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 Please click here to search for all of our live chef roles.

Brian Shane Excel RecruitmentKorea 2019

South Korea: Key to Solving the Chef Crisis?


It’s a continuous loop: hospitality businesses cry out for chefs, everyone points to different causes and solutions, nothing really happens and businesses remain in desperate need with the chef crisis.

While there are many proposed long-term action plans from governments, industry experts and think groups about how to solve the chef crisis going forward, none of these will put chefs in the kitchens of under-pressure businesses now. Last year, I was delighted to be asked to head to South Korea with the Restaurants Association of Ireland on a specialist chef recruitment drive. The trip turned out to be hugely successful we recruited fantastic chefs for own temporary chef team who over the past year have worked across Dublin for many of our clients. They have settled in nicely to life in Ireland and feedback from our clients regarding their work ethic and skill level has been fantastic. All of our client’s teams have loved the opportunity to learn from them about different techniques and about South Korean and other Asian cuisines.

Needless to say, when the opportunity arose again, I jumped at the chance. This time along with myself and RAI CEO Adrian Cummins, Excel’s very own Brian Nixon also made the trip. Brian has become something of an expert in recruiting chefs from abroad and the visa process over the last year, handling the administrative process for both our own chefs’ visas from start to finish. There are a number of steps to getting chefs over from Korea and into Irish kitchens, but Brian is the number 1 expert in Ireland for chef work permits and knows the minute details of each part of the process.

We again attended the World Job+ Recruitment Fair to meet and interview chefs who are interested in coming to Ireland on the Chef Work Permit scheme. As most people know, new regulations came into effect in March of last year, removing some chef grades from the ineligible occupations list and making it easier to recruit chefs from outside the EU. There is an overall quota of 610 employment permits available each year. Alongside meeting with the chefs themselves. Since returning from Korea, we have already placed nearly all the chefs we met in Korea with clients nationwide but we have a few really great candidates left and are in the process of matching them with potential employers.

Brian and myself also met with a number of Korean officials, including Chang Gyun Jaegal, the head of the leader in the Korean food services industry, a major group with over 400,000 restaurants to discuss the further cooperation and commitment between Irish businesses and Korean jobseekers.

If you are struggling to hire Chefs or retain them for long periods and want to find out about how Excel Recruitment can help you through the work permit process please do not hesitate to contact me for more details.