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Anyone with Vegas experience/knowledge?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Lately I've been interested in maybe going to Vegas as an alternative to working in Chicago/NYC/Bay Area.

I've heard from people I've worked with about how different a beast Vegas is due to the unions/Casino corporations, etc.

How do you get a job at Guy Savoy, Joel Robuchon, etc? It seems they don't post ads on Craigslist like Michelin star spots in NYC, Chicago and the like do. They also don't seem to have anywhere to apply on their websites like a lot of other fine dining restaurants.

How can I break into one of these places and get in contact while not actually living there? I've got experience and a good resume working in fine dining, James beard winners, etc.

Any input appreciated!
Edited by veronporter - 6/30/15 at 12:47pm
post #2 of 9
I imagine the HR dept would be your first stop.
post #3 of 9
It's hard to break into the scene if you are not actually living here. Most of these places do post on Craigslist. You have to get it at the right time and check it constantly. Right now, Jaleo Is Hiring.

Also, check out the job postings at the casinos that these restaurants are in because most of them are owned by the casinos. For instance, go on MGM's career section, blah blah blah.

As for the unions, it can be a good thing if you're lazy and a bad thing if you want to advance and don't have seniority.

One good thing about Vegas is you can actually afford to live and thrive as this city pays more than most.
post #4 of 9
I am going to respectfully disagree with Chefbuba. For the restaurants you mentioned, contact the Chef de Cuisine directly, not HR.
I have been in Vegas for many years and the high-end restaurants like to hire directly. Here is how it goes: for the casinos that own the restaurants (most of the properties on the Strip besides Venetian/Palazzo), they are not supposed to advertise openings on their own. Instead the hotel's HR is supposed to handle the whole thing. but union rules could put a fast food level employee in a Michelin restaurant. So, to avoid that, chefs will either post anonymous job openings (I got one job that way) or do it word of mouth of mouth. They will interview and stage, make their decision, THEN, officially open the position only long enough for the pre-approved applicant to apply. Maybe in the middle of the night.
Disclaimer: I work pastry and do things differently, but know many that have worked where you mentioned..
So you really have to contact the chef before they have an opening. The hiring process here takes FOREVER. Be persistent. Try to take a trip here and line up some stages ahead of time. Keep in mind this is the slow time of year, so some hotels may have hiring freezes. Be persistent. Chefs like to see passion from their applicants.
Even though line cooks here can make more than $20/hr with amazing benefits,and unemployment is high relative to other states, we are always, always hiring. Don't bother coming if you can't pass the drug and background. No exceptions.
Good luck. It was 112 degrees today, but I love this town.
post #5 of 9

This may all have dissapeared, Vegas back in the day, I would receive offers from a few head hunters that had previous food experience. They were kind of a labor concierge to the Chefs when they had needs, as to avoid doing the union thing. There were no contracts and fees discussed, the head hunters were compensated by someone. I still keep up with a few friends there, I understand there is still a disconnect between the unions and the fine dining service. 226 is always going to be there, but as @Jellly says there are many ways to get around that.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellly View Post

I am going to respectfully disagree with Chefbuba. For the restaurants you mentioned, contact the Chef de Cuisine directly, not HR.
I have been in Vegas for many years and the high-end restaurants like to hire directly. Here is how it goes: for the casinos that own the restaurants (most of the properties on the Strip besides Venetian/Palazzo), they are not supposed to advertise openings on their own. Instead the hotel's HR is supposed to handle the whole thing. but union rules could put a fast food level employee in a Michelin restaurant. So, to avoid that, chefs will either post anonymous job openings (I got one job that way) or do it word of mouth of mouth. They will interview and stage, make their decision, THEN, officially open the position only long enough for the pre-approved applicant to apply. Maybe in the middle of the night.
Disclaimer: I work pastry and do things differently, but know many that have worked where you mentioned..
So you really have to contact the chef before they have an opening. The hiring process here takes FOREVER. Be persistent. Try to take a trip here and line up some stages ahead of time. Keep in mind this is the slow time of year, so some hotels may have hiring freezes. Be persistent. Chefs like to see passion from their applicants.
Even though line cooks here can make more than $20/hr with amazing benefits,and unemployment is high relative to other states, we are always, always hiring. Don't bother coming if you can't pass the drug and background. No exceptions.
Good luck. It was 112 degrees today, but I love this town.

Hey. Thanks a lot! I really appreciate that insight into the Vegas way of doing things. How would you suggest I get a hold of some of these CDC's? Obviously email but they don't seem to post email addresses on their websites. I'd really like to set up a few stages. Thanks again.
post #7 of 9

Cold calling might be a good approach.  Avoid weekends and aim for mid to late afternoon our time.  Even if you don't get the head chef on the first try, you can get good information from talking to a sous chef or line cook.

 

And just to clarify an earlier topic - I actually think the unions are a good thing and wondered if some of my comments made it seem negative.  When I first moved here I had mixed feelings because there is definitely bad with the good, but overall it is a key reason that workers can get a job without an advanced degree and earn a living wage.  Most of the best resorts on the Strip are union and can manage to make a profit, provide amazing service and still pay their workers enough to support a family and own a home.  And as management, I am not covered by the union, but am happy that the amazing cooks I have on my team are compensated fairly and have great health insurance.  And of course good wages and benefits for the hourly employees helps to raise wages for the salaried non-union employees as well.

 

On another note - I mentioned background checks and drug tests earlier.  From experience I will point out that some of the restaurants here are independently owned and don't necessarily require these.  As a result, unfortunately, those can sometimes be the locations where all of the people that can't pass those types of tests end up working.  One restaurant such as this that I worked at frequently had cooks calling off because they were in jail or, worse, coming in to work in questionable states.  I still remember one cook barking through most of service...good times, good times.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm not concerned with the drug testing. Not an issue for me and I'd rather work at a restaurant that tests in hopes of weeding out some of the less serious cooks.

As for the unions; I know there is a lot of bullshit that comes with it but as a fairly young cook who has never made much $$$, it seems like a good thing overall. In fact; it's probably the main reason I'm interested in working at somewhere like Guy Savoy Vegas rather than in NYC(also; the cost of living). I might one day eat my own words on this though...

I'll try a few calls and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.
post #9 of 9

I had good union experience as a young cook in 1981 I was making $9.62 hr as a lead cook in a large union house, my previous job paid $5 hr.

Again in the 90's as a Chef/Driver working for a movie caterer, the wage was $21.56hr typically working a minimum of 12hrs with many 16+hr days, money was good approx $475 for a 16hr day.

Today's rate looks like it's $35.83 hr $788 for that same 16hr day!

Keep in mind that there are only about 150 chef/drivers in the Hollywood union but there are plenty of second and third guys out on those trucks that are making $20+an hr.

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