Hiring the Right Chef for your restaurant

Unless you are the chef for your new restaurant, hiring the right chef may be your most formidable task. Cooking is not only a demanding profession, but also a science, as anyone who has learned to cook anything may attest. As in any profession, levels of skill and talent vary, so you should have a good idea of what you expect. The professional chef has many responsibilities, including food preparation, menu management and pricing, inventory control, purchasing, and staff hiring and scheduling. Poor management of any of these may mean failure for your restaurant.

Word-of-mouth is probably the best way to begin your search for a chef. The restaurant world is not as large as one might think and an opportunity to work in the very restaurant you’re planning may be exactly what some chef is seeking. This is where your own research, planning, and vision may help connect you with the ideal candidate. Know what you want. Know what you offer. Accept and keep all CV’s until you’re ready to make a decision. Keep in mind that an experienced chef may be able to expand her or his cooking repertoire – within limits. On balance, strong management skills are worth serious consideration too, especially in newer restaurants.

You’re looking for a chef comfortable with the style of your particular restaurant. The person you hire will determine the appeal of the menu, the quality of food preparation, food costs, and the happiness and efficiency of your kitchen and dining room staffs. And you want to retain an experienced and reliable staff for as long as possible. That way, they’ll be able to participate in various tasks and become professionally more versatile and more valuable to your business. Your chef should be knowledgeable about all aspects of food purchasing, inventory control, food preparation, and staff management.

Good staff morale is crucial to the success of your restaurant. Think about that restaurant you’ve never gone back to, all because of the miserable staff. (We’ve all been to at least one of these establishments.) The right chef will ensure that customers praise your professional staff – and return to your restaurant. As important as the food is the quality of the service. As every successful restauranteur knows, dining is always about more than a good meal. The experience should always be memorable.

About Diccon Wright

Christopher Diccon Wright is a restaurateur and property specialist who has established and grown successful operations in the UK and Mediterranean. He has also worked on a consultancy and advisory basis for a wide range of food and property clients.