Chef jobs

The Benefit of First-Hand Chef Experience When Recruiting For Top Talent in The Hospitality Industry

Excel Recruitment is delighted that our very own Recruitment Consultant, Neil Redmond, will feature in the next edition of the Irish Hospitality Institute’s, Hospitality Network Newsletter. In this feature, Neil talks about his background as a chef and why he decided to make the switch to recruitment. Check out the article below.

Originating from Blanchardstown, Neil Redmond started his culinary career working as a Commis Chef in local restaurants while attending DIT on Cathal Brugha Street.

Neil’s culinary career officially started to take shape post college, where he started working under Dylan McGrath in the opening of the Rustic Stone. Following on from this, in the early 2010’s Dylan McGrath, renowned as a ‘creative genius’ and Michelin starred chef opened Fade Street Social where Neil once again, stepped up his culinary skills in the kitchen and learned even more about in-depth fine dining & cooking techniques.

With such an incredible culinary background, we managed to pull Neil away from the kitchen and his new recruiting role to find out why he decided to switch careers and become a recruiter for the Hospitality Sector.

Tell us a little bit about your background Neil… What inspired you to become a chef?

From a young age, I experimented with flavours and ingredients in my own time at home. So, when I started working as a Commis Chef in local restaurants, my love of food & creative dishes really began to flourish. After I finished college, I was lucky to have gained some expert tips & advice from Dylan McGrath during my 2-year stint working in the Rustic Stone. I was later given the opportunity to train under the culinary leadership of Ryan Stringer at Ely for another two years where I really started to come into my own, forging new and varied culinary talents. From there, I decided to work with an old friend of mine in the Old Schoolhouse in Swords. This position really progressed my expertise in the industry as it was here that I ran my first upstairs 60-seater Restaurant, and as a result, I was delighted to accomplish a number of awards thereafter.

Do you have a top tip that you share with people in the kitchen? How has your background as a Chef Transitioned into a recruiting position?

Always follow your Chef’s direction and trust their guidance. Ask questions, I have always been fascinated by the why, for example, why do lamb and rosemary go well together. What makes that work? check seasoning. Learn from mistakes. Everyone makes a mistake, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, a mistake can be a great teacher. It’s how we refine our skills as Chefs. Every dish is a reflection of the Chef and the establishment. One dish has the power to set the tone for an entire evening, so it’s important for a Chef to have that passion and show it on the plate.

While I was working in the Old Schoolhouse in Swords, I was given the opportunity to assist in the opening of Ruby’s. This was an exciting experience where I had a lot of involvement in the development of the menu, opening of the restaurant, training of staff, and establishing standard operating procedures. In the latter part of my career, I worked for almost four years at Press Up entertainment where I was involved in the opening of several high-profile properties including Dollard & Co, The Mayson Hotel, Doolally (working alongside Alfred Prasad who currently holds 2 Michelin Stars), Stella Theatre, and Cara’s (part of Centerparcs) to name but a few. Each role required me to provide support & development to their staff and since then, I gradually transitioned into the Hospitality Recruitment Industry.

What are you most excited about in your new career with Excel Recruitment?

In my previous positions, I would have spent a lot of time in each individual venue that needed support. I really began to understand what was needed from all levels of staffing requirements, and it really spurred on my passion to recruit the right type of talent for this industry. With nationwide staffing shortages, the time has never been more important to partner with a reliable recruitment agency. Excel is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment agency holding a database of over 1000 clients, 85,000 candidates and a team of 80 expert recruiters. With four offices located in Dublin, Kildare, Cork, and Galway, Excel has rapidly become the largest hospitality recruitment firm in Ireland. Therefore, it made sense for me to further my Recruitment Industry experience within an established business who understands what the Hospitality industry needs to succeed. I have also worked with the panel of Chefs of Ireland for a number of years, and I even competed in Chef Ireland over my career journey with moderate success achieved. I thoroughly understand the career aspirations of my candidates and I also know what businesses require from staff to run a busy restaurant. Get in touch with me if you need advice and I will help in whatever way I can.

You can contact Neil for more information by calling 087 625 6793 or you can email Neil at neil@excelrecruitment.com. Please click here to search for all of our live chef roles.

Salary Guide For 2022

Salary Guides & Recruiting Trends 2022

This year has been another challenging one across our client’s sectors, with most managing pent up to demand and growth through a COVID environment. As we enter 2022 with uncertainty, Our clients and candidates have been inspirational throughout 2021, deploying innovative solutions in product delivery, new ways of shopping and managing large teams working from home. A special mention must be given to the hospitality and entertainment industry, trading with ever-changing rules and fluctuations in consumer demand.

Our guide this year reflects on how much the world of work is changing and having to adapt due to the crisis in the shortage of staff brought on by the pandemic. The pandemic caused a shift in people’s priorities to create the ‘Great resignation’ or ‘Great re-evaluation’. While 65% of employers indicated pay rises are in play, income is no longer people’s only priority when it comes to their careers. Training & development opportunities, flexible working conditions, company culture and tangible benefits such as pension schemes, healthcare insurance and career progression are becoming just as important, along with, of course, agile working conditions.

There is no question that Covid has brought many challenges, but it has also widened the talent pool due to the flexibility around scheduling remote interviews and the increased ability to work from home. Employers say that attracting the right talent with the right skills will be the biggest challenge in 2022. With Economic growth forecast at 7% for 2022, the real question is… Will companies be able to source and recruit the talent that they need to fill these roles?

In this current climate, employers need to set their employer brand apart from the competition in the same way that they differentiate their products and services. It is expected that demand for recruitment services will be even more heated in. This won’t change any time soon.

Staffing will be the biggest challenge for our clients across all our sectors. 2021 brought soaring salary costs in transportation with our Driver hourly rate doubling. In healthcare One in Five Nurses want to leave front line services whilst the lack of experienced staff in hospitality will be catastrophic when the sector finally re-opens, the Chef crisis replaced by the Kitchen porter crisis. We look forward to supporting our clients through all these pressure points.

You can view the full salary guide by clicking Salary Guides 2022.

To discuss these findings or to chat to Excel Recruitment about how they can help you with your staffing requirements, please get in touch with us at info@excelrecruitment.com or call 01 814 8747.

Keeping Your Goals on Track

Setting realistic objectives and keeping your goals on track throughout your career is vital to achieving meaningful progress in any industry. CEO of Excel Recruitment Barry Whelan discusses…

If you have a career, you should have a career goal. Career goals are a great way to keep you focused and on track to achieve your full potential and personal ambitions.

So what is a career goal?

Career goals are the set of steps along the career ladder of your chosen profession that take you through the journey of your career. Like any journey, there is a start, a finish and stops along the way. Career goals are simply markers that keep you focused and make sure that you are going in the right direction and if not, help identify the issue and how to get back on track. Every employee or jobseeker should define their career goals clearly. It helps you pinpoint effective action plans and to keep focused on the direction of your career.

How to set career goals

Career goal setting is an easy process. Think of them as a set of targets best split between short-term targets and long-term. Take for example, that you decided at the age of 18 that you want to be the sales manager of a large company. Your career goal is set, now you need to follow the steps to get to that position. Your targets can then be focused on: you may need a strong Leaving Cert, then to complete a good business degree before joining the workforce in a junior sales role, whilst supplementing your education with a post-grad which may then help facilitate a move to a larger sales organisation in a role that allows for progression to the level you are looking to reach.

These are short-term and long-term career goals. The teenager’s long term goal is to become the manager of a company. To get there, he needs to achieve his short-term goals, which include passing his school and college exams, gaining experience by working for a related company and boosting his experience and skills through further studies. Short-term goals are those that can be achieved within six months to three years. It may take three to five years or more to achieve long-term goals. Defining your career goals is just half the battle. You must then do the work to accomplish the goals you have set. If you don’t map out your goals properly, it will be harder to achieve them. When setting career goals, try this twist on ‘SMART’ goal setting! Instead of the usual: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, today we are opting for:

Specific

What does career success mean to you? What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want to be a CEO or to achieve financial freedom or do you want a job that affords you the best possible work/ life balance? Everyone is different. Be specific.

Measurable

Time-bind your career goals. This is the best way to keep them on track. For instance, if it takes four years to complete your degree, four years is your goal. Once you can attain the short-term goals within the set timeframe, you are on the right path to achieving your ultimate goal.

Avoid negativity

A goal must be something that an individual wants rather than something they want to avoid. Don’t focus on leaving a particular job or position within the next five years. Instead, aim for where you want to be and plan what you can do to get there.

Realistic

While a career goal should be a challenge, it must also be something you can achieve.

Tie actions to each goal

For each set goal, a person needs to take certain measures to achieve it. List each goal and the different activities that are needed to achieve that goal to make achieving it easier.

SHANE MCLAVE, DIRECTOR , EXCEL RECRUITMENT

Reopening reaction: Director Shane Mclave on what the government’s guidelines mean for hospitality

Excel’s Director Shane Mclave gives his thoughts on the recent government guidelines ( and their ongoing updates) for the hospitality industry’s re-opening and what more needs to be done to support the industry.

The much-awaited guidelines for hospitality businesses reopening arrived last week, with further developments since and more expected to come. All have been met with a very mixed reaction. Some of these guidelines absolutely make sense in terms of keeping everyone safe, while some of them seem plucked out of thin air and do no more than hinder hospitality businesses trying to return to profitability. Under the latest guidelines, patrons are given a 105 minute limit on the time they can spend in a pub or restaurant. But why? This seems to be an arbitrary number plucked out of thin air, with no real basis in science from what anyone can tell. Another concerning guideline for wedding venues and hotels is the onus being placed on staff to maintain social distancing at all times, including on dancefloors. How can anyone expect this to work in real-life without placing an increased workload on staff or potentially jeopardising guest experience? One of the biggest questions for businesses of all sizes, from intimate restaurants to large hotels and contract caterers is in what world can chefs maintain a 2m distance in a busy kitchen during service?

Uncertainty for hospitality industry

According to latest updates The 2m social distancing guideline but this can be reduced to 1metre* in controlled environments . But what does this mean? Many who have already spent time mapping out 2m within their premises and have spent money on signage displaying a 2m distance. There are major differences in readying a space for 2m and readying the same space for 1m. With a little over a week to go until June 29th, businesses nationwide are right now doing the trojan work of figuring out what the recent government guidelines mean for them and applying the necessary changes to their premises while coping with unclear and rapidly changing guidance. While everyone is happy to be opening sooner than August as originally scheduled and hopefully salvaging some of the summer season, the one thing the government’s original 5 phase plan did give was certainty. We’re all aware that COVID-19 and the fight against it are constantly evolving but is it fair to ask individual businesses to bear the brunt of this uncertainty alone?

There needs to be a recognition that these recent government guidelines cost time and money to implement and enforce and businesses need to be given the supports to do so. There needs be further recognition that many venues won’t be able to operate under them; through absolutely no fault of their own. Many high-end restaurants and pubs whose USP is their cosy and intimate atmosphere and reversely, many events venues whose business model is large crowds will have to hold off until the virus is further suppressed.

Long term supports

Again, while an earlier opening date is most definitely a positive news story; more sustainable, long term supports will be needed. Many tangible suggestions have been proposed by the Restaurants Association of Ireland including 0% VAT rate for the tourism & hospitality industries for the period of the crisis & an entire year afterwards, then reverting to a 9% rate for a period of 5 years after along with relief on rates or rent for the rest of the year. It cannot be a case of “now you’re open, you’re on your own.” Everyone has been on the same side of closing to ensure public safety, that cannot swivel to the government and hospitality industry being on opposite sides when it comes to getting the country back running. One of the things that lockdown has shown is the resilience, creativity and desire to succeed of the hospitality industry in adapting to challenges in the market. That in itself is reason to be positive. Best of luck to all our clients and businesses reopening in the coming weeks and congratulations on all your efforts.

 

Hospitality industry pivots to meet new normal

PIVOT! How creativity is key to hospitality industry’s bounce back

Pivot.. pivot… PIVOT!!! Everyone remembers the episode in Friends when Ross, Rachel and Chandler are trying to get the couch up the stairs and Ross is shouting “Pivot” to no avail! Well that is exactly what the hospitality industry is going through at the moment! We are holding the future of our industry in our hands, stuck on a corner, knowing we have to pivot but not entirely sure how to do it! So what is a pivot? A pivot is when a company makes a change to its business model after realising that they are unable to service the market in its current format.

So how do we accomplish that?

I spoke to a number of companies this week to check in how they are adapting and I was delighted to get such a positive response. For example, I spoke to senior management in Boojum and they told me how they decided early on to meet the challenge head-on. They left a small number of stores open for delivery only as well as click and collect and adapted the layout of all their kitchens to create a new workflow that kept the staff a safe distance apart while not affecting productivity. They are now looking at reopening more stores with the same template. Boojum also introduced initiatives for staff that were temporarily laid off, one of which was a free daily meal! This is a fantastic idea as it kept staff engaged with the brand while not working and highlighted to the staff how they are valued by management.

This echoes reports that I am getting when I speak to people in the Quick Service Restaurant Industry on the high street. Most have pivoted their business to service takeaway and click and collect demand which allows them to remain open and functional while working away in the background figuring out how they are going to manage to return to regular service. Amazingly, some QSR operators who have adapted to take advantage of the demand for home delivery are reporting that their sales figures are level with figures for 2019 with one operator that I spoke to admitting that he was in the middle of opening a new outlet!

What about hotels?

We are seeing that a number of hotels and restaurant are starting to reopen, offering a reduced menu for click and collect and home delivery. Earlier, I spoke to The Castleknock Hotel who is doing just that. They have been busy designing and implementing a new service for their customers which has been a massive success for the hospitality industry. They have adapted the kitchen, implemented new Health & Safety guidelines and also rotated the staff to ensure that social distancing protocols adhered to. By rotating the staff on smaller shifts, it also promotes employee engagement and give the staff a sense of purpose albeit in a limited capacity at present. Now doing a takeout coffee service, they will keep the call and collect model when the Hotel fully reopens and they also hope to expand by adding of a new outdoor area in the coming weeks!

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks as we start to see the ingenuity and resilience of the Hospitality Industry adapt to challenges in the market. There are green shoots starting to spring up so get up off that couch and pivot…

Excel Recruitment delighted to open Naas office: Meet the team

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But a new office is not the most exciting part of establishing a home in Naas. With this new space comes some talented individuals to fill it! Senior Consultant Fiona Rigney, who has been a key figure on our Temporary Hospitality for over 4 years, is joined in Naas by a fantastic team. Shannon Harris brings with her a wealth of experience in recruiting industrial staff of all disciplines and a well-earned reputation for meeting and exceeding her’ client’s expectations. Shannon leads our industrial team sourcing great drivers, forklift operators, general operative and much more. Chelsea Callan has already proven to be a fantastic addition to the team, working alongside Fiona in recruiting excellent chefs, catering staff and kitchen staff for our hospitality clients across Kildare and Leinster.

We have also been very excited to welcome Jennifer Maher to the Excel Recruitment team as our Commercial Manager working alongside Director Shane Mclave and Operations Manager Emma Conlon as part of our senior team. Jennifer is a hugely experienced and talented recruiter/service manager, known industry-wide for her natural ability to build relationships and intuitively understand what her clients are looking for. Jennifer is the ideal person to guide our growing industrial and office and administrative divisions into their next stage of success.

So why Naas? Our new location in Naas office came about, like all of our expansion in recent years, to ensure our team have everything they need to meet our clients’ needs quickly, effectively and seamlessly. Our new base is conveniently located in Southern Link Business Park, which allows
us to meet candidates on the ground in a central location at a time that suits them, speeding up the time to hire and streamlining the recruitment process for both our clients and candidates.

Being physically closer to our clients around Naas, as well as the wider Kildare and Leinster area allows us to be even more hands-on, upping the frequency of our site visits and check-ins and facilitating on-site check-ins when required by our clients. This means not only do we have a first-hand understanding of our clients’ needs, but we can also go further than ever in matching them.
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Irish Barista Academy to tackle skills shortages

Excel Recruitment and sister company Futureproof Training are delighted to add barista training to the menu by establishing ‘The Irish Barista Academy’ to meet skills shortages in the hospitality industry.

The academy’s foundation earlier this month comes in direct response to increasing requests for skilled baristas from a variety of hospitality businesses . Shane Mclave, Director at Excel Recruitment says “It’s clear to see how coffee culture has exploded in Ireland in recent years and with the employment market the way it is, there is a dearth of trained and passionate baristas across the country. The barista school came about because of the sheer number of our clients requesting knowledgeable, fully-trained baristas. We have 100s of fantastic staff that are great at customer service, bar and wait staff duties, they just need the additional knowledge piece.” Shane continues “The school will be mutually beneficial for clients and staff. Staff will be able to add another string to their bow and clients have skilled, accomplished baristas readily available for their businesses’ needs.

The Irish Barista Academy will also partner with Skillnet, Ireland’s national agency responsible for workforce learning. Shane Mclave also explains how important the partnership with Skillnet is. Shane says “We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with Skillnet on this initiative. Skillnet’s ethos is very similar to our own, empowering the workforce by offering valuable learning experiences while ensuring businesses have a highly skilled workforce essential to their competitiveness.”


The new Irish Barista Academy will offer full barista training courses including equipment and maintenance, coffee theory, customer service and more. According to Senior Trainer Eimhear Ó Dálaigh the barista training is designed specifically with Excel’s clients in mind. She says “as soon as the training is completed, each barista is able to immediately and seamlessly work on any of our client’s teams.”


The school will be run in partnership with Futureproof Training which already offers a full range of blended training for hospitality professionals. Futureproof operates at the forefront of training providers with fully accredited trainers and a variety of learning methods, including online, app and classroom based.

For more info on The Irish Barista Academy, visit www.irishbaristaacademy.ie or www.skillnetireland.ie

Book your place today: http://www.irishbaristaacademy.ie/contact-us/

Laurence Rogers- Excel Recruitment Senior Hospitality Consultant

Why Chefs Should Use LinkedIn More

Senior Hospitality Consultant Laurence Rogers on why chefs need to be making the most of their LinkedIn profiles and his top tips for getting started…

 

I spend quite a lot of my time as a Recruiter on LinkedIn and it always surprises me how hospitality people, and especially Chefs, seem to put the bare minimum into their profiles on the platform. Funnily enough, the content that I enjoy the most comes from Chefs who do use LinkedIn to their advantage and showcase the foods, brands, and concepts that they are currently working on. It helps me keep in touch with culinary trends both nationally and internationally while putting industry experts as well as up and coming talent on my radar. But why do I recommend LinkedIn over other social media platforms….

Online Community

For one, LinkedIn gives you access to an online community of likeminded people working in your industry. You can join groups, build a network of professional chefs, swap ideas, pictures, recipes, techniques, projects… the list goes on! You get an opportunity to interact with industry experts and peers as well as the chance to become a mentor and influencer and build your own personal brand. LinkedIn is the only platform that allows you to engage with your industry on a professional level.

Find Jobs

This is a fantastic way to find a new job as LinkedIn is like an interactive jobs board! Not only can you see what jobs are available, you can also see who is already working there, what kind of food they produce and what kind projects they are working on. You no longer have to use a job advert to try and work out what the company would be like to work for, you can just pop on to their company page and do all your research on LinkedIn.

Career progression

LinkedIn will, without doubt, give you access as a professional to a lot more opportunities. If you can get your talent and experience across on your LinkedIn profile, it will open all sorts of doors for you. The best profiles will get noticed first but how do you make sure that your profile gets noticed…

Profile Tips

  1. Profile picture – keep it professional, make sure your chef whites are spotless and make sure you are smiling or at least look happy!
  2. Keep your dates of employment up to date – this is essential, we know chefs are not known for their amazing CVs so this is a great way around it.
  3. Add specific skills and interests – Cooking techniques, pastry skills, butchery, zero waste… the list goes on! Let people know what makes you stand out.
  4. Content, content, content… – Like posts from other Chefs, post links to videos and articles, post pictures of your own dishes, share recipes… The more active you are online, the more doors it will open for you.

Staffing is biggest concern for 69% of Irish food businesses

 

69% Irish food businesses say the availability of skilled workers is a serious concern, according to new research released by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

Brexit was shown to be the second greatest future worry for food businesses, with over two thirds (67%) identifying its unknown impact as a business concern going forward. The food businesses interviewed cited particular concerns around increases in costs of supplies, tariffs and exchange rates in respect of Brexit on the Irish food industry. Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI, said: “Our research shows that difficulties in attracting skilled staff and increased regulations and taxes are among the perceived threats that food businesses are citing. At the same time, the final outcome of Brexit is still not yet known almost three years since the referendum took place, and this is also concerning food businesses here.”

The research was carried out by Amárach and looked at the attitudes and feelings of over 200 national and international food business SMEs, including importers, wholesalers, manufacturers, producers, operators and retailers. The research also showed that food allergens and ingredients labelling is the number one concern for Irish food businesses from a regulatory perspective. A majority (73%) were increasingly confident about food safety regulation, believing that Irish produced food is safer now than it was five years ago. Despite the increased confidence, numerous food safety concerns remain for food businesses. The food industry is apprehensive about allergens and ingredients labelling; food hygiene and handling requirements; and other widely noted food safety concerns including the use of hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and additives.

Around one third (31%) of those surveyed do not feel well enough informed in terms of food safety information, despite a high proportion claiming to cover this in-house or via consultants.

If you are a hospitality, food or FMCG manager looking for assistance with your recruitment, get in touch with any of our expert team at 01-8717676. If you would like to enquire more about Manual Handling or HACCP training for you or your team email info@futureprooftraining.ie