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Top Tips for Recruiting Chefs in 2024

In this current market, recruiting chefs in the hospitality industry is one of the most challenging roles to recruit for. The sector is being forced to change to make working in a kitchen more attractive so is they we recruit and attract chefs.

Is your current chef team happy?

Before you look to recruit new chefs, you need to take an honest look at your current team. There is no point spending time and money recruiting new chefs into an unhappy team and hoping for the best…

You need to address and improve any issues within the kitchen first before you bring in new chefs as it is highly likely they won’t stay long if it’s a poor working environment.

Creating a happy healthy team is your biggest and best recruitment tool.

Having a great working culture within the kitchen is by far the best way to attract new people to the hospitality industry. Chefs are often well-connected and the reputation will travel as a great place to work.

Writing a great job description for chefs

It’s a must and often ignored or not in place. You don’t have to write a job description for every chef position in the kitchen but have a detailed one that covers all the chefs’ levels within the brigade and adapt it to every role, from the pastry chef to the executive chefs.

Look at the things you can do that don’t cost money but at the same time improve the working environment for your chefs.

Write and share rotas as far in advance as possible. Make sure your chefs get fed well and have the breaks they need. Have monthly sit downs and listen to concerns or ideas on how to improve things within the kitchen

What qualities are you looking for in your chefs?

Look through previous experience and get to know the person. The most sought-after personality strengths within chefs are people skills, great organisation skills, passion and the ability to communicate with learning and development chefs around them.

How to attract new chefs

This is multi-level and should be a routine part of any busy kitchen and restaurant.

  • Write clear, concise, honest job adverts
  • Use your social media to tell the story of your chefs and kitchen regularly
  • Create a relationship with local catering colleges
  • Encourage your chefs to explore their network
  • Have a plan
  • Find a good recruiter you know has your back and shouts about you

Be different and create an engaging recruitment process.

A lot of companies hold trial shifts and although we feel there is a place for them, they can often be a disaster. If you have shifts in for a trial make sure they are well planned and with the right people that will be working with them.

Another way to give chefs more of an insight into not only your kitchen but your business is by spending more time with them face to face, possibly inviting them in for a meal. There are several ways of doing this, such as inviting them to a meal, encouraging questions from your prospective chef, and introducing them to the people they would be working with.

Be Honest

If you sell the dream and don’t meet these expectations, you cannot be surprised when your newest chef walks out after just one week.

Talk about the positives but also talk about the challenges you’re facing. Doing this with those who appreciate your honesty will allow chefs coming in to know what to expect from day 1.

There is no secret to recruiting chefs, there is and will probably always be a shortage of good chefs in the hospitality industry. Like most things in life, it’s about getting the basics right.

Treat people well, inspire them, reward them and create something others want to be a part of.