Chris Hill Blog: 6 Tips for Getting the Culinary Job of Your Dreams

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th December 2017

Here are chef Chris Hill's six tips he has for anyone looking to find the culinary job of their dreams.

I hear from a lot of people asking for help in their careers. Sometimes they can’t find the job that they think can really elevate their careers – not just financially, but with new opportunities that will continue to move things forward. Other times, it’s as simple as people not being clear about what it is they are looking for.

Chris Hill
Chris Hill

Here are the 6 Tips I would give anyone that is looking to move their career in a better direction, faster:

Be incredibly clear on what it is you want to do with your career

Maybe you love the vegan food movement and you want to join a local company or organization that is aligned with those beliefs. Maybe you love seafood – if you love seafood, why would you get a job with a fine dining steakhouse, unless you were working the fish station? If you don’t know what it is you want to do, you need to start putting feelers out there, and the sooner you can figure out what it is you want to do, the sooner you can start looking for the right types of jobs that align with that.

Be willing to take a pay cut in order to get the job or opportunity of your dreams

One of the mistakes a lot of culinary school graduates make is that upon graduation, they start looking for jobs, and automatically assume that the BEST opportunity equates to the opportunity that pays the most or starts them out at the highest rank. The problem with this is that often, this leads down a path of mediocrity, or best case scenario, just average. If you are finishing culinary school and you have the opportunity to be the executive chef somewhere, and haven’t put in your dues somewhere else, becoming the head chef of a company isn’t usually the way to go. Instead, find the best possible chef or company that you can work for, one that is incredibly successful, and work your way up the ranks. If you look at the incredible chef, Thomas Keller, you look at all of the people that have worked under him – they had talent, no doubt, but they easily could have gotten a higher paying job that would have made the executive chef of a restaurant faster than with working with him. Instead, they put in their dues, and put their career down the right path – the path that would inevitably lead them to success, because of the fact that they were surrounding themselves with such stellar talent, and then they could also put The French Laundry on their resume, and it would instantly attract the right kind of eyes for the next opportunity.

Staging really works

A lot of people think it’s crazy to work for someone for free, and if it’s not the right opportunity, then I would absolutely agree with them. But, if you were to stage for a great chef (essentially work for free for a certain amount of time to gain knowledge and experience), why wouldn’t you do that? So, if you have a job that you don’t really like that much, it’s getting stale and just uninteresting and you feel like your career isn’t moving in the speed that you would like, find a chef that you can work for as a stage, maybe two nights a week for free. You’ll learn about a bunch, you will have something great to put on your resume, and after a few months, if you are doing a stellar job, when a full time job opens up, one that does pay, you can slide right in.

Leverage The Tools

We’ve been gifted some pretty amazing tools to use that help us to connect with people — like-minded individuals and potential customers who might appreciate what we have to say. Sure, you can use the, ‘build it and they will come’, model, which works, and using social media ad targeting to discover new audiences can be huge, but on top of that is digging and creating the grassroots conversation with people by discovering them in places like places like LinkedIn, Twitter search, Instagram, Facebook, and yes, of course Medium (tags, etc.), among others. BUT, connect with people, not with intentions of making a sale, or even hoping to persuade to check out your work, but rather, in order to lay the groundwork for a relationship. Then, when the time is right, they’ll come across your work organically, or if they don’t, you can ‘ask’ with confidence, because you’ve created a relationship, not just a sales transaction. versus one that is predicated on a sales pitch. The only way to get to this place though, is to put in the time and the effort, and to actually care — not just pretend.

Networking

Yes, through the various online tools mentioned above, but far greater than that, is networking face-to-face, in a very human way. Yes, it’s easier to tweet back and forth or chat over email, but nothing replaces connecting with someone face-to-face — a hand shake, looking someone in the eye. Find industry events and other ways that allow you to connect with individuals and build actual relationships with like-minded individuals. Do it enough, be generous enough with your time and I promise you, it will come back around and people will start to notice you.

Be the most unique version of yourself

What a cliché, but it’s true — figure out how you can best leverage who you are, your strengths and your story, in order to create content or an angle that’ll resonate with your ideal audience. This invites them to be a part of who you are and what you have to offer the world. So instead of doing just what the other guys do, but you’re able to offer it just a little cheaper, discover what it is that makes you stand out – your product, your work, your humanity. We are sick of seeing the same exact thing over and over again. Find what it is that will make people want to connect with you and your perspective and stick to your guns. Ride that to the bank, and invite the world to come along for the ride.

Chris Hill
Chris Hill

Chef Chris Hill left a job in the business world to follow his heart and passion into the world of cooking and the kitchen. Chris opened his first restaurant at 28 and grew into the role of executive chef.

Having taken his experiences in the corporate world, as well as those in the kitchen, Chris has built a large social media following centred around TV appearances all over the Southeast U.S., his writing, TEDx talks, and his mission of helping industry workers to lead fulfilling successful careers.

Chris' first book comes out in the Summer of 2016 and is a dive into what makes for a successful career in the restaurant world, and includes exclusive interviews with some of the world's leading and most respected chefs.

You can follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and read more of his work here.

Don't miss Chris' latest book 'Crush your career: A professional path to a sustainable life in the kitchen'. Available on Amazon

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th December 2017

Chris Hill Blog: 6 Tips for Getting the Culinary Job of Your Dreams