Your chef is one of the key players in your restaurant business and that’s why it is so important to be doubly careful when you hire someone for this role. A restaurant that does not have the right person in this position is likely to be in trouble on several fronts including the menu, the service levels, the efficiency of service and more. There are many points to consider when you are looking for your chef.
Is he/she a motivating leader?
One of the most critical, yet often overlooked aspects when hiring a chef is that the role needs a person who can be a great leader. Your chef will be in charge of all the kitchen operations. He/she will be training your staff, overseeing the actual food preparation, play a huge role in creating and managing the menu. In effect, your chef shapes your restaurant business and the way it presents itself to the customer. He/she will need to get the best out of every employee of your restaurant, stay on top of day-to-day activities and ensure that everything is running without a glitch. The only way he/she can achieve this is by being a motivating, inspiring leader who believes in his team- your restaurant’s other employees.
Does he/she share your passion and vision?
Your chef ensures that your vision for the restaurant is translated into reality. It is critical that he or she fully understands and supports what you want from this business. Only if your chef is at least as passionate about your restaurant and what you want it to stand for will your ‘partnership’ work seamlessly.
Choose experience over enthusiasm
If you are interviewing two candidates for the role of chef, one with unbridled enthusiasm and passion and another with several years of experience running a restaurant similar to yours, always go with experience. Running a restaurant is a very complex task and new challenges may arise every single day. A seasoned veteran knows how to prioritize his/her tasks and that of the staff to ensure that none of the issues in the kitchen ever go outside the doors and to the customers. Experience teaches a chef to stay calm in a tough situation and innovate quickly so that customers never sense any of the crises that inevitably occur in the kitchen of any busy restaurant. Enthusiasm is a great and necessary trait for a chef but experience is irreplaceable.
The best way to find the perfect chef is to talk to people and learn about competent candidates by word of mouth. Credentials on paper do not really tell you much about a prospective candidate’s temperament or leadership abilities but someone who has worked with the chef will give you a very accurate picture of a chef’s true capabilities.