Semone Bonner, The Set, Brighton

The Staff Canteen
Semone Bonner

Semone Bonner discusses his role as Head Chef at The Set, Brighton and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Semone Bonner

Place of work: The Ginger Pig Dish

Role: Head Chef

Follow Semone on Twitter here: @SemoneBonner

Bio: Semone Bonner is ex-Head Chef at The Ginger Pig which was awarded a Bib Gourmand in the 2015 Michelin Guide and is now current Chef at The Set, Brighton.

Chef Skills

Semone Bonner takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

What advice would you give to some applying for a position?

Firstly pick what restaurant and with what Chef you wish to learn in your area don’t just scatter your CV around town, it’s rare it works unless a restaurant is in desperate need of someone and your timing is extremely lucky. Don’t post your CV, it will be handed to the Chef when they are busy or not paying attention to what is being handed to them. We are face to face, hands on people in any vocational industry and you will have far more of an impact by meeting the Chef and handing over a CV in person; it shows effort and willingness and it also speeds up the process as you can arrange the next stage of the employment process immediately.

Find a way in, because other people will be! Good restaurants get lots of CV’s that are normally “filed” and never viewed again. Knock on the door, ask for stages and part-time work, show commitment to getting the job. Sometimes a restaurant will create a part-time position to accommodate a future employee we are willing to invest time in, just so long as it’s reciprocated.

The Set food

 Experience is never essential in landing a junior position in a kitchen, but it does help. We are looking for a willingness to learn, punctuality and commitment to the job. For Chefs at the top of their craft, the job comes first and we are looking for the same passion and energy from the junior  Chefs we are investing time to teach.

 Don’t rush into a position for money, if you don’t like the restaurant and  leave after a few months it gets noted and shows on your cv and  reputation, you are asking for someone to invest time to teach you and in  return you should approach a position with the consideration that you will  be there for 18 months. Anything less and you are considered a “leapfrog”, a person that jumps from job to job and restaurants will be less likely to invest time in you. Start with a stage (a few shifts or a week unpaid work) to gauge if it’s a restaurant where you want to work, can learn in and commit time too. This will also help you gain experience as you can stage at more than one restaurant, make contacts and put you in a much stronger position to be considered for a full-time position.

When you do have a foot in the door, take a notebook and be a sponge, it’s the most important advice I can offer anyone, write everything down, trust me you will need it later! Buy cookbooks, eat out and research your local town, where is good to eat? Who are the most talked about Chefs? Do you have any friends working in restaurants that could set up a meet with the Chef?

Top tips:

Octopus dish
  1. Do your homework on the restaurant and area, find out where is good to eat.
  2. Apply in person
  3. Take your time and be prepared to stage and work part time in the view to later becoming a full-time member of the team
  4. Dress smart when you meet the Chef, first impressions count
  5. Keep your CV concise, short and relevant, I don’t care that you like swimming but I do care that you can work in a team, are flexible and know where is good to eat in your area.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th April 2017

Semone Bonner, The Set, Brighton