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Common chef recruitment problems and how to solve them

Posted: March 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Finding experienced, skilled and qualified chefs isn’t easy when the candidates who apply for the jobs you advertise often don’t cut the mustard, and especially so when you need quality staff at short notice. Your kitchen has to run smoothly with a full complement of staff and your precious time can’t be taken up with those who really don’t have the knowledge to hit the ground running.

Those looking to hire chefs and other catering staff often find the issues are:keyboard-417090_640

  • Finding candidates with skills and qualifications which can be evidenced
  • The calibre of candidates applying for jobs
  • Crisis staffing situations

Candidates with verified qualifications and skills

It seems simple enough. Advertise directly for staff and you’ll receive applications covering a multitude of levels of skill and experience. Interviews are then set up for those who seem – on first reading of their CV– to be excellent candidates equipped with the experience you need and the qualifications to match.job-search-276893_640

The problems come when all is not as it seems. Qualification certificates can’t be produced, references are not forthcoming and those who claim to have worked as a chef without formal qualifications can’t provide names of former employers who could give testimony to their background. Worse still is someone who is hired but then can’t actually do the job. They put on a good show at interview, but the reality is that it was all smoke and mirrors.

Calibre of candidate

You need candidates who are dedicated to their work, passionate about food and strive to create beautifully presented meals for customers. You also need chefs who don’t mind working long hours in pressurised environments and are willing to go the extra mile for an extra busy situations like large conferences or weddings.


The catering world is constantly hungry for staff and it certainly can be a challenge to find high calibre candidates to interview. Whilst there may be many college graduates you can talk to regarding entry level positions that are keen but inexperienced, at the other end of the career ladder there are lesser numbers for the more senior positions. This can mean you don’t find the best person for the job.

The need for staff in a crisis

Holidays and illness can mean gaps in the kitchen team and if combined with a major event that evening, the remaining staff may be stretched to breaking point. This can easily lead to poor quality food being produced in a rush or there being so few staff that service is slow. Neither situation will lead to any kind of customer satisfaction.

There’re also times when you may need extra skilled hands for a one-off event such as providing food at a music festival. At times like this you need to know you can find temporary chefs for short periods of time and that they will turn up, do the job and instantly be part of the team.


Work with an agency with a strong reputation in finding the staff you need

The solution to such catering recruitment issues is to work with a specialist chef agency. They will take away the stress of finding candidates and the cost of paying for expensive adverts for vacancies, and will give you the peace of mind as you know that can call on them at short notice.

An agency with a strong background in recruiting chefs will have already checked into those looking for work and so whether it’s a permanent post for a Sous chef you need to fill, or a highly skilled Head chef for a few days to cover sick leave, they will only be a phone call away.

Don’t leave the future of your kitchen to chance by hoping that you’ll automatically have strong candidates applying for positions, chefs who can prove themselves at interview – and beyond, or have a bank of temporary staff you can call on at a moment’s notice. Talk to a chef recruitment agency which knows the industry. Let them know your requirements and then relax knowing that your team will be back to full strength within days or even hours.

If you have any questions about Chef Recruitment then please get in touch to discuss your requirements.