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.

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.
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.

Shane McLave Chef

Excel Recruitment’s Director Shane McLave feels the heat back in the kitchen

Excel Recruitment’s Director and ex-chef Shane McLave discusses donning his chef whites for the first time in 12 years

It’s been 12 years since I was last in the kitchen myself but as all chefs and ex-chefs will agree, your love of food never dies. So this April as I embarked on a culinary tour through Italy, Switzerland and France, when the opportunity to spend some time working in a professional European kitchen presented itself, I obviously couldn’t resist.


Excel Recruitment’s Director and ex-chef Shane Mclave discusses donning his chef whites for the first time in 12 years
Excel’s Shane McLave with Chef Nicolas Mekkaoui before service

This opportunity was something I’d always wanted to do while working in hotels and catering- but the schedule never allowed. It came via my old colleague and one of my best ever temp chefs as a recruiter- Nicolas Mekkaoui. One of the greatest perks for me of working in hotels and restaurants is the ability to meet and form lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Almost all the people I count as close friends, I met while working in Temple Bar for 12 years.

In my life as a recruiter, I’ve had the same conversation many times with chefs returning to the kitchen after a long spell away, one where I always tell them it’s just like riding a bike and all those usual platitudes. But I have to admit when it came to my turn to step back into the kitchen, the nerves most definitely kicked in when donning my apron again. The challenge for the day was catering a busy wedding in a small chateau in the French Alps near Annecy. The task at hand was a menu of traditional French fare with fresh, local ingredients. Working with such classic flavours meant the stakes were high, any mistakes I made would be easily noticed.

Excel Recruitment’s Director and ex-chef Shane Mclave discusses donning his chef whites for the first time in 12 years


Just like back when I was working on the temp circuit, it takes a few moments to orientate yourself: opening and closing and reopening fridge doors, hunting for the secret spring you need to light the range, speed-reading the menus looking for things that you like doing or maybe want to pass on. After a minute – and a few deep breaths – you realise it’s all the same dance, regardless of location and time passed. You make your list of what mise en place is needed, check numbers and meal timings and get cracking.


Excel Recruitment’s Director and ex-chef Shane Mclave discusses donning his chef whites for the first time in 12 years
Excel Recruitment’s Shane McLave on chef duty

The experience was definitely a challenge but hugely rewarding, along the way rediscovering something I had forgotten. You can’t mess with a recipe in France or Italy without risking being taken out the back door and possibly shot, and more importantly- why would you want to anyway?

For me the biggest difference between kitchens here and kitchens in Italy and France is the focus. Here we seem to try and do a bit of everything and in many cases end up with nothing special. In stark contrast, touring restaurants in and around Lake Como it was really simple, when you want pizzoccherri go, go to the pizzoccherri place. When you wanted lake fish, you go the lake fish place. Many of the spots we visited did not even have a menu. If it was not for my guide and old pal Francesco, I would have had no clue what food would be arriving when I sat down at each venue. Good food does not have to be complicated as long as the focus is on freshness, flavour and quality. In fact, perhaps the star meal of the trip was a dinner of freshly baked bread with fresh burrato and parma ham bought directly from the farmers and assembled on a hilltop overlooking the lake.

Excel Recruitment’s Director and ex-chef Shane Mclave discusses donning his chef whites for the first time in 12 years


Most chefs start out their careers because of an insatiable love of food. Over the years, it is easy for this to dim due to the stresses and strains involved in working in the industry, leading to many eventually straying completely as a result of the pressures on personal lives etc.. If you are a Chef and have been out of the kitchen for a while and are interested in coming back, why not call in and have a chat with our dedicated Chef consultant, Emma Conlon. We offer the ability to work more sociable hours and can help you achieve the right work/life balance for you, while also giving you the opportunity to work in great kitchens with passionate chefs. It might just be the thing to rekindle the love of food that brought you into this industry in the first place.

To get in touch with Shane call 01-8717676 or email Emma Conlon at to discuss joining our temporary chef team.