The Worshipful Company of Cooks admits people by patrimony, redemption, or invitation.
A new member is first admitted to the Freedom of the Company - Freeman - by virtue of their trade craft in the catering sector (redemption), links to the City of London (redemption), family connections (patrimony), a combination of these, or, in exceptional circumstances, by special invitation. The Company admits men and women.
Honorary Freeman is a category restricted to individuals specially chosen by the Court for: their services to the catering trade; in recognition of holding senior position in the Armed Forces; or, for exceptional service to the Cooks Company.
In time, Honorary Freemen are invited to ‘convert’ to the Freedom.
The Company exceptionally invites those chef apprentices, who complete both NVQ Levels 2 & 3 in Professional Cookery at Westminster Kingsway College under the Worshipful Company of Cooks Apprenticeship Programme, to join the Company as Apprentice Cooks. After a minimum of four years, Apprentice Cooks may join the Company as Freemen.
Progress through the Company
Freemen who have served actively for a minimum of three years, and who have also been additionally admitted as Freemen of the City of London, can then be admitted to the Livery up to the Company’s maximum complement of 75. Liverymen may further progress to the Court after the appropriate service and time up to the maximum compliment of 29. Members of the Court will ordinarily be expected to serve as an Officer of the Company culminating in Master for one year.
All of the Company’s admission, membership, and progression is goverened by Royal Charter.