7 ‘Must-have’ Traits to Look for When Hiring a Chef
It is true that the basic characteristic of a successful chef is his cooking skill; but knowing how to handle the ingredients and cooking pots is just part of being a truly great chef in a professional kitchen. There are numerous other requirements – and if you are currently looking for a new and trustworthy chef for your hotel or restaurant, you should keep them in mind.
We asked several prized and experienced chefs to name a few basic traits of their trade, and we compiled the following list with their help.
1. Well Organised
The responsibilities of a chef involve much more than preparing tasty dishes. First and foremost, a chef is a leader of group of cooks. You need to assign responsibilities, give orders, meet specific times, schedules and food budgets, estimate supplies, organise shifts and make sure the kitchen stays clean and well organised at all times. Hence, organisational skills are not just necessary – they are essential.
2. Embrace Criticism
A good chef is an ever-learning chef. No matter how much you know, there will always be more to absorb. To do that, you need to accept criticism – in fact, you need to love it. Accepting responsibility for mistakes, recognising them and making the necessary adaptations and efforts is a ‘must-have’ trait for great chefs. So, make sure your new chef accepts criticism and knows how to funnel it to creativity and improvement.
3. Keeping Cool Under Pressure
It is no secret that stress skyrockets in professional kitchens, and not just because of the tight schedule and many different cooking times. Keeping each and every customer palate happy without keeping them waiting for long builds up tension, and cooks often lose their temper when mistakes or mishaps happen. The executive chef must always keep his or her mind cool, quench the conflicts and keep the kitchen properly working, no matter the problem at hand.
4. Thirst for Trying New Things
A true chef never rests on his laurels. No matter how successful he may be, he must always seek new ways to culinary excellence, trying new techniques, new ingredients, and new combinations of flavours and aromas. A constant thirst for experimentations is indicative of a good chef that is destined to succeed.
5. Physically Strong
During high-season, chefs work for at least 12 straight hours, often without breaks. A typical shift may start in mid-morning and end late at night, always running back and forth, giving orders, doing various chores and remaining vigilant. Needless to say that such a strenuous responsibility requires great physical strength and stamina.
Cooking is an art, and no artist can survive or succeed without creativity and originality. Aside from learning from others new techniques and recipes, a good chef will always find things of his own, be it new flavour combinations, ways of presenting a dish or methods of cooking a certain ingredient.
7. Attentive to Detail
Great chefs are always excited about their creations, and devoted to make them perfect to the smallest detail. Avoid chefs that seem to leave trifles to chance; they are sure to bring embarrassment to your establishment.
Now you know what to look for while interviewing candidates for your chef position. We can also help you save time and money by getting you in touch with excellent chefs, selected by CAS with the strictest criteria. Just click here!