Unable to find work after moving to a bigger city!

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by smokie, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. smokie

    smokie

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    I just wanted to put out my frustration here but if anyone can offer me any advice on the matter than please do, because I'm at a loss as to what else I can do to get a decent job around here.

    I just moved to a bigger city a few weeks ago and this is my second week of trying to look for work without much luck. I'm not without the experience, I've actually been looking for work below that of my previous job title.

    It's always been my belief that walking in to a restaurant and asking the chef in person is the only way of really getting the job. But, every restaurant I've been to I can't even take a few steps past the front door without someone telling me "they're too busy" or "just send an email," which I know they'll likely never reply to. It's not even like I'm going in and asking in the middle of service or anything. I go in after lunch service when they're closed.

    So, how am I supposed to get a job if every chef in this city seems to have their head stuck too far up their ass for me to even speak to them in person?!
     
  2. pits

    pits

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    What City did u move too, maybe, I can help give u advice?
     
  3. powerviolence

    powerviolence

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    To busy? Most restaurants don't stay busy 100% of the time, and you need to know the appropriate times to go in. Asking the chef the only way? I don't know about that, I have never ever had trouble finding a job in any town I have moved in, and I don't think I ever just walked in and asked if I could talk to the chef, as I know the Chef is the busiest person in the restaurant. Try the Food and beverage manager, GM or just run of the mill manager. 

    Persistence, it really works. Just keep going back until you get to talk to someone. If it happens to be the Chef, tell him you will go back and cook for him right now, and be ready too. 
     
  4. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    Ask to stage or to work for free for a day. Go into it with the attitude of just wanting to learn. Most chefs will take free labor, some will use you for just this, but it gets you started. Their time is valuable work for it.
     
  5. jgraeff1

    jgraeff1

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    Find a place you want to work, fill out application, talk to chef. Call everyday.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  6. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    I suppose it helps to be looking at and applying at.... places that actually NEED cooking help.

    If the Chef doesn't need anyone, if theyre getting the job done, then even if they do talk to you,

    there's no urgency on their part. Conversely, if he (or she) has a stuffed wheel and no competent

    help to help get the orders out, or to mise en place up the wazoo etc then theyre going to WANT

    to talk to someone willing and able to help out, especially if theyre standing there in the FOH in person.

    I mean, if the chef really isn't looking at/ answering their email, it's likely theyre really not looking for

    help right now.

    If on the other hand they DO need help, and aren't looking at the email that's being given out......

    theyre basically duuuuu...UUMB.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  7. linecook854

    linecook854

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    I understand the wanting to walk in and talk directly to the chef because this is the most direct, easiest, no bullsh*t way to get your foot in the door. I have done this before and have had it work. In an ideal world this would work everytime, but it rarely does. The Chef is busy, he doesn't have time to talk to you even if he needs help. He's prepping away for service, fighting with the sysco rep, dealing with GM's and owners and trying not to kill the new line cook screwing up the ailoi.

    If Chef needs to fill a position, it will get filled through whatever avenue he uses to pick employees (resumes, applications, word of mouth, stages, etc.). The goal is to find what avenue he uses and try to get it there. I am busy during prep and service, even if someone promising walks in with a knife roll and chefs coat I'm not talking to him, I don't have 3 minutes to spare.I tell the host to give him an application and I will look at it tomorrow morning. Emails surprisingly work well for me, usually because I'm checking them at the end of the day on my home computer when I have time. Resumes handed to me from the host work well if their previous experience looks good, otherwise they're getting tossed if I see Sonics, Taco Bell or Applebee's anywhere near their resume. Walk ins have worked (once) for me for a dishwasher position purely because of luck (it was dead that day and I was not working on the line that night for the first time in months). Stages work for me as well, if you have a brain and really want a job here I'll try to fit you in somehow.

    So my advice is go to a place that actually needs a position filled through an ad, craigslist, newspaper, facebook whatever it may be. They're taking applications and looking at them. If you insist on walking in to talk to the chef know when to do it. Check the restaurants hours, show up before service only and never during service. Don't do it on a Friday, Saturday, Brunch or Holiday, it's not gonna work.

    Good luck.
     
  8. alaminute

    alaminute

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    yeah i think this is the best way. Find a place you really want to be and just keep trting till you get a stag. Or craigslist. Everyones on craigslist.
     
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Definitely stage as much as possible. Even if you don't get on right away, it will get your name out there and open up the coconut telegraph. Chefs talk to other chefs.

    Also due to the high turnover in the industry, keep checking back with places that you want to work as it shows desire. Plus just because there is nothing available today, doesn't mean there won't be a position tomorrow. We all know that can change in a heartbeat.

    Nobody wants to be a pain in the rear, but get your name out there, because... chefs talk to other chefs.
     
  10. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    I would avoid craiglist as you might end up settling. Don't settle, once the fire dies its game over.
     
  11. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Why is craigslist settling? Just last month I saw ads from Thomas Keller for positions at FrenchLaundry, Ad Hoc, and Per Se; and there were not entry level positions.
     
  12. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    I understand that you disagree, but not having entry level positions does not prove your point that craigslist is good for entry level positions /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  13. alaminute

    alaminute

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    So are you saying th# french laundry is settling?! Im with cheflayne on this one, everyones on craigslist.
     
  14. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    I guess I must have said that if you say so. Donnie...
     
  15. smokie

    smokie

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    Thanks for your replies! I did manage to find a job in the end. I guess I was just too impatient at first hoping to find work right away.

    I've actually found myself in a little bit of a predicament and any input anyone can give would be a lot of help!

    I accepted a position as the sous chef at a restaurant whose reputation has slowly been on the decline for the past few years. To be honest, I find many of the cooks to be rather incompetent. But, the pay is good, I get my own input on what goes on the menu, and I get a pretty large space to do my work. 

    A week into the job, however, I got a call from another restaurant offering to have me on as a cook. This restaurant is the #1 restaurant in the city with numerous awards and a highly regarded chef at the lead.

    So, should I stay in my current job with easy and boring work, but with good pay? 

    Or, should I leave to work at the #1 restaurant in the city where I'd probably earn less and gain little to no recognition for my work, but will likely learn a lot from and have a chance to advance up in the future?

    Would it look better on a resume to see someone having been in a management position at a restaurant that can't even make the top 10 list? Or, just a regular cook but at a restaurant that's ranked the best in the city?
     
  16. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    If you take a sous position and the restaurant closes , you may have a harder time finding a head position at a decent restaurant again....

    I in your shoes right now i would take the cook position at the best restaurant in town , and take the opportunity to learn some new things from a chef who could teach me alot. Especially if you impress him he may be of great help in the future and may also be of help in future networking. 

    Then again it depends on youself and your situation. 

    Sure good pay is nice but as what your saying it comes with the cost of working at a place with a bad rep and bad cooks. 

    Can you live a few years with a lower salary? I know i could if it meant in return the chance to work with the best and learn more so i could further advance in the future. 

    Everything you do and decisions you make will effect your future , either in a good or a bad way. 

    My opinion..... if you stay at a dead end restaurant just for the pay , its something that could effect your future negatively. 

    I have worked at the best restaurant in town , and even though the pay wasnt so great , it ended up being a great quality to add on my resume for future job offers , who knows maybe ill even go back to work there since they really enjoyed having me. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  17. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    Now i forgot to mention , what are your intentions working as a sous?

    Do you intend to elevate the quality of the restaurant and its food. Do you plan to build a good reputation for it. Do you have the authority and power to hire , fire , change menu items , teach and use suppliers you wish. Is the menu decent , can you get this establishement up on its feet , and get it into the top 10. If not i wouldnt attemt that position either..... 

    I have also worked at a place with a bad rep , they had gotten a new chef the month before i was hired , she changed everything and we were easily amongst the top 10 in town. 

    In August we were named number 1...... 

    Then they had to reform and closed down till 2014 ( sucks i know but the experience and opportunity was well worth it ). 
     
  18. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    Not necessarily the place of the sous chef, and hack chefs tend to not appreciate their number two upstaging them.

    I reiterate, don't settle at this point in your career.
     
  19. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    It really depends an owner of a restaurant in some cases can take care of the administrative part , the menu construction , pay roll, etc...and leave the rest to a sous....

    As in not have a head chef , and instead the owner do that part himself.In this case the sous would be responable for BOH , food , cooks , etc...I have seen it quite alot <_<.

    The last place i worked at had this system. 

    Regardless though, i still rather work at a better restaurant. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013