"Hello, hello. We are interested in your candidacy, we want to invite you to the food test." This is usually how communication begins when choosing a chef in a restaurant. In this situation, after the consent of the chef, the date and time of the tasting, the number of people and the positions of the tasting are discussed. Test foods do everything differently, I will build on my experience. The day before the event, I go to buy food, as I am not sure about the quality of the products that are available in the restaurant's production. Some of the preparations are made in a day, some need time to prepare. Sauces are made for a long time, fish and meat are marinated, etc. And it is more convenient to prepare on a familiar site than on an unknown production site. Then you come with the form, blanks and inventory to the restaurant, prepare a test food, go out to the hall and listen to the smart speeches of gourmets... Is this the right approach to choosing a boss? I think definitely-no. First, let's try to understand the duties of the chief.
The functionality of the chef in the work of the restaurant
First of all, a good specialist should organize work in the kitchen, put a system in which there will be as few failures as possible. The key to success is the coordinated work of the staff, it's not just the chefs. For example, when entering your menu, the chef calculates the food cost and profitability of their dishes and this is interaction with the calculator, preparation of material for the PR manager, of course, all the documentation and training of chefs, tastings and training program for the staff of the hall, the matrix of products for food suppliers, etc.
The next important point is to keep the quality of the menu made, and this is a constant monitoring of the work of all structures, compliance with timings, checking the blanks, how positions are given and taken. Often there are situations when the chefs give a clearly timed course of dishes and they die on the distribution, because the waiter, for example, went to smoke and all the work of the team goes into the trash and starts re-cooking. The guest is waiting, he does not know who is to blame for the delay, the reputation of the institution and with it the reputation of the chef falls.
Removing leftovers, maintaining documentation, writing off products and storing them, sanitary standards in the kitchen all these areas also require the attention of the chef.
The development of the creative potential of chefs, their training, the constant development of the team, their motivation, are necessarily included in the duties. I will say more: "You need to get respect in the team," and this requires a lot of effort and knowledge.
Should the chef handle the groceries or is it the storekeeper's job? My firm opinion-must! Pricing policy directly affects the food industry and the economy of the menu, the greater the profitability, the higher the value of the chef-this is his direct interest, just as the quality of the product. Times have changed, in order to get a good dish, a delicious, high-quality product must be used. Normal establishments don't make candy out of shit for a long time. Accordingly, the chef must be able to communicate with suppliers, to beat out the quality and price, to have a base of proven, reliable suppliers.
The ability to communicate with guests is another direction that should not be overlooked. The guest should always leave the restaurant satisfied and the chef's exit to the hall is a direct duty and interest of a good specialist who values his name.
Constant development, search for inspiration, creativity - these facts should also not be forgotten.
And this is not all the duties of the chief. More information can be found in my book: "Rules of the kitchen", the announcement can be downloaded for free on my website.
What you can understand about test food when choosing a chef in a restaurant
Based on the above, let's ask ourselves the question: "What does the food test give at the first meeting?" What surprises me most in this situation is when the investor does not come to the tasting. Delegating the function of choosing the chef to the manager of the restaurant, says that the kitchen is not the main direction in the functionality of the institution, according to the owner. But if you take the European experience and top restaurants - at the head of a successful institution is always a chef. And often investors are chefs. Even more surprising is the desire to make a tasting of 15 dishes and then make the final food test for the investor. In such situations, I want to immediately say: "Good luck in the search." In my opinion, this is caused by the desire to eat banal and show off a little. No one thinks about the time that the candidate spends, no one is interested in understanding who this person is, what kind of specialist he is in matters of organization and aspects mentioned above, in fact, this is not a manifestation of respect at the initial stage. Such competitions and tenders speak about not rational use of time and financial expenses when choosing a specialist.
How to choose a chef in a restaurant
Everyone has their own methods and tasks when choosing a boss, but I will start from my experience, how would I solve the algorithm of this question.
Portfolio and resume. Every high-level specialist has these two things. Remotely looking at photos of works and reading the summary can understand a lot. This is the first thing to pay attention to.
Competitions. If the chef has achievements in competitions and even more so at the international level, this is a big plus. This fact suggests that other specialists have already appreciated his work in the areas of taste and at least he has proven his superiority over other colleagues. After all, professionals from the jury have a more authoritative opinion and experience compared to an investor or manager of one or more restaurants. And even more so, the competition is judged by a large number of people and according to different parameters.
Experience and feedback. Experience at major events and feedback from guests or colleagues is also not unimportant. If the chef has worked in large restaurants, then he has an idea and knows how to organize the work. Of course, there are different situations, but at least he has some experience. It is good if you have friends in those restaurants who can ask for an independent opinion.
Personal meeting. After monitoring the candidate, you can ask questions and get acquainted in person, because a successful duet of a manager and a chef is already half the success. And the compatibility of people is different. I would ask whether the chef smokes or not, since the non-smoker's receptors work more subtly. I would prepare a number of cases with questions on the example of various acute work situations. I would be interested in hobbies, marital status, views on life, where I studied, how I came to this profession. It is important to understand that a person is sick with his work and has a positive attitude.
Test food. I am a sharp opponent of test foods, but if there are doubts after all written above, it makes sense to offer to make a couple of dishes for tasting. Although I repeat, this can say little about anything.
Tips for the chef when applying to a restaurant
The algorithm of actions for interviews based on my experience. First of all, try to find out all the questions you are interested in during a phone conversation. This can significantly save you time. Before you go to the interview, find all the information about the restaurant, study it. Go communicate savvy. Prepare your questions. I would ask the following questions:
Why the previous chef left or is leaving, what is his payment, and I would try to communicate personally with him and find out his point of view.
What is the staff of cooks and what is their salary?
Are there corporate events and motivational programs for staff?
What is the budget for marketing and advertising companies, whether training and development programs are provided for the chef and in general the staff of management positions.
Whether there are debts on payment of labor and to suppliers of products.
What a manager's experience.
Guest attendance and revenue, it is advisable to look at the financial report, it can say a lot.
Structural table of divisions.
I would take you home to study the contract in a quiet environment.
Read more tips in my book. It is important to negotiate on the shore before you start working. Everything should be transparent, clear and respectful.