Availability of Chefs 6th March 2019

Head chefs

If paying good money and in a central location such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dundee, Aberdeen and Perth the availability of head chefs is very good, basically, the more central and the larger local population the better availability. Now is a good time in general to recruit for staff.

What is good money for a head chef? This can vary from a small pub to a large five star or 3AA Rosette Hotel and can be anything from £15 per hour for a one-man job cooking simple food to £45,000 and upwards.

For a standard hotel job, we would suggest in the region £35,000+ with overtime paid pro rata over 45 to 48 hours sanctioned by management.

Bonus schemes always help and can be based on getting a gross profit margin of over say 65 to 70% and it is always advisable stressing in advance how often the bonus is paid and what the exact criteria are. Other bonuses may be based on increase in sales. Keeping wages ratio down and helping to achieve certain net profits subject to maintaining quality of food, kitchen cleanliness and staff retention.

In more rural Scotland it is harder to get and retain chefs and often accommodation should be offered to attract suitable candidates.

Sous chefs

The availability of sous chefs in rural Scotland is good. Sometimes, a mature former head chef will be happy to take a step back to work alongside head chef.

In more central Scotland, there are candidates about if paying decent money (i.e. upwards of £27,000 or £12-14 per hour) and offering good working conditions there is no reason why you cannot keep a good sous chef with a stable track record.

In rural Scotland, there can be a need to think outside of the box to retain and attract good sous chef candidates. Its is almost essential that you will need to provide accommodation in rural areas.

Chef de parties

Availability is very good in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the central belt.

In rural Scotland with accommodation there are candidates and you will get applicants if wages are decent, suggesting £10 to £12 per hour or a salary of between £21,000 - £24,000. The more money you can pay the better the availability there is.

Commis chefs

There are usually a few candidates available centrally or further afield if offering accommodation.

Pastry Chefs: this is quite a specialist position and there can be a couple of specialised pastry chefs looking, not always though.

Enclosed link to minimum wages.

Availability of Relief Chefs changes, and we can advise daily. The rates of pay are £13 to £17 per hour according to the position.

Is the customer always right?

Is the customer always right? The most debatable topic in our industry…

"The customer is always right" is a motto or slogan which exhorts service staff to give a high priority to customer satisfaction. ... "If we adopt the policy of admitting whatever claims the customer makes to be proper, and if we always settle them at face value, we shall be subjected to inevitable losses."

Working in the hospitality industry you are constantly working with the general public. Working with the public on a daily basis can prove to be difficult at times. ‘Is the customer always right?’ is one of the most debatable topics in every section of the working industry. It often causes unwanted conflict between the customer and the employees. It makes the employee’s job very difficult if the customer is complaining on things they cannot control.

Customers often make unreasonable expectations and requests that sometimes cannot be resolved and it leaves us as the employees trying to make the best out of a bad situation often offering discounts on their next return etc. As employees it can be difficult to give other customers your best service when you are stuck dealing with the complaining customers. This can reflect badly on other customers and if you receive one bad complaint on places such as trip advisor then it can completely change the way customers view your establishment. I personally think sites such as trip advisor are a good way of expressing your opinion but can also cause a lot of bother for establishments when one bad customer leaves a terrible review.

It makes you often wonder if some customers just complain for the sake of a discount or a full refund, this is something I seen a few times when I worked as waitress. As a waitress it is often a hard one, you need to take complaints on food that you never cooked yourself, often relaying back and forth between the customer and kitchen. I previously worked in a family friendly hotel and one couple complained of young kids making noise at the table across, as a waitress this is something completely out of my control. I wasn’t able to tell the young children to be quiet but at the same time all I could do was apologise on their behalf. When walking in to a family friendly establishment then you need to expect families with young children to be around. I was in utter shock but again, I could only do my best to ‘help’ the complaining customer and offered them a discounted bill at the end.

When looking at reviews myself I often look on one or more pages of the reviews as one bad complaint can be out ruled by several good reviews. Complaints are an excellent way for businesses to build and change things that may not be working for them; it allows the business to grow.

So it brings to me to ask the question, do you think the customer is always right?

Out and about Friday 22nd February

So today marks my 9 year anniversary of working with Chefs In Scotland. I was first asked to come in for a couple of weeks to do some filing and here we are 9 years later. Its been a great experience working with Michael and seeing a few other come and go and now we have a stable team with Jessica and Jade. Here is to the next 9 years 😊😊

We have over 30 relief chefs working all over Scotland, relief work is still pretty quiet, but we are managing to get a few chefs out. A lot of the jobs coming in are more area specific and have no accommodation, so this time of year it is no problem getting a chef booked because we have good availability. We have had more relief jobs coming in for mid-season and the positions have been filled with chefs happy to get confirmed in advance.

We are happy to meet you here in Moffat to discuss relief work or permanent work we are available Tuesday – Friday just get in touch to check our availability.

To register for relief work for the new season ahead please email your CV to including at least 2 recent work references and your up to date hygiene certificate.

Relief chefs we have out working at the moment include:

Sharon Shearer is back at the Kitchen Brasserie where she is covering the head chef for a couple of weeks

Ross Hunter is at the Glenburn Hotel where he was last year in the summer, he is there for another 2 weeks

Dale Paton is booked again at The Fife Arms Turriff

Phil Smith was back helping at Loch Nell Hotel

David Ironside is starting today at the Breadalbane Hotel in Aberfeldy

Pawel Cimek is at The Inn on The Tay working with Jamie Atkinson

George McCallum is at Nevis Bank Inn

Jamie Shand is at the Nethybridge Hotel

Ionel Rizea is at the Bridge of Cally Hotel

Leon Edgson is at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness

Stuart MacColl is at Lomond Hills Hotel

Thanks to all of our relief chefs for all of your hard work and continued support 😊


So sad to hear the news of the schoolgirl who died after a severe allergic reaction after holidaying with her family in Spain

While I was working in the kitchen especially my time spent in the pastry section I always tried to be extremely careful with any high allergen foods especially nuts. Its much easier when you know you have someone coming into the restaurant who has an allergy so you can prepare or at least let you know they have an allergy when they arrive. What I always found frustrating is when people don’t let you know about a potentially life-threatening allergy until the plate arrives in front of them.

If I had a serious allergy which I am fortunate enough not to, I would find eating out very difficult to put your life in the hands of another person who is cooking your food.

What procedures do you have in your kitchen if someone comes into the restaurant who has a severe allergy?

On the job training

How important is on the job training within the hospitality industry?

How important is it that you receive on going training through your work? Whether it is in the kitchen, front of house or even here in the office; I feel that on-going training is extremely important to grow as a person and to enhance the skills you already have. The restaurant/ hotel industry is a fast changing environment with new trends and skills being brought out every day. It’s important that your sk...ills and techniques are up to scratch with the demands of today’s industry.

A lot of jobs offer on the job training which is perfect for those who are straight out of education. This allows them to learn from an experienced head chef and allows them to touch up on any skills they may feel they didn’t have the time for when at college.

As well as on the job training, many establishments will send their chefs out on advanced courses, send them for a stage at other establishments to help them gain new skills. I personally think sending chefs to other establishments is an excellent way to gain new skills and to see how other places work on a daily basis. It also allows chefs to solely focus on a skill they have been trying to master, for example some chefs may look into gaining more pastry experience; this allows them to take back the knowledge they have gained and put it into practice at their own work.

Do you feel that on the job training should be encouraged?