Looking to Hire A Chef for A Restaurant? Here’s What You Need to Know!

A chef is an integral part of any restaurant. He has many other roles to play in a restaurant besides cooking. He oversees the kitchen department, trains news kitchen staff, and even provides input on marketing strategies. It would help if you kept some things in mind while hiring a chef for a restaurant.

What Type of Chef do you Require?

There are different types of chefs according to their duties, experiences, and the ranks they possess. First, you must decide what kind of chef you require for your restaurant.

Head Chef

A head chef is the second-highest-ranking chef in the restaurant. He oversees the complete operations of a kitchen. Depending on the restaurant, a head chef sometimes oversees the running of the whole restaurant too. He is a highly skilled individual familiar with a restaurant’s ins and outs.

His duties include planning and preparing menus, deciding on the other staff in the kitchen, coordinating work in the kitchen, and ensuring the production of quality foods. A Head chef must have years of experience working as a lower-order chef and a formal education in culinary arts.

Executive Chef

An executive chef is the highest-ranking chef in a restaurant. His responsibilities include purchasing essentials for the kitchen, making sure the preparations are in order, planning new menus and recipes, etc.

An executive chef generally does very little cooking, manages the culinary budget, and needs to have experience both in culinary and management.

Sous Chef

There might be more than one sous chef in a restaurant. A sous chef, also known as a deputy chef, will fall directly below the head chef in the kitchen hierarchy. He is involved in cooking, preparation of recipes, and managing day-to-day activities inside the kitchen.

Specialty Chefs

A specialty chef is hired for their excellence and experience in preparing one or more specific dishes. They also have to carry out the responsibilities of a sous chef. Sometimes they are hired for their specialty in just one dish. Specialists chefs generally have a backing degree or equal education in culinary and work experience.

Line Chefs

There will be many line chefs in a restaurant. They prepare food and will have specialised responsibilities like preparing vegetables, frying, grilling, etc. They will have little or no experience and might be coming straight from a cooking school.

Others

Depending on each restaurant, there will be other types of chefs too. Some might not have an executive chef, and the head chef might be in charge. There are kitchen porters who help the chefs in the preparation of food. There is also the pastry chef and the garde manger chef.

A pastry chef is responsible for the planning and preparation of all pastries, including bread items. He must be creative in preparing and designing desserts beautifully. A Garge manager chef will have special culinary training in preparing salsas, cold sauces, pickles, chutneys, and relishes. The chef focuses on cold food preparation and prepares vinaigrettes and dressings too.

Prepare A Checklist When You Hire a Chef for a Restaurant

1. Academic Qualifications – Degree in Culinary Art or Science

A chef, the backbone of a restaurant and kitchen, must be qualified to handle the high pressures of the kitchen world. After deciding which type of chef is required, you must ensure they have the necessary educational qualification. Restaurants must look for a chef who has a degree in culinary arts or science.

2. Certifications and Specialized Training – Hotel Management, Cuisine, Others

If a candidate has had some training during his graduation or diploma, it will undoubtedly benefit the hiring restaurant. While hiring a chef for your restaurant, you must also check if the candidate has any specialized training or certifications. This means that the candidate is trusted by others and also has experience working in the field.

3. Specific Background and Proven Abilities – Bigger Restaurant, Small Commerce, Customer Order Management, Food Quality, Etc.

Depending on the requirement, the management must also find out about the candidate’s previous working experience, achievements and behavior. Management can contact the previous employer and find out the candidates’ certificates during the selection process. This also helps the management get an overall idea about the candidates’ abilities.

4. Exceptional Knowledge About Food Preparation and Presentation

A chef candidate must have extensive Knowledge about food preparation presentations. Certain food items must be decorated and presented to make the customers come back for more—a person with practical Knowledge about all that will be a massive benefit for the restaurant.

5. Experience in Overseeing Assembly Lines, Improving Cook Performance

A head chef, executive chef, or even sous chef is responsible for overseeing assembly lines and improving cooking performance. They have to ensure customers’ orders are delivered professionally and there is no miscommunication. They must coordinate the whole kitchen staff and ensure there is no unnecessary delay or compromise in the food quality.

6. Understanding of Standards, Rules, And Health, Safety, Hygiene Management

Restaurants looking to hire chefs must make sure that the person understands the business’s rules, standards, and hygienic and safety measures. It is a field where health and hygiene are of the utmost importance.

Proper training must be given to all selected candidates to make them aware of the general restaurant rules and health and safety measures.

7. Creativity and Innovation

A chef is a part of the team who must contribute to the restaurant’s success. Keeping that in mind, the management must evaluate what the person brings to the table regarding creativity. He must be innovative enough to bring up new ideas about menus, dishes, or even serving methods that will contribute to the success of a restaurant.

How to Source and Hire A Chef for Your Restaurant

1. Consult with A Chef Recruiter, Share Requirements and Preferences

It’s always best to consult with a professional recruiter first. You can provide them with your preferences and requirements, and they will start the process of headhunting the right person for the job.

This is proven to get better results and avoid time wastage. The money you spend on the recruiter will most probably be compensated in the long run by the work of the selected candidate.

2. Find A Shortlist of Candidates (Local, Nationwide, Global Chef Talent Pools)

It is always easier to select candidates for the following steps if you have a shortlist of the probable candidates for the job. Depending on the selection, you can get a shortlist of candidates from the local, national, or global networks. A professional recruitment agency can do this.

3. 4-5-Step Screening Process – Cooking Methods, Styles, Etiquettes, Time Management, Etc. (Virtual or On-site)

The next step is screening the candidates selected from the shortlist to choose them for the final selection. It shouldn’t be just a one-time interview. The candidates must undergo an extensive screening process, both virtual in the initial stages and on-site after the candidate passes the initial procedure.

The cooking methods, etiquettes, styles, time management, ability to work under pressure, Knowledge of the industry, safety, and hygiene must be tested in four to five screening stages. The management and experts must make the selection in the areas.

4. Background and Reference Checks of Selected Candidates

After selecting the candidates through screening, the management must cross-check the background and references provided by the candidates again to check for any mismatches or history of misdemeanors. They can check the person’s credentials and also contact the previous employer.

5. Assess Soft Skills – Temperament, Eye for Detail, Leadership, People Skills

Among the selected candidates, preference must be given to the candidates with good temperament, leadership skills, communication, and an eye for detail.

These are all essential qualifications for a good chef. The management can ask questions, give real-time situations, or even ask them to perform specific tasks during the screening that test their skills.

6. Negotiations and Contract Offer

The required candidate is selected after all these steps. The final step in the selection process is negotiations and accepting the offer. The management offers a pay structure and other essential aspects of the job.

The candidate can negotiate their terms. Once both parties reach an agreement, the contract letter is offered. The candidate reads it carefully and signs.

Conclusion

Hiring a chef for a restaurant‘ can be a long and tiring process. It must be done with utmost care as you are selecting the backbone of your restaurant.

The selection can either grow or damage the restaurant’s reputation. But careful planning and preparation make the job easier and more successful.

Alliance Recruitment Agency

Alliance Recruitment Agency is one of the best companies to consult when hiring a chef for your restaurant. We are a global team with a history of countless successful recruitments in hospitality.

Many top names in the business trust Alliance Recruitment Agency for their recruitment needs. Their team of trained chef headhunters will help you get the right chef according to your needs, no matter how big or small your restaurant is. Make the right choice by trusting Alliance Recruitment Agency and enjoy success.

Author: Kyra Chawla

Director & Founder of Alliance International (India , Gulf ,UK & USA) Experienced professional in Human Resource Management, alliance international took on us to service corporate in different Industries across the geography with Human Capital Management.

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