Best way to hire chef consultant

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Joined May 24, 2018
Hi all, I'm new here! :)

I'm a new owner to be. While I have some personal exposure to the industry, my professional experience in the industry all business side of things so I look forward to learning a lot. As much as I love watching Iron Chef and stuff (lol) I'm obviously no chef. I understand costing and things like that but the "artistic" side of things, my knowledge doesn't go beyond "being a good cook".

There are some changes I want to make to the menu at the restaurant I'm purchasing. I have an idea of where I want to take it but I need professional help to create a menu that makes sense in the kitchen including prep and pick up procedures, ingredients usage, etc.

So I want to hire a chef consultant. What is the best way to look for them? Just having been around the business, I'm not sure that I want to look for a "career consultant". I wonder if it's realistic to find a currently working chef who wants to take a gig on the side to make extra bucks?

Also, if any of you have experience with something like this, how does payment work? I assume I'll pay them on 1099? Will it be hourly? or contract rate? What is the ballpark figure I should be thinking?

Sorry if these are real basic questions but I've never hired anyone in this capacity before. Thank you all, happy to join this community.
 
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Joined May 24, 2018
Wow I got long winded and forgot to ask the question that I created this post for.

What is the best place to post a listing for a job like this and/or best way to find someone for a job like this?
 
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Welcome to Cheftalk. If I could input a suggestion I would tell you to get a tough love kitchen 101 orientation. I got into this business managing restaurants. I then became a Chef after a being a F&B manager in a Hotels, Club manager and a variety of restaurants. When I got to the back of the house I realized the amount of work it took and also the amount of respect that was lacking in that area. That being said, the back of the house is much more than just pushing out food.
I'm not sure I would want my Chef setting up menu items in another restaurant in my town. You may want to look at a cooking school instructor. They will be good at setting up and structuring menus and even training your staff if needed......Good luck......This person will be hired as a subcontractor..........Good luck........ChefBillyB
 
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Joined May 24, 2018
Thanks for the recommendation chefbillyb. That is a great idea as one of the things I was looking to get out of this was also to be trained myself. I realize I won't become a line cook overnight and don't expect to, but at least to have a better perspective.

Can I ask - do you think the best way to find someone in this capacity is just contact the local culinary schools/instructors?
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Is there a chef there already? Does the menu make sense, and why does it make sense? Or.. does it not make sense? What is your food cost? How often do you turn your ingredients and what is your inventory? Are the vendors being paid on time or are you on COD terms? Do those basic things first and this is only a very partial list before you jump the gun.
 
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I don't understand.... Yes you want to change the menu, good. Even if you had a consultant, s/he would be temporary, and you would still need someone to take care of the kitchen when the consultant is finished.

It would make more sense (for me, anyways) to hire someone to take care of the kitchen full time with the provision you want changes to the menu.
 
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Joined May 24, 2018
Thanks for the replies, all. I think in my effort to be respectful, maybe i wasn't being clear or probably shared too much irrelevant info. Really, the info I'm looking for is just the best way to find someone. Post on Indeed? other job listing sites?

All of the basics mentioned above, we're far, far beyond that. And we have staff but there are reasons why I want to bring in a 3rd party for this purpose.
 
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Not to be a smart ass but have you tried google? Usually consultants advertise...set up a few meetings and see if anyone is a fit.
 
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Joined May 24, 2018
Not to be a smart ass but have you tried google? Usually consultants advertise...set up a few meetings and see if anyone is a fit.

No worries - I'm either over thinking or poorly communicating. I just wanted to see what's popular among the chef community.
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
No worries - I'm either over thinking or poorly communicating. I just wanted to see what's popular among the chef community.

....the chef community doesn't need to hire chef consultants.

In all seriousness, just treat it like hiring any other person to do contract work. How would you hire an electrician, plumber, etc? Just make sure to ask a lot of questions and are super clear about what you need/expect, timeframe, etc.
 
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Hi misterwes31,

Welcome to CT!

I applaud your acknowledgment that you don't know everything and have a desire to learn more back of house! Knowing back of house operations will definitely reduce the opportunity for the chef to BS you! You sound like an owner that would be really good to work for.

I'm just not a real big fan of chef consultants. I would ask you to consider just finding a chef that you feel comfortable collaborating with, that can share your vision, and move forward from there. It's possible that a chef that is there from the beginning, providing direct input/feedback into menu, operational and organizational decisions could be more motivated to excel.

You could start your search at local restaurants that have commonality with your priorities. Plating, flavor profiles, sanitation, theme, etc. Whatever it is that you deem the most important. Maybe find someone who already has that level of training that you find desirable and approach them to see if they're ready for that next step.

FWIW, I’m retired and still have a standing offer to set up the menu, create all written policies and procedures, recipes, etc. and run the kitchen for two years in exchange for 50% ownership. I worked with this owner for three years though and his offer is based on direct knowledge of my capabilities, I assume.

Further FWIW, one of my culinary instructors left school and opened a restaurant in town. It lasted about 18 months before closing.

I hope you return to let us know how things work out!

Good luck!
 
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Joined May 6, 2010
Hi all, I'm new here! :)

I'm a new owner to be. While I have some personal exposure to the industry, my professional experience in the industry all business side of things so I look forward to learning a lot. As much as I love watching Iron Chef and stuff (lol) I'm obviously no chef. I understand costing and things like that but the "artistic" side of things, my knowledge doesn't go beyond "being a good cook".

There are some changes I want to make to the menu at the restaurant I'm purchasing. I have an idea of where I want to take it but I need professional help to create a menu that makes sense in the kitchen including prep and pick up procedures, ingredients usage, etc.

So I want to hire a chef consultant. What is the best way to look for them? Just having been around the business, I'm not sure that I want to look for a "career consultant". I wonder if it's realistic to find a currently working chef who wants to take a gig on the side to make extra bucks?

Also, if any of you have experience with something like this, how does payment work? I assume I'll pay them on 1099? Will it be hourly? or contract rate? What is the ballpark figure I should be thinking?

Sorry if these are real basic questions but I've never hired anyone in this capacity before. Thank you all, happy to join this community.

Congratulations on your new restaurant.
As an Award Winning Chef/Consultant I can say it depends on what you want to achieve. For example I would be hired to produce menus, restaurant themes and kitchen logistics, along with food cost analysts and labor analysts. I’ve traveled all over the United States and several countries working at this. My salary on average was $1,500 dollars a week plus acomodaciones. This included creating the menu or menus and training the staff to properly cook the food. On average it was usually a two month process.
I hope this is helpful.
 
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Joined Dec 13, 2018
It really depends on what you want and where you're located. Do you need someone to set up a proper menu, ordering guide, inventory, open and closing guidelines, etc? Or do you need someone to come in and evaluate all the systems you have in place and improve them? If all you need is a new menu and recipes developed, I'd be happy to help from my location on a contract price until you were satisfied. If you'd want me to fly out for evaluations and training, we'd need to discuss your needs and timeline further. As far as locating a consultant, I'd be wary of anyone who isn't a working or recently retired chef. The industry is constantly evolving and trending in different directions. It will take someone who actively researches these trends to keep you moving in the right direction. Feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss your needs in more detail. [email protected].
 
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