At what stage are you in your chef career?
If you’ve clicked on this article, there’s a good chance that you are looking for some inspiration on how to take your chef career to the next level.
First, you must ask yourself this vital question – what do I hope to achieve? This can be either a goal for this time next year or your ultimate career goal. Whatever you decide you want from your career, realising this will help make your job decisions easier – then you can begin only to make choices that will bring you closer to this goal.
Do you want to be the executive chef in a top London kitchen? Do you want to own your restaurant? Be the top-rated chef in your area and have diners flock to wherever you are working?
Whatever your ultimate chef career goal is, there are steps you can take to make sure 2020 is the year you set the wheels in motion. Here are my top recruiter tips to accelerating your career this year…
1. Get Your Name Heard
Working your way up through the chef hierarchy is a lot about your reputation – there is little more important to top chefs than being talked about (for the right reasons!).
Tripadvisor reviews, making the most of your social media accounts and utilising PR from the local press are still the top three ways to create a buzz surrounding your cheffing reputation.
Take a look at your direct competitors – what are they doing? If you’re doing something similar in your menu – your ingredients, dishes, dining style – what can you change to make yourself stand out more?
Impressing your customers is not always about doing something new and ‘out there’ – diners are always excited by excellent quality food with attention to detail (which I will talk about next); whether it’s sophisticated nouvelle cuisine or hearty classic dishes.
2. Pay Attention to the Little Things
Their attention to detail heavily influences the difference between a good and great chef. When a chef can maintain the highest standard of quality in every single dish they send out, this is a sure-fire sign that they will go on to do great things.
Of course, this isn’t easy.
Keeping calm under pressure is one of the first things a chef must learn, but it is something which great chefs work at continuously, and not let it slip even when the kitchen around them becomes chaotic.
Yes, speed is key when you want to impress the executive chef to be in with a chance of being promoted from your station, but taking a second or two to make sure each dish is perfect is what will get you recognised as being serious about your work and your reputation.
3. Be Inspired
So, you’re a sous chef or a commis chef currently, and your dream is to be a head chef within the next five years – this means becoming a leader and being a constant source of inspiration to your team.
Great chefs never stop learning and trying new dishes, experimenting with ways of cooking familiar ingredients and most importantly – visiting as many different restaurants as you can! This is easier said than done, as in the busy life of a chef, a day or even half a day off is a rare treat to be enjoyed spending some time relaxing and winding down.
But, to become an inspirational chef in your own right which will eventually lead to promotion and career success, you need to dedicate your free time to experience as many dining experiences as possible – this will both give you a good idea of what your competitors are doing, will inspire you and will broaden your horizons.
The inspiration for a new dish or a presentation idea can come from the smallest moment of experiencing joy from the work of another great chef.
4. Stay Professional
Lastly, I want to mention the importance of professionalism in your chef career. I have witnessed some chefs with incredible abilities who fail to make it big because of a lack of professionalism, and this is always a shame to see.
Younger chefs wanting to make their way through the chef ranks sometimes have the misguided idea that being a top chef is about aggression, being uncompromising and the ‘live fast die young’ attitude that used to be present in the industry, but this is not the case anymore.
Anthony Bourdain’s escapades documented in his bestseller ‘Kitchen Confidential’ seemed to be the inspiration for many chefs working their way through the ranks in the 2000s – 2010s, which presented cheffing as a tough industry, where only the grittiest chefs would make it to the top.
But the industry is changing. The flying saucepans of kitchens made famous by Bourdain and Ramsay are out – open kitchens, inclusive and considered management styles and a crack-down on alcohol and substance abuse in the industry have all made a big impact on what it means to be a successful chef in 2020.
If you want to begin the search for your next chef role and need some help, get in contact with KSB today. Send us your CV, use our online contact form or call us on 0121 702 1428 to discuss your chef job opportunities.
About KSB Recruitment
We are expert recruiters in the catering and hospitality industry with over 28 years in business, placing the best candidates in their perfect roles with obsessive attention to detail.
KSB is proud to be a Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) member, accredited investors in people, and both Data Protection and Home Office Compliance registered.
We specialise in roles in Birmingham, Staffordshire, the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire.