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Is it the industry or just me?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

Just posted a hello on the nooby page.

 

.....So although I am currently working in food service (CDC/ private college type school, @4 yrs now), I took a quite long hiatus (oh, about 14 years) to run my own business and help my wife w/ hers. Although neither of these were in the food industry, I did shoreline lunches for my clients and did cooking classes for my wife's business.

 

So my question is: Why can't I get a new job????

I have a very strong resume only working at upscale (4-5 star) establishments from apprenticeship through executive chef.

I'm getting a few call backs, but they are places that only can afford about 12 bucks an hour and don't have benefits.

I see "perfect fits" and don't even get a response. Do they think I'm over qualified? Too old? BS Resume?

 

What's going on in the industry that I've missed in the last fifteen/ twenty years?

 

I'm really leaning toward the Aramark/ Compass college type gig, cause the benefits sound great.

 Do they scan your cover letter/ resume for key words w/ these larger corporate gigs or are they googling the restaurants that I worked for before the internet? Or are they looking for "right out of school, quick turnover" candidates?

 

Back in "the day" I turned down some pretty amazing offers w/ some pretty great places, but it wasn't where I wanted to be at the time. I'd be more than happy to post a copy of my resume for you guys to check out to find any glitches.

I've been beating my head on the wall for the last six months.

 

I know I'm not currently living in the food meca of the US...but that should make it that much easier...I'm in Western North Carolina w/ easy access to both Asheville, NC and Johnson City Tenn.

 

Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

post #2 of 17

I don't see where you say what job  you are applying for. The general impression I get from your post is that you should be looking for a management job, not a cooking/chef job. Your experience goes from apprentice to Executive Chef to business owner for 14 years. If you are applying for cooking//chef jobs, then yes, you are way overqualified. 

I just went through this same situation over the past year. Bypass the computers by connecting with actual humans who work where you want to work and pass your resume along. But raise your sights. If you really want to cook, you will have to talk to owners in person to explain why you wish to come back down the ladder. 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Sorry about the vague description, but I didn't want to bore on my first (second) post.

I've been applying for Sous and Executive positions.

I have rejected offers to come down the ladder too much further than my abilities (like line cook, in nondescript ads, you know: "chef wanted" (meaning "cook wanted"), but have not received responses from positions that would be "cake" to take their establishment to another level.

I'm just dumbfounded as to why I can't even get an interview w/ some of these joints when back in "the day" I turned down some very heavy hitters.

 

The way I look at it: If I'm applying for the job, I want the job, right?....Not necessarily "need" that job, like where I am now. I'm way over qualified, but enjoy it (obviously, I've been here almost four years). Hell, they let me bring home fresh salmon and cheese to cold smoke, it's fun, but doesn't pay sh*t .

I am just  frustrated in the fact that companies used to track me down to work for for them, to now struggling to see light at the end of the tunnel, and I can't put my finger as to why.

 

What's changed?

post #4 of 17

Like it is in many industries these days.  

Tongue in cheek here.....Simply put.......You cost too much.

Why pay a veteran in the industry, who knows what to do, knows how to work, but is too set in their ways to change...

 

When you can have....

someone younger.....and cheaper.....

yes, you'll have a lot of waste and that new young thing will end up costing you more money in the long run.....but

 

And that's the way it is...

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

Like it is in many industries these days.  

Tongue in cheek here.....Simply put.......You cost too much.

Why pay a veteran in the industry, who knows what to do, knows how to work, but is too set in their ways to change...

 

When you can have....

someone younger.....and cheaper.....

yes, you'll have a lot of waste and that new young thing will end up costing you more money in the long run.....but

 

And that's the way it is...


I dont really think this would be the issue, I dont think more experienced people would be "too set in their ways to change" or that anyone would think that. Its probably simply the cost, hourly rate. Regarding the higher level jobs, could it be the way you are contacting them or your resume? I cant really see any other reason. 

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

What the kicker is as I see it, I'm the one applying for the job, more or less knowing what the pay is up front.

I feel my cover letters (I alter to suit each job description) are professional and well written.

Maybe if I exclude being a business owner completely from my resume....

 

Here's a copy of my most recent cover letter:

 

 

Quote:

August 27, 2013

 

 

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

 

I am writing to express my interest in the Chef position listed on Craigslist. Also attached is a copy of my résumé for your consideration.

 

As you review my credentials, you will discover that I am a dedicated, dynamic professional who has served as a catalyst for success, complimented by management and leadership qualifications and a proven record of accomplishment in many areas. 

 

For over twenty years, I have designed and implemented creative menus with the use of fresh ingredients to provide 4-star plus dining; coordinated and executed special events, both on and off site; directed staff and engaged in full-service restaurant operations (food preparation; oversee chefs, cooks, dish, and wait staff); lead staff in preparing a variety of high quality dishes; created award winning recipes; conducted cooking classes; and have exuberated high reviews for the establishments I have had the privilege to have been employed with.  I have also been honored to have won many awards and accolades both for myself and for the restaurants during my employ.

 

I excel as an effective leader and possess exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.  Through my leadership, my teams have been able to perform multiple tasks efficiently, resulting in high quality food and service.  Because of my exceptional skills, I was offered to open various restaurants and was successful in training and managing staff for glitch free openings.   I have had employees who stayed in touch over the years develop to achieve great cooking and leadership roles in the industry as well.

 

My strengths are backed by years of experience, perpetual optimism, and vision.  I enjoy what I do and thrive on new challenges.  I am a team player, but also work well independently.  My greatest strengths are that I am well rounded, remain calm under pressure, and motivate staff by example.  I strive to exceed all expectations and work to keep the vision and mission of an organization strong.  I am highly organized, run an efficient operation while maintaining food quality/ cost; labor costs; sanitation and safety as well as an upbeat work environment.  I have the ability to work in a fast-paced, demanding environment while maintaining excellent flavors, presentation, and my work ethic. I also have skills in ice sculpture, fruit/vegetable carvings, gingerbread houses, hot and cold smoking of meats, fish, and cheese; and more for displays and special events. I have had the honor of hosting national celebrities and dignitaries in my dining rooms as well as being invited to special events as a guest chef. I have also been a regular contributor for food columns and radio programs. Not only am I familiar with the use and maintenance of kitchen equipment, but I’m also able to perform minor repairs or troubleshoot to describe in detail to a serviceman.  My close friends call me “MacGyver” as my quick thinking, problem solving, and mechanical abilities have gotten us out of many binds, both in and out of the kitchen.

 

I am current on ServSafe®, First Aid, CPR, AED, and Blood Born Pathogens.

 

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.   I would very much appreciate the opportunity for a personal interview at your convenience. 

 

Sincerely,

post #7 of 17

Your cover letter is too long. Sound bits and brevity or you run the risk of losing their attention. Avoid doubling up using information that is already on your resume.

 

Why do want to work for their company? What do you know about their company?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #8 of 17

Three paragraphs, 3-5 sentences each.

 

First: introduction, who you are

 

Second: Why you want to work for

 

Third: Subsequent action, i.e. I'll call in three days or I'll stop by or I look forward to working

 

Attached is your resume with all the nitty-gritty details

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips guys.

 

Do I not want to include specifics that they listed in the ad?
 

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShutUpandCook View Post

Do I not want to include specifics that they listed in the ad?
 

 

Address those in your resume. Average time spent reading cover letters is 5-7 seconds.

 

The cover letter needs to grab their attention, the resume is for holding their attention.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wow 5-7 seconds!

 

Still too wordy?

 

 

Quote:

I am writing to express my interest in the Chef Manager position listed on Craigslist.

 

As you review my credentials, you will discover that I am a dedicated, dynamic professional who has served as a catalyst for success, complimented by management and leadership qualifications and a proven record of accomplishment in many areas for over twenty years. I excel as an effective leader and possess exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. My strengths are backed by experience, perpetual optimism, and vision.   I am a team player, but also work well independently.  My greatest strengths are that I am well rounded, remain calm under pressure, and motivate staff by example.  I strive to exceed all expectations, I am highly organized, run an efficient operation while maintaining food quality/ cost; labor costs; sanitation and safety as well as an upbeat work environment.  I have the ability to work in a fast-paced, demanding environment while maintaining excellent flavors, presentation, and my work ethic. I have had the honor of hosting national celebrities and dignitaries in my dining rooms as well as being invited to special events as a guest chef. I have also been a regular contributor for food columns and radio programs. Not only am I familiar with the proper use and maintenance of kitchen equipment, but I’m also able to perform minor repairs or troubleshoot to describe in detail to a serviceman.  

I am current on ServSafe®, First Aid, CPR, AED, and Blood Born Pathogens.

 

 

 ARAMARK is determined to build and develop the best team of professionals in the industry - people who aren't afraid of spearheading change, who know how to lead and who appreciate endless opportunity. This is the reason I want to be employed with ARAMARK

 

 

I look forward to the opportunity for a personal interview at your convenience.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.   

 

Sincerely,

post #12 of 17

Second paragraph needs to broken up into smaller bites.

 

Just as food for thought see what you think of this...

 

I am writing to express my interest in the Chef Manager position listed on Craigslist. 

 

I am a dedicated, dynamic professional who has served as a catalyst for success, complimented by management and leadership qualifications and a proven record of accomplishment in many areas for over twenty years.

 

I strive to exceed all expectations, I am highly organized, run an efficient operation while maintaining food quality/ cost; labor costs; sanitation and safety as well as an upbeat work environment.  I have the ability to work in a fast-paced, demanding environment while maintaining excellent flavors, presentation, and my work ethic.

 

I am current on ServSafe®, First Aid, CPR, AED, and Blood Born Pathogens.

 

My reason for seeking employment with ARAMARK is their corporate philosophy of being determined to build and develop the best team of professionals in the industry - people who aren't afraid of spearheading change, who know how to lead and who appreciate endless opportunity. 

 

I look forward to the opportunity for a personal interview at your convenience.

 

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.   

Sincerely,

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 17
Quote:

As you review my credentials, you will discover that I am a dedicated, dynamic professional who has served as a catalyst for success, complimented by management and leadership qualifications and a proven record of accomplishment in many areas for over twenty years. I excel as an effective leader and possess exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. My strengths are backed by experience, perpetual optimism, and vision.   I am a team player, but also work well independently.  My greatest strengths are that I am well rounded, remain calm under pressure, and motivate staff by example.  I strive to exceed all expectations, I am highly organized, run an efficient operation while maintaining food quality/ cost; labor costs; sanitation and safety as well as an upbeat work environment.  I have the ability to work in a fast-paced, demanding environment while maintaining excellent flavors, presentation, and my work ethic. I have had the honor of hosting national celebrities and dignitaries in my dining rooms as well as being invited to special events as a guest chef. I have also been a regular contributor for food columns and radio programs. Not only am I familiar with the proper use and maintenance of kitchen equipment, but I’m also able to perform minor repairs or troubleshoot to describe in detail to a serviceman.  

I am current on ServSafe®, First Aid, CPR, AED, and Blood Born Pathogens.

Try this:

 

Quote:
I am a dedicated professional chef with management and leadership skills as well as being an excellent communicator. I work well as a team member or, when necessary, as an independent that gets the job done. My sight is always set on achieving the goal of producing quality food in a timely manner with a solid handle on all of the costs involved.


Put the rest in your resume.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

That's very Clean.

Staring at it day after day for months can make you stupid to the ingredients of it, esp after working all day.

Thanks again!
 

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Soooo, do you guys think this should come off the resume?

More harm than good?

 

 

Quote:

Other Management Experience

 

Fly Fishing Texas Outfitters; Owner - Texas

Fly fishing outfitter offering guided fly fishing, fly casting schools, and seminars throughout Texas

  • Developed from the ground up to be the most sought after fly fishing outfitter in Texas
  • US Coast Guard licensed “Master Captain”, State Licensed
  • Appeared in several national fly fishing magazines as well as numerous national outdoor television programs
  • Numerous client and self caught state, national, and world records.
  • President of Trout Unlimited (Largest chapter in the world w/ over 4000 members)

 

Premier Events Women Retreats, Co-Owner - Wimberley, Texas    Upscale weekend retreats for women

  • Planned and executing breakfast, lunch, and five course dinner meals
  • Taught cooking, canoe and kayak classes, fly casting seminars, and various outdoor activities
  • Developed and implement marketing plan
  • Planned and implemented events
  • Budget preparations and accounting
  • Strategic planning and feasibility studies
  • Planning and purchasing supplies and food for small to large (300+ people) events
  • Hire and manage employees

 

(Award-winning) Women Magazine, Co-Owner Austin & San Antonio, TX

Women’s publication with 65,000 distribution in two major metros

  • Market research & business development (including business and marketing plans)
  • Contingency plan, budgeting, feasibility studies, and forecasting
  • Strategic planning; conduct feasibility studies; quality assurance
  • Direct events and sponsorship opportunities for branding
  • Community relations and partnerships
  • Website and on-line store development and management
post #16 of 17

I think the cover letter advice is right on.

 

I would also stick with a company like Aramark, Sodexho and the like, or smaller regional food service management companies. They value people with experience running their own business because often times and Exec Chef position with them is also the General Manager, Bookkeeper, Purchaser, Engineer and Bottle washer, not unlike owning the business except that you don't get the profit. Where you'll experience serious struggles is trying to get on with a restaurant. You are too close to the owners, who are not often secure enough to hire another previous business owner. Let's face it too, those of us who do/have owned our own business like to tell other people how to run theirs. It's an annoying habit and hard to break. In my experience, chain restaurants also don't like former business owners because we have a hard time overlooking what we perceive as weaknesses in their business that they don't have the desire to "fix".

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the pointers guys!

I sent a compilation of your ideas, eliminated that section of my resume (above) and received an email back today (the job is about two hours from me and they were asking about when I planned on relocating, which we are, anyway). Hell it's a start, at least they read it!

Back in "the day" I had companies making offers to me, I'm just not used to how this game is played.

Again, you guys rock, thanks for the tips! thumb.gif

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