

A one-day practical, kitchen-based assessment in: 

  • Soups 
  • Starters 
  • Meats 
  • Fish 
  • Poultry 
  • Vegetables 


Candidates will be provided with a menu for assessment the day before.  

Candidates will then prepare, cook, finish, serve and evaluate each dish under assessment conditions. 

The Chef Assessor will confirm the ranges covered and if competency has been demonstrated. Candidates may be asked additional verbal questions to ensure knowledge and competency in the skills assessment module. 

Candidates will be allowed to take breaks during the assessment according to their own time management skills. Any breach of safe food practices or health and safety working practices will result in failure of the assessment. 

Areas Covered

Areas which will be covered will include the relevant MCA requirements, namely: 

  • Health and safety 
  • Kitchen operations, costs and menu planning 
  • Dietary requirements of shift workers 
  • Applying workplace skills 
  • Cultural and religious requirements 
  • Healthier foods and special diets 


A number of learning outcomes will be covered within the kitchen practical assessment and in addition, some of the criteria will also be covered in the theory assessment. Full details of the criteria can be found in MCA MSN 1846 Annex 2. 

Cookery skills: 

The key food knowledge and preparation areas to be covered in both the theoretical written examination and the practical assessment will be the preparation and cookery of: 

  • Soups and sauces 
  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Meat and offal 
  • Poultry  
  • Fish and shellfish 
  • Rice, pasta, grains and egg dishes 
  • Desserts and puddings 
  • Bakery products


Preparation & Assessment

Revision and Preparation:  

You should allow at least half a day to review the content for the theory assessment on Day 1. 


The overall outcome of assessment by Leiths chef assessors will be determined as ‘Competent’ or ‘Not Competent’. 

Theory Assessment:  

This is a written examination which has a total of 60 questions: 40 multiple choice and 20 marks for written answers, consisting of 5 questions worth 4 marks each. 

The required pass mark is 70%. 

Practical assessments: 

The outcome of these assessments will be decided by teachers and assessors at Leiths and will be determined as either ‘Competent’ or ‘Not Competent’.


Leiths School of Food and Wine will provide successful candidates with a recognised Assessment Award to submit to the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA). Candidates must complete the Application for UK (MLC) Ship’s Cook Certificate of Competency (SCC) using application form MSF4395.

Please note that this Certificate of Competency will constitute part of the MCA certification and applicants will also need to comply with the additional requirements as outlined in MCA MSN 1846, Section 3, which can be found here 


To be eligible to take this assessment, candidates must: 

  • Be aged 18 or over 
  • Have all fees settled in full, at time of booking 
  • Have competent spoken and written English and numeracy skills, including using a calculator 
  • Have reviewed the revision material

Booking & Fees

Book and secure your place: 

To book, click ‘Book now’ at the top of the page and select your preferred date. To secure your place, you will need to pay the full cost of the assessment upon booking, complete our enrolment form. This form will be sent over to you by email along with further information after booking by our Bookings Team.  

You will also be asked to supply our Bookings Team with a CV, covering application letter, copies of your cookery certificates, HABC or equivalent for Food Safety.  

Payments for professional courses must be made by either bank transfer, cheque or a debit/credit card payment. We do not accept American Express. 


What to bring:

  • Chef’s whites 
  • Closed toed, flat soled shoes 
  • Apron, if preferred  
  • A notebook and pencil 

Allergies and Intolerances

We are happy to make adjustments where possible.

Please read our full policy on allergies and dietary restrictions here.