“Too many cooks in the kitchen” is a phrase we’re all familiar with, but have you ever wondered how cooks get into the kitchen to begin with? If you’re curious about how to land a job as a chef, this guide is for you! Whether you’re an aspiring chef, an experienced chef, or a restaurant owner searching for top talent, we’ve got you covered.
How to find a job as a chef
1. Staffing agencies/services
One way that aspiring chefs can find jobs is through staffing agencies that specialize in the food and beverage industry. These agencies work with a variety of restaurants and other establishments to fill kitchen positions. With access to a large pool of chefs, these agencies are a great way to get your foot in the door and be seen by multiple hiring managers.
Agencies also benefit restaurant owners by providing them with a steady stream of qualified candidates, allowing restaurateurs to focus on other areas of their business. Whether you’re a restaurant owner or chef, see if you can find any opportunities through a staffing agency.
2. On-demand staffing services
With the rapid pace that technology is moving, it’s no surprise that many things are available to us at the push of a button. Hiring for kitchen staff is no exception. On-demand staffing services such as Qwick have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Not only do these services provide talented chefs with a platform to showcase their skills, but they also allow business owners to post job openings and reach a larger pool of qualified candidates. Qwick’s platform connects pre-vetted culinary talent with businesses in need of kitchen staff.
Platforms like Qwick offer flexibility in hiring (allowing businesses to put up job postings for full-time staff or temporary positions), while also attracting valuable new team members to the business. A win-win in our book!
3. Restaurant job boards
Job boards are essential for job seekers and business owners alike. Here are some great free and paid options:
- Culinary Agents: A niche job board that connects employers with food and beverage professionals from all levels of experience. The platform features applicant filtering tools, candidate matching, job post distribution, and access to a marketplace. Job listings are distributed to over 500 partner sites making it easy for job seekers to find your listing and apply.
- Poached Jobs: A popular restaurant job board and employment marketplace, Poached Jobs helps job seekers and employers connect by showcasing restaurant jobs from thousands of locations. Whether you’re a business looking for a sous chef or a culinary school graduate looking for their first job, Poached Jobs has got you covered.
- Sirvo: Sirvo is a job board that focuses on streamlining the hiring process and connecting employers with culinary talent quickly and easily. Candidates can enjoy a robust collection of job postings while employers can feel good knowing that their posting is being seen by thousands of qualified candidates. With features like access to a resume database, a built-in applicant tracking system, and a dedicated company page, Sirvo makes it easy for employers to find their next great head chef, executive chef, or line cook in no time.
Pro tips: Post to multiple job boards to boost your efforts.
A referral from a trusted source is another great way to land a gig. After all, the best people to vouch for a chef’s skills are other chefs! Additionally, research has shown that employees who are hired through a referral are more likely to stay at a job longer and are more productive.
How to identify great culinary talent as a restaurateur/hiring manager
Trying to identify culinary talent for your establishment can be a challenge. Being a successful chef requires skills well beyond the kitchen. Below are some of the skills and qualifications that you should be looking for as you hire a chef. Feel free to incorporate these as you’re writing a chef job description.
1. Ability to multitask & attention to detail
Chefs are responsible for a variety of tasks in the kitchen. From kitchen management to the cooking itself, chefs must balance the many duties that come with the position. On top of this, having a chef who’s detail-oriented will allow your kitchen to run more efficiently and effectively. A detail-obsessed chef will be able to maintain food quality and provide the best dining experience for all guests.
2. Top-notch cooking skills
Although it sounds obvious, the best chefs are those who are able to let their food speak for itself. That’s why, during the interview process, it’s important to sample a chef’s food. By requesting a selection of their dishes before moving forward in the process, you’re able to get a sense of a chef’s food preparation practices, the quality of their food, as well as the quality of their service.
3. The right attitude & commitment
The day-to-day responsibilities of restaurant chefs can be demanding and often stressful. That’s why it’s important to find someone who can persevere while contributing to a positive work environment. Also, find a chef who acknowledges that learning is ongoing, whether or not they have a culinary arts degree. Lastly, establish whether leadership skills are important for this particular role.
In the fast-paced restaurant industry, finding a job or (finding talent) can be a daunting task — these avenues are a great start! Be sure to stay connected to a community like Chef Works’ Facebook group Table 1807 for even more networking opportunities.