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What is an Interim Chef and what does the role entail?

Written on 12-Jul-2018

Chef HeroAn interim chef (also known as a relief chef) performs temporary work to cover sickness, holidays and busy periods in professional kitchens.

Many hotels, restaurants and gastro pubs may require interim chefs to increase the size of their brigade during the summer and festive seasons to keep their kitchens running.

Quite often, interim chefs are happy to move around the country and may work in a remote hotel in Cumbria for one week before moving on to a busy restaurant in Central London. This means that they have the chance to learn new skills, and share their own, at different types of establishments.

Our chefs often tell us that the variety of kitchens they get to work in and the freedom of choosing where they want to work are the best parts of working on a temporary basis.

Gio, part of the CJUK brigade, said: “Freedom is the biggest thing! I’ve got my life back since I’ve been an agency chef. With CJUK you get paid for every hour you work and get holiday pay, less stress and you just feel the world is off your shoulders.”

Debunking the Myths

There are many misconceptions about agency chefs, such as they aren’t as reliable or as passionate about their job as their permanent counterparts… but this certainly isn’t the case.

Omar CJUKMany interim chefs have been in the profession for most of their working life and thrive off creativity and their passion for good food. At CJUK we only take on the very best chefs who can be relied on to do a great job, which is backed up by recent references and a strong work history.

Clients also shy away from promoting the fact they use temporary cover as they think it’s a sign of weakness, but in reality, the industry is changing and it’s a perfect time to embrace it. Many chefs are now making the move from permanent to interim work because of the benefits that come with it, such as a better work-life balance and being paid for overtime.

One of our clients in London speaks highly of interim chefs: “I was let down at the last minute by a chef who had agreed to run our small but very busy and quite intense kitchen over Christmas. Not only was he a perfect fit for my business, he was a great person as well. He was experienced and professional as well as humble.”

The Importance of ‘On the Job’ Knowledge

A good knowledge of food preparation/production before taking on an interim role is essential – agency chefs will be expected to go into the kitchen with previous experience and to hit the ground running without much training.

We ensure all our candidates have a minimum of 2 years’ experience as a chef before taking on agency work, as the confidence to work independently is so important.

Education and Qualifications

An agency chef should hold some industry qualifications, such as a food hygiene certificate and ideally a food allergen certificate. If you haven’t yet got your hygiene qualification, you can complete it on our website.

Fancy giving it a go? Join the CJUK brigade today!

Apply online below to work with CJUK or call us on 01254 355666

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