Factors to consider when looking for a junior chef

Factors to consider when looking for a junior chef


Salaries can be variable dependant on level and establishment. As we move further into the season it’s really a chefs market and you need to be competitive with salaries to attract the right candidates. We try and suggest salaries to establishment and try to advise on realistic pay for the chefs to ensure the get the right candidates applying. We are currently seeing salaries of £19,000 per annum plus for commis chefs and from £21,000 per annum for chef de partie. Factors need to be taken into consideration, if some establishments are paying a lower salary this may be because they are offering free accommodation with tv and wi-fi and also full board of meals, so any money made is the chefs to keep. On the other hand, establishments offering a higher salary bracket will often charge for accommodation; the government recommends a charge of £49 per week. A lot of chefs will prefer to be paid by the hour as they will be entitled to be paid for every hour worked as some establishments offering a salary will not pay overtime.


We often find that establishments that are in the more rural areas of Scotland will struggle to get chefs as opposed to those in the central belt. Many chefs do enjoy the outdoors and rural surroundings, but they will often find there is nothing to do on their days off. Central belt jobs are often more attractive as there are usually cities in the surrounding area that they can visit on days off. In the summer the highlands and islands can be a beautiful place to live and work, especially the likes of the Isle of Harris or the Isle of Skye which are usually packed with visiting tourists.


We always advise establishments that offering accommodation will give them the better chance of getting a chef. City centre jobs won’t offer any accommodation which is understandable but for the more rural jobs it is better to offer it. Rural jobs often struggle if they do not provide the accommodation as there isn’t always someone in the area who can commute daily. Offering accommodation will open the pool of chefs a lot more. We always say to establishments that clean; single accommodation must be provided to our relief chefs but on permanent it can be different. It can vary on each establishment; some places will offer a full cottage/ flat or staff accommodation with shared facilities. Accommodation charges depend on the establishment, a lot will offer it as part of the package or some at a small cost.

Hours per week

Full time work is considered anything at 35 hours per week and over. This is where there can be conflict as chefs can often work over their contracted time and can work for less than the national minimum wage when their salary is taken into consideration. We always suggest to establishments that overtime should be paid, or hours can be taken back in lieu. We usually see that hours worked per week are usually 45-50 hours per week but as we all know it can often be a lot more in the peak of the season. Working more than 5 days per week can be very off putting to chefs and we always suggest either a 4- or 5-day working week.


It is only fair that tips are to be shared out equally amongst both front and back of house. Tips are usually split dependant on how many hours each person works. Many establishments will give tips out at the end of each shift according to who had been working that shift, I personally think this the best way to do it. Many establishments will not offer a bonus scheme, but I had a job last week advertise an available bonus scheme which was only payable after the successful gain of a rosette. Bonus schemes can be very motivating to chefs and if it can be offered then this will always attract candidates.

Jade Porteous

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