Finding and hiring a qualified executive chef for a club can be a challenge. Despite the obstacles, it’s a vital part of a club’s ability to succeed. It’s a process that requires precision and planning, but hiring the right talent will help a club grow. Having strong culinary and management skills is a top priority when hiring an executive chef, but it’s also necessary to hire a chef who will be highly involved in creating a positive experience for members with the willingness to provide a high level of customer service.
When preparing for the transition period, a club needs to decide how they will go about the search and what they are looking for in a candidate. When posting an open executive chef position, whether through job search sites or using an executive job recruitment team specifically for private club executive placement, clubs want the best possible candidates to immediately notice the opening. A club’s employer brand is its reputation or popularity among current, past, and future employees and it represents how the market perceives a club as an employer. In today’s highly competitive job market, having a positive employer brand is a top way to dominate the hiring process.
A club must define who its ideal candidate is and create a candidate persona. A candidate persona is a fictitious profile that represents an ideal candidate for a specific role. It includes characteristics, skills, qualifications, educational background, interests and more. When a club knows exactly what they are looking for in a future employee, it can tailor its recruiting strategies toward attracting the right people.
Having a new executive chef join a club’s team can have a large impact on the performance of the kitchen and member dining experience, either positively or negatively. Much of what a club needs to look for when hiring an executive chef won’t be on his or her resume. While they may have great cooking skills, not every candidate will hold the leadership skills necessary to run a successful kitchen.
An executive chef is responsible for creating and implementing menus, dealing with kitchen administration, management, budgeting, food cost control, hiring, training, expediting and checking in on members. They must also have organizational skills, strong communication skills with both the kitchen and members, have the ability to lead and inspire their team, and have critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
While it can be difficult to get a full understanding of these qualities from just an interview, there are questions that can help to give some insight on where an applicant stands. Asking how they respond to criticism, how they have handled more stressful situations, how they stay motivated, and what made them choose a career in the culinary industry are some questions that can help gain insight into a candidate’s personality, competencies and capabilities.
While not a requirement, it is strongly encouraged for candidates to have a Culinary Arts degree along with knowledge of restaurant management software, financial and budgeting knowledge of running a kitchen, and knowledge of food safety and sanitation regulations. An executive chef must also have many years of experience, attention to detail, an eye for quality, and a shared philosophy with the club.
Being an executive chef is a demanding job that requires long hours and a great deal of mental and physical strength in order to succeed. The executive chef hire should be able to live up to the demands of the kitchen and perform exceedingly well to see to it that the kitchen is thriving.