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What does it mean to be a corporate chef?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Some of you know more of this situation than others because of my previous posts, but i will start from the beginning to bring you all up to speed.

I was working at restaurant "X", this restaurant has 20 locations of concept X. This same corporation is working on opening a new concept that we will call "Y". Y is set to open within 2 months or so and will be first of the companys new concept. The head chef of Y was working in the prep kitchen of X, where we talked for weeks about my time at X, culinary school, favorite chefs, etc. Overall we had a great connection and he voiced that he wanted me to help with open concept Y. After a few more days of talking about the oppurtunity, he asked me if i was interested in being his Sous, which i accepted. All that was left was to pass it by the company board. (Concept X has never used sous chefs before, only a kitchen manager and corporate chefs running quality control at all of the X locations)

The board accepted the offer, only issue is they dont want to bring me on until closer to opening because Y has no money coming in, and i would be on Y's payroll. Well, the chef was Y is not very happy about that because he said he needs the help with menu planing, writing, recipe formulating, etc. In order to bring me on sooner, Chef suggested that they bring me on under X's corporate account, make me a corporate chef, and allow me to start ASAP. The board member who is working directly with concept Y has agreed to sit down with me in 4 days to talk about the opportunity, to see if i am a good fit, and then to "sell" me to the other board members if he feels i am a good fit. Luckily for me, i have spoken with the gentelman many times and i know that he feels i am capable of the sous position because he accepted the sous request in the first place.

So my questions is;
1) how do i sell myself if i dont have 10+ years of experience, for example? I am 21 and just recently graduated from culinary school. They know this already, but how can i justify that my lack of experience would be a good thing? (Eager to learn, open to new ways of doing things?)

2) i know if is different with every company, but what does it mean to be a corpoate chef?

3) what are some good questions to ask him during the interview?

Thank you SO much for taking the time to read all of this and to offer any advice.

With that being said, if all you have to say is something negative relating to my age, lack of experience, etc. Save it, the ones who have a relevant opinion on that matter are already chosing to overlook that.
post #2 of 5

I have read your previous posts, and even went back again before posted this.

 

Seems like you're going to have to ask the board members what their definition of a Corporate Chef is.

 

As you pointed out, it is different for each company.

 

Most Corporate Chef oversee multiple kitchens. They work with them to make sure they follow company policies, that food quality and sanitation are satisfactory and guidelines are all met.

 

Remember you are interviewing them as well.

You are asking them about what their concept is and what they are looking for you to do for them.

 

You are in control....not them.

Remember it is about whether YOU want to work there, and not if they are going to consider you.

With that attitude, you will convince them you are the person for the job.

 

Good luck

post #3 of 5
1.) Sell what you do have.
Be the answer they are looking for and back it up specific examples. Many issues businesses encounter are not proprietary to the business nor the industry. Breakdown in teamwork, breakdown in communication, decision making people not being on the same page, these are examples of universal life problems. When you have run up against them in the past, what have you done to be part of the solution?
Don't speak in cliches and be prepared to back up claims. If you say that you work well with others, give examples of teams that you have been on and what you learned as a result. Even if you don't have work experience of being part of a team, life is full of teams, use that experience. Claim to be detail oriented, give examples. Etc. etc. etc.
Be aware of non-verbal language. Be positive even when responding to questions that touch upon delicate issues such as why your previous employer and working experience might be less than stellar.
 
2.) To me there is only one corporate chef per corporation. After that it gets into semantics.
 
3.) If the roles were reversed, what questions would be provoking and intriguing to you?
How would you describe the responsibilities of the position? How would you describe a typical week/day in this position? What is the company's management style? Who does this position report to? What are the prospects for growth and advancement? How does one advance in the company? What do you like about working here? What don't you like about working here and what would you change? What can I clarify for you about my qualifications? Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
Don't ask "me" questions. Avoid yes or no answer questions. Ask one question at a time and about one topic at a time.
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 #4 of 5

I think what their saying is, they will be paying you out of Corporate. They don't want to put you on another accounts payroll. As far as your questions. Be true to yourself, you only know what you know. I would pump yourself up on how hardworking, dependable, loyal, trustworthy and  how eager to learn the new concept. 

post #5 of 5
There should be a policy and procedure manual in the chef's office.
Ask to borrow it and read up on job descriptions as well as SOP for the management level.
Might give you a clue as to what sort of answers they are looking for.
Like was mentioned above you will not know or have experience for everything (and definitely don't inflate your current experience/ knowledge level) .
Good luck...

mimi
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