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.

hotel & catering

Hotel & Catering Outlook For 2022

Hotel & Catering Key Trends

For many industries, 2021 has been a year like no other… but for the Hotel & Catering industry, it’s been one of the hardest and strangest years of all time. The hospitality industry essentially closed for over a year and we’ve seen firsthand the huge impact it’s had on Hotels, Bars, Restaurants and Corporate Catering sectors.

When the time finally came to re-open (some doors are still closed and may never re-open) those that were lucky enough to still be in business faced a number of challenges with staffing being the most critical issue of all.

Let’s start with front of house:

A large proportion of people working as Bar staff, Waiters and in Accommodation come from countries outside of Ireland. Travel for the most part has been off the cards for many people for quite some time, and we simply don’t have the numbers of people available to fill the amount of jobs that we have.

What about hiring local staff?

Since March 2020, the industry has been virtually closed and we no longer have the interest from people who are finishing up in schools or colleges. This is mainly because the Hospitality Industry is now seen as a precarious one that could be closed again within a few weeks or months at best.

Looking for experienced staff?

A lot of people coming into the industry work part-time or during holidays while in college, but the industry has been closed more than it’s been open which has led to a massive shortage of people that have a year or two experience in the market.

What’s happening in the kitchen?

The Chef crisis is still in full swing, but the big issue of the moment is where are all the kitchen porters and the reply is simple… there are none!

As with front of house, we simply do not have the people coming into the country that we used to. The English Language Schools are back open, but we’re seeing people making the choice to study online. This is mainly because they can now do this from the comfort of a warmer and cheaper climate. Candidates are also realising that the salary and conditions are better in the manufacturing or distribution industry.

In addition to all of the above, many people who were only working part-time in the past and who earned circa €200 to €400 per week are now getting the PUP payment at €350 per week. So, with no questions being asked for staying at home and receiving (in some cases) higher wages, this brings another massive challenge to the Hospitality Industry.

Solutions – Can We Throw Money At It?

With many establishments not being able to operate at full capacity, it leads to a high proportion of events, weddings and conferences getting cancelled or being put off for the foreseeable future. Money is in short supply, so the emphasis is put on ‘what else can we offer’.

Working from home is not an option for most roles, so the industry can’t jump on this bandwagon. However, they can take a look at what else is important to the people they employ like flexible rosters, job sharing, or ongoing training and development.

The feeling that workers are being valued is the most important thing that we are hearing from candidates. But of course, supply and demand along with more increases to the minimum wage have also played their part and we are seeing a lot of movement in the traditionally lower paid positions. For example, Kitchen Porters and Accommodation staff along with Bar and Waiting staff have all seen increases. The new normal wage is close to €12 and €13 per hour for Kitchen Porters / Accommodation staff while Waiting and Bar staff positions are moving closer to €13 and €15 respectively.

Chefs have also taken a huge leap forward with €34,000 now being the standard salary paid by the 3 & 4 star Hotels for Chef de Partie and increases in the Commis rates all down the line.

The only place we are not seeing much movement in is the area of Head Chefs, but our Director Shane McLave believes that when the corporate catering sector fully re-opens without closures, there will likely be more competition in this area.

What’s Next?

Between the combination of an uncertain future and the over heated market that we are currently seeing, a lot of companies are moving towards the temporary and contingent workforce. This is particularly evident in traditional areas such as Waiting staff, Chefs and the emerging trends of Accommodation Staff / Management.

The industry is now seeing the benefits of having a recruitment partner that both understands their business and has the ability to flex up and down when required. This leaves businesses in a much better position as they will be more equipped to deal with staff shortages.

Get In Touch

If you’re looking for a recruitment partner or you wish to find a job in Hotel & Catering, please visit our Hotel & Catering section on our website by clicking here. Alternatively, you can email us at