You should help your best chefs to leave you and get a new job. As advice for dramatically improving chef retention that statement, at least on its face, is pure insanity; especially coming from anyone working at a Catering Recruitment Agency. Isn’t it? However, this is not about what is best for us, we’ll survive just fine, this is about what is best for you as a hospitality employer and improved chef retention rates is something I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about. However I know you’re not in the least bit convinced so I encourage you to persist and read on, even if it’s for no other reason than to confirm that you’re right and that I’m off my head. Naturally I’m hoping to convince you I’m not, off my head that is, so please bear with me a while.
Serge Burckel is a Chef with an extremely rich kitchen pedigree which has seen him master his craft with the culinary royalty of French cuisine before going on to win recognition for his own kitchens, on more than one occasion, with both Michelin Stars and enviably high Gault Millau scores. When I first came to learn of Chef Burckel it was to see him referred to in the French press as “L’enfant terrible de la gastronomie française, l’Alsacien Serge Burckel,” in a story about a banquet he was putting coordinating, with his friend Jean-Michel Turin, at the Al Wajbah Palace Qatar.
Why exactly do catering recruitment agencies keep sending me the same curriculum vitae’s, why do I always end up with the usual suspects? Okay, so that is how I am phrasing a statement made to me by a head chef recently, it’s not verbatim but it’s close enough. In fact it was said in a backhanded complimentary way; as an explanation for why this chef was seeking my help with the suggestion embedded that we were likely to be, somehow, a cut above these slovenly under performers. But, as the song goes “it ain’t necessarily so.” Sometimes “how” you use catering recruitment agencies is as important, if not more important, than “which” agency you use.
Can you ask that Chef when would it suit him (or her) to come in for a Chef job trial? That was the sentence which told this budding, as I was then, Chef Recruiter that things had changed quite a lot in the chef job game since I was last working in kitchens. Since then as a Chef Recruiter I’ve set up countless chef job trials and with one exception these have been at the request of a client. As a Chef Recruiter I quite like these trials as they’re almost always a positive signpost in any chef recruitment assignment. Clients usually only ask Chefs in on trial that they’ve a serious interest in and often this leads to a level of comfort being established between Chef and prospective employer conducive to a job offer being made. This we like.
If there is such a place as Chef Jobs hell (aside from the one I inhabit) then there’s a special place reserved there for a certain Sir Chirr Rouchael. To western ears, especially those of us born and raised in the Anglosphere, that might sound like an unlikely name to choose when cooking up a catering & hospitality recruitment scam. You’d assume, wouldn’t you, that any recruitment scammer or shakedown merchant wouldn’t want you to pause, for long enough, while reading his “job pitch” to wonder to yourself about the peculiarities of their fictional name.
Chefs, Foodies, Restaurant Critics and even the general public in Ireland will, in the last 48 hours, have found it difficult not to have noticed a bare knuckle fight has broken out between one of Ireland’s most celebrated Chefs and one of it’s more well known restaurant critics. Chefs, all of them, hate a bad write up and critics, some of them, are believed to relish writing them. A, ahem, recipe for conflict. However until recently it’s been the critic who’s held the whip hand. Not anymore. Oliver Dunne the chef in this brawl has created and successfully steered
In a recent post I raised the question of whether Chefs Pay and Benefits are a Problem in Ireland? In the course of examining the thorny topic of chefs pay I found that before long I got to the subject of competing for chefs, competing for their services and how, it seems to me at least, despite everest sized pile of data that says a real competition is in play, most caterers, hoteliers, and restaurateurs etc have somehow managed to
It’s acknowledged that there is a severe shortage of chefs in Ireland right now. Not just right now, it’s been ongoing for a several years already and employers are really feeling the pain. The jobs are there, but the chefs are not. The job boards are full of employers advertising these jobs and, for the most part, after their campaigns have expired they still have that gaping vacancy they started out with, they’ll be a few hundred euro lighter and they’ll have lost precious time. Then they call us, or someone like us,