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How to Hire the Perfect Head Chef

Opening a new restaurant may rely on finding the right premises – that’s why Restaurant Property is here of course – but finding a great chef to run it is just as important. Your vision for your new restaurant is only going to be enacted by the right personnel who share your ideas for how to create a compelling, popular and thriving place to eat.

Talent is not always easy to find, or to spot, and the process of recruiting can be difficult. We have a partnership with Neil Graham, the Managing Director of SpaYse, the top hospitality recruitment specialist, and can help you find some of the top talent available.

How do you know when you’ve found the perfect head chef?

Neil and his team, eat, sleep and dream about chefs. Finding the chefs of tomorrow today is how SpaYse International has built its reputation as the market leader. According to Neil, “Recruiting from all four corners of the globe the calibre of chefs they find is exceptional, no matter if the client is the who’s who of the restaurant world or simply a small independent operator, SpaYse has the contacts, the connections and the know how to find the right person for your team.”

But matching talent to the right restaurant is just as important, so how do you know when you’ve found the perfect head chef? The most important thing is to ask the right questions, which means understanding your own needs.


Experience cooking the food you want to serve

This is perhaps the most obvious thing a head chef can do. There’s little point recruiting a Michelin-starred chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu if you plan to open the best rib shack in town. So drill down into the sort of menu you want to create and make sure that the experience on the page matches your experience of the taste on the plate. Draw up a shortlist and ask each candidate to develop a dish and cook it for you. There’s no substitute for seeing, smelling and tasting the product.


Creativity and attention to detail

A head chef should be able to design a compelling menu and refresh it regularly, so you’ll need to discuss their ideas. Beyond the single interview dish they prepare, your candidates should be able to give a broad brush idea of the sort of menu they would like to fulfil every day. Having the creativity to be able to adapt to changing suppliers and to provide the same high-level service every day and to every customer is a must-have.

Budgeting on food

A creative menu designed by an excellent cook is only half the story. They need to be able to deliver dishes within your budget, and your customers’ budgets too. That means understanding numbers and quantities, and also having the energy to source ingredients that might be hard to find and deal with local suppliers.


Leadership, communication and time-management

Unless you’re planning to open a bijou pop-up, your head chef will have other cooks and food preparers reporting to him or her. Their style in the high-pressure environment of a working kitchen is important, particularly if you want to attract and retain talent rather than constantly recruiting replacements.


All businesses rely on creating successful teams who can work productively with one another. For help in creating your team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Restaurant Property to discuss your requirements – visit our Hospitality Recruitment page for more information.

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