Many small companies would be very positive in hiring a young chef. The high expenses of a Hotel start up or the financial crisis are reasons that could lead a Hotel Company or an individual restaurant to hire a "young chef"
1. Understand the business
The kitchen is not only cooking, but also how food fits into the total profit of the company. The chef’s work is a central part of the Profit and Loss Statement, so make sure you start to understand what a P&L looks like and how to read it.
2. Develop your computer skills
Excel spreadsheets are marvelous for costing recipes and organize menus. Emails help you to communicate quickly and efficiently with other departments. Publisher or other DTP software could help you creating great food labels with allergens signs etc. Develop the ability to write a simple report. Learn how to read the POS reports and manage recipe software. Notebook computers and tablets are now a part of everyday life, and smart chefs have a flash-drive on their key ring.
3. Develop your human skills
Modern chefs need to build skills and experience with teamwork, personality types, anger-management, negotiation, delegation and how to run an effective meeting with the kitchen staff. Young chefs are often in charge of a team before they’re 25 years old and they need to lead with leadership, not by yelling
4.Don't follow medieval stereotypes
The old medieval type of kitchen with swearing, dirty words, irony and yelling is more or less over passed. The modern team works hard, has real fun, and respects others. These are the workplaces that have no trouble with staff retention. Be modern, be strict, be fair ... and get respected.
5. Balance the cost with the quality
A must have skill is designing a menu that tastes good and maximizes profit through its layout, the pricing and stunning descriptions. Even if you are working for an "all inclusive" Hotel you must have in mind that the food cost will be the biggest enemy of the taste. Try to find smart ways to keep your cost down giving your best result at the same time. It will be highly appreciated.
6. Cook with safety procedures
Food safety plans, HACCP and ISO need certain procedures. Modern kitchens need chefs who know how to implement these rules, and train others in safe work practices. They lead by example so safe work becomes a habit for everyone in the team. Because the team looks at you. And as the world gets more and more allergic, modern chefs are asked to develop healthier recipes using also meals with gluten free or lactose free ingredients.
7. It's not all about money
Don't think about the money.Go to places where you think you like to work and create an opportunity there. Those are the places that are going to mold you into the chef that you will become in the future. The big money will come sooner or later. Going somewhere for the money is ALWAYS a mistake. Go just to show that you can !
8.Don't you ever think that you know more than anyone else in your kitchen
You must learn from your staff as much as they learn from you. Be inspired by your staff probably more than they are inspired by you. You can never stop learning, and if you think you can't listen to a busboy or a dishwasher in order to learn how to do something better, you're in the wrong path. You never know who they worked with, in the past and what experience they carry with them. Open your ears and learn from everyone ... it's crucial !
9. The small chefs copy , the great chefs steal ...
You can learn from many people, but the great Chefs take all they have learned and they create dishes on their own way. Get inspired by other chefs and other restaurants, but let that be a headline to write your own book. Be authentic and let your personality come out and express yourself in your food. Steal whatever you like and improve it otherwise you will always be a cheap copy of the great chefs.
10. Give back and be thankful !
The most important thing a successful chef can do is teach and give back. Give your time to other young people trying to learn. It's not only going to make your life more fulfilled and rich, but it will also make you cook better. The Ancient Greeks didn't keep their knowledge for themselves. They gave almost everything they knew, to anyone else. They made the difference those times. That's why Greece is widely known as the land of Hospitality.
Vassilios Canellos is a Hospitality Professional Hospitality Professional with more than 20 years of experience in leading service staff, managing teams and ensuring food safety standards, procedures and processes are followed. During this time, he's coached and mentored emerging talents, shared knowledge with several teams and spoken at Hotel industry events.