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    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

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    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

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    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

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  • Mise en Place

    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

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Archive for the ‘Mise En Place News’ Category

Eat My Words – Chef Chris Cunningham

Monday, September 29th, 2014

This week we talk with Chef Chris Cunningham who has been a Private Chef for most of his career, working for 4 wealthy families over the years and still works with one and has done so for the past 16 years. Chris is also writing a book about his Private Chef experiences and enjoys sharing the joy of his work with others in the industry. We ask Chris about his work and what it takes to be a happily employed Private Chef.

Chris your work experience and qualifications make you a sought after Private Chef world wide. Not only do you have a Grande Diplome De Cuisine Et De Patisserie but you hold a B.A. in legal studies from the University of Pittsburgh. What prompted the change from legal studies into being a Chef?

Actually, I have always been into cooking. I started baking cakes and selling them when I was twelve years old and even catered in college.  I was interested in law, but after a trip to Europe, specifically France, I fell in love with cooking all over again. I decided that if I was going to cook for a living, I was going to learn in France. 

You also mention that you not only worked for one Billionaire, but you actually have worked for four! Do you still continue to work for them in any capacity or others as a Private Chef?

Yes, I still work for the same family and have for 16 years. I began when their children were 3 an 4. I just sent the youngest off to college. Yes, they are still Billionaires, but don’t act like it. We are very close. I have worked for three other families, all of whom are so called  ”Billionaires”. I don’t think about that very much, I have a job to do and can’t get caught up in the hype.

What is the most amazing/interesting or just plain weird experience you have had with a client when cooking for them?

When I began in private service, I was the Chef for the President of American University in Washington D.C. During graduation, the daughter of King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordon was graduating. The king was not supposed to attend, but decided to come at the last minute. I had prepared a private reception lunch for the royal family in the President’s office. The King decided to hunch down behind the door and jump out and surprise his daughter when she arrived. She was thrilled and tears flowed everywhere. 

What would be your most difficult part of the day when working for a wealthy family?

The constant interruptions make the day difficult. There are a lot of people, working and maintaining a 40,000 sq food home and property. My kitchen is located right in the middle of the main house. Workers, deliveries and other staff are always around. It just slows down my job, even though there is no way around it.

What is the most unusual dish you have had to prepare for a family you’ve worked for?

My boss is of Lebanese descent and her parents owned a number of restaurants while she was growing up. A dish of lentils and rice called Mujadara is one of the families favorite side dishes. The recipe consists of a small list of simple ingredients. Perfecting it the way they wanted took me almost a year. One of the most difficult tasks of being a private chef is making the families traditional foods taste like they are used to. 

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef?

Thomas Keller is my favorite chef in the industry. His meals are perfection and creative. His restaurants are amazing, especially his organization in the kitchen.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

The owner of the yacht I spent five years working on was a very successful businessman. When he hired me, he didn’t offer me a starting salary. He asked me what I wanted to be paid. He explained that the hours are long, the job is demanding and he wanted to hire the best person. His advice is hire the best people and pay them what they think they deserve. Then he gave me more than I asked for anyway. He explained, people generally know what they are worth, but will often sell themselves short. It was a great lesson for me.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

It’s personality, not necessarily the food. Succeeding in a private chef position is 90% personality and 10% skill. Don’t get me wrong, you have to be a good cook, but if you work everyday inside someone’s home, they had better like you, If you screw up a sauce, you can’t swear and throw the pot at the dishwasher, when your boss is twenty feet from you playing with her five year old.  Don’t miss out on a great career, just because you think you are not a good enough chef. Wealthy employers are looking for more.

Do you train or coach other up and coming chefs in the industry? If so what is the most valuable piece of advice would you give?

I do work with other chefs in the industry. Travel, travel, travel! As a chef, you will learn so much from other cultures and cuisines, but you must go there. Also, work in as many venues as you can. All chefs have something to teach you. Don’t discount the other cooks around you either, many have a wealth of experience but don’t necessarily want to deal with the management side of the industry.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I wouldn’t say I have three favorite dishes to prepare, but I do love putting together speciality events. I then can research many different dishes to prepare. Everything from breaking the fast on Ramadan, to preparing a Passover Seder dinner, to having a memorial Japanese dinner for the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian. Ok, I love making beans and greens, cassoulet, and a really good homemade Reuben.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would like to prepare a full course meal for both sets of my grandparents. I didn’t know them very well and my paternal grandfather died before I was born.

You are currently writing a book about your experiences working as a Private Chef, when are you planning to publish it?

Writing the book has been an on going project for five years now. I have recently changed literary agents, but I hope the book will come out sometime late next year. 

Are there any projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with our audience?

The book and related articles are pretty much taking up most of my time. I have two more articles coming out in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, one on my days in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu and the other about working on a private island. 

Thank you Chris for sharing a great insight into your experiences as a Private Chef. Best wishes for your book and we look forward to reading it when it is published!

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Need a Grant? Hospitality Action Could Help

Friday, December 27th, 2013

For 5 years each May, Hospitality Action (HA) has run their fundraising week with participating restaurants and employees across the country. Hospitality Action is the trade charity offering a crucial lifeline to people of all ages, working and retired, from the hospitality industry. Whether they are approached by a chef, chambermaid, school cook or bar staff, Hospitality Action will endeavour to support, whatever the difficulty. The charity receives no government funding and so is dependent on individuals and corporate bodies from within the industry.

HA Week, took place on the 13th -19th May this year and involved a whole host of fundraising activities across the entire hospitality industry. These funds go towards providing vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.

To learn more about Hospitality Action visit their website www.hospitalityaction.org.uk or follow them via twitter: @HospAction

One way Hospitality Action assists is by providing grants to industry members. The three types of grants the charity offers are: 

  1. Essential Needs Grants

These are awarded for assistance towards the cost of an item or need considered essential for the wellbeing or improving the quality of life of the applicant. For example cookers, medical equipment, fuel bills.

  1. Crisis Grants

Crisis grants are awarded to applicants of working age who have suffered a sudden loss of income due to bereavement, illness or injury. Awards are usually for a maximum of one year. This grant aims to help the applicant to adjust to their new circumstances before returning to work.

  1. Top-Up Grants

These grants are awarded to people who have spent most of their life within the hospitality industry and are now on a very limited income.

More information about these grants can be found at: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/what-we-do/grants/

Penny Moore CEO, Hospitality Action said: “Sometimes all it takes is a very small change in circumstances to tip the balance and turn a manageable situation into an unmanageable one. An extended illness such as cancer can lead to a drop in pay. Other circumstances such as a relationship breakdown, bereavement or redundancy can also put a strain on the household budget. Whatever the crisis we will endeavour to be there for industry members in need.”

For further information about how you can apply you can download their application: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Application_FinancialAssisNew.pdf or please call 020 3004 5500 or email info@hospitalityaction.org.uk

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Thinking about Hiring a Personal Chef? It may not be as expensive as you think!

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

There can be many reasons why families may hire a Personal Chef and although it is generally seen as a service that only wealthy families secure, surprisingly enough it is now a service being considered by many families of various income levels.

In this day of busy lifestyles, many families are time poor and although eating out does have its benefits, it is not only the cost of the meal but associated costs of transport, child care, entertainment that all add up to a hefty bill at the end of the night.

Many Personal Chef Services are now becoming available where you can organise for the Chef to cook a number of meals for you and the family per week where they pre-cook a few meals for you to heat up later. You could also save more on costs by asking other family and friends if they want to share the cost with you so that the Chef can keep their fees down for you overall.

From discussing the types of meals and food that you like according to your diet requirements, the Personal Chef will usually not only prepare the meals but also do all the shopping of the food for you too!  The meals can work out to a similar price to a good restaurant dish of between £5 to £20 and if you share the meals with other friends or family the price will be at the lower end. This saves you a whole lot of time which you can ultimately use as quality family time while eating delicious and nutritious meals.

Another situation where families can consider the services of a Personal or Private Chef is during a family holiday where you are staying in a self contained room or apartment. The time spent cooking while on holiday is not that appealing for many and you’ll ensure the whole family enjoy a well deserved break without having to spend up big by eating out every day and night.

The benefits of hiring a Personal or Private Chef don’t stop there. You can also:

  • Lose weight by enjoying quality balanced food portions
  • Broaden your tastes
  • Learn to appreciate different meal combinations
  • Gain quality time as well as saving you money in the long term

Some tips for finding a Personal or Private Chef are:

  • Do you have a friend who cooks for a living? They may be interested in earning some extra money on the side.
  • Do you know a mom or someone who is in between jobs who loves to cook? They may be happy to earn some money doing what they love.
  • Think about the food you and the family like and what rules you would like your Chef to stick to. If you have some favourite recipes, make sure you share them with the Chef so they know your tastes.
  • Of course last but not least at Mise En Place we pride ourselves on obtaining the best talent for your requirements long term or short term. Contact us on +44 (0)20 7430 9811 or email us at: info@miseenplace.co.uk and we’ll be happy to assist you with your Private or Personal Chef needs.
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Preparing for an Interview Part 5 of 5 – Notes, Achievements & Follow Up

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

This is the last post of our 5-part series, ‘Preparing for an Interview’. As we mentioned in Parts 1-4, we’re covering all the aspects of applying for and attending a job interview in the hospitality industry. This post will cover some more tips to give you the edge when going for the job of your dreams.

The suggested stages of preparation are:

  1. Pre-Application – part 1
  2. Curriculum Vitae – part 2
  3. Research – part 3
  4. Presentation – part 3
  5. Interview – part 4
  6. Notes/Achievements – part 5
  7. Follow up – part 5

Feel free to review the Pre-Application, CV, Research & Presentation & Interview  posts before reading on.

This post covers 3 tips that applicants should be diligent with and to ensure that the cycle of the interview process is not only complete but that all parties involved are left with a positive impression.

  1. Notes

Many people make the assumption that when you go to an interview, it is like a real exam and that you can’t take notes with you. This is incorrect! You don’t have to remember everything. If you have worked with a few different employers where you have gained valuable experiences, ensure that you write down the particular achievements, learnings and situations that are worth sharing with your interviewers. The main ones would definitely be those that you may have referred to in your job application letter/selection criteria. In saying that, it will always present better if you can recall your major events & achievements or example situations quickly however have your notes handy if you need to refer to more detail about those situations.

Your notes should not only list your achievements but also the challenging situations where you can demonstrate the actions you took to ensure the desired outcome. Although many may be hesitant to list failures, it is good to refer to if you can show that you learnt from that experience and/or show that you achieved a positive result the 2nd time around. This highlights your maturity, professionalism and adaptability in challenging circumstances.

By all means, practise answering questions about particular situations or achievements beforehand but to help ease your mind leading up to the interview, write/type them down and bring them with you, which will help as a handy reference in case you need a moment to compose your answer. Have your notes open in front of you so that you present as an interested and engaged interviewee. It is important however to use them in moderation; don’t rely on them for every question but use only as a reference a couple of times throughout the interview.
As part of your notes, think about the relevance of achievement for you but also the result and/or impact on the business/organisation. There must be a balance there as the interviewers will look for your understanding and consideration of business needs in conjunction with your skills and ability to cope confidently. You should also be able to talk about your team and how you brought the team together, considered quality and costs as well as producing a creative outcome. Bring any proof that you can without divulging confidential information of your current or past employers.

2. Achievements

Many people find it hard to promote themselves as they may think they are showing off or bragging about themselves too much. In the case of an interview this is the time and place where you can share your achievements with pride.

A good tip is to not just say for example that you ‘achieved a dinner of 100 each night’ but take the interviewers through the logical steps you took in order to achieve that result. In this way you are showcasing not only that you can achieve the desired result for the customers but you also considered the business needs (and whether you kept it within budget) and, that you managed it accordingly. Also remember to share any challenges you faced within that example and what you did to rectify it.

3. Follow Up

Once the Interview is over it is a relief however there is another step in the process that must be managed professionally.

If you feel that after the interview you did not want to pursue the job further, we recommend you call us immediately to discuss (or the potential employer if you went direct) to let them know as soon as possible. Explain your reasons in a polite and respectful way and thank them for the opportunity to apply.

If it is a job you wish to pursue, ask them before you leave the interview when you should expect to hear if you’re successful. They will usually give you an indication of timeframe. We will always keep you updated once we hear back if we are acting on your behalf. If you are going direct with an employer, if you don’t hear back from them within the time-frame they have stated, it is ok for you to call them, but only call once.

If you don’t get the job it is a hard piece of news for many, however how you handle this is also important. Know that although you may feel that you should have got the job, the employer felt someone else may have been a better fit for whatever reason.  Understand what it may have been that may have contributed towards their decision such as how you presented, if you were nervous or whether your experience was sufficient.

We will always give you feedback so that you can use it to improve for your next interview. It is disappointing to receive this news but remember, we all have received this type of news and try not to take it too personally.

Most of all we’re here to help you through the process so feel free to meet with us for an appointment. You can contact us via email at info@miseenplace.co.uk or phone: in UK 020 7430 9811 or outside UK 0044 20 7430 9811.

Good luck in the search for your dream job!

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Preparing for an Interview (Part 4 of 5): Interview

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Preparing for an Interview Part 4 of 5- Interview

As mentioned in Parts 1-3, we’re covering all the aspects of applying for and attending a job interview in the hospitality industry. This post will cover interview questions.

In case you missed it, the stages of preparation an applicant should go through are:

  1. Pre-Application – part 1
  2. Curriculum Vitae – part 2
  3. Research – part 3
  4. Presentation – part 3
  5. Interview – part 4
  6. Notes/Achievements – part 5
  7. Follow up – part 5

Feel free to review the Pre-Application, CV, Research & Presentation posts before reading on.

The Interview

Usually the interviewer will ask questions based on what the company/organisation is looking for. Some of the categories of these questions include:

  • Quality:  in work and customer service
  • Teamwork: how you influence others and develop relationships
  • Leadership: how you inspire others to achieve
  • Communication: with internal and external stakeholders at all levels
  • Development: of yourself and others
  • Problem Solving : understanding the issues, gathering facts & presenting solutions
  • Achievements: what successes have you had
  • Value Creation: process management and service provision
  • Negative issues: how you hande complaints, rejection or pressure.
  • Other Questions: What do you do in your current employment? Why are you applying for this position? What can you bring to this organisation?

One of the traits that many interviewers look for above all else is passion. Read an interview with former White House Chef, Walter Scheib and what he looks for when hiring Chefs:  http://reluctantgourmet.com/tips-guides/chef-interviews/item/310-chef-walter-scheib

When it comes to Interview time, there can be many types of questions thrown at you. Some of the straight forward questions may be:

  1. How many employees report to you?
  2. What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
  3. Why did you choose to become a Chef?
  4. What do you do to educate yourself about new trends?
  5. What is your management style?
  6. What do you consider your strengths?
  7. How involved are you with the development and design of menus?
  8. How involved do you get with Purchasing and Receiving?
  9. How involved are you in risk management of the Business?
  10. How involved are you in managing the financials suchs as budgets and forecasting of a business?
  11. What is your experience with regards to managing labor and associated costs?

There are however other types of questions to prepare for which are called ‘situational’ style questions. These revolve around real situations that you may have encountered and helps interviewers assess how you have or would handle them.

Some example questions are:

  1. Tell us about a time when you helped to resolve a dispute between others.
  2. How have you handled it when the boss is wrong?
  3. Whoever else learned out of your mistakes, what did you do to share your learnings?
  4. What negative factor would your last boss say in regards to you?
  5. What  good assignment which was given to you was too hard for you personally? How did you resolve the problem?
  6. Let us know about a situation when you faced a significant obstacle?
  7. Describe a hard decision you needed to make with or without the help of your superiors?
  8. You are working with a co-worker who is consistently making mistakes that affect customers and that impact your ability to do your own work. You have tried talking with this colleague, but you have seen no improvement in the quality of their work. What would you do next?
  9. You notice a co-worker stealing from the company. What would you do?
  10. Give us an example of a time when you were able to communicate successfully with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you?

The main thing we recommend is to be prepared for all of these and write down your answers to all or as many as you can that are relevant to you and the position you are applying for. It is always better to be prepared than to operate in a reactive way.

Of course at Mise En Place we will help you to get prepared for the interview with your potential new employer so that you have the best chance possible for success!

The next part of our series, we will talk about taking notes, your achievements and follow up after the interview.

If you have any further questions please don’ t hesitate to reply below or contact us via: info@miseenplace.co.uk or phone: in UK 020 7430 9811 or outside UK 0044 20 7430 9811.

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Preparing for an Interview (Part 3 of 5): Research and Presentation

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Welcome to Part 3 of our Interview series!

To re-cap from the last 2 posts in the series, we covered:

  1. Pre-Application: Steps to take when getting ready for the job market and;
  2. Curriculum Vitae: Tips on how to make your CV as presentable as possible to your future employer.

This week we are covering Research and Presentation.

Research

Once you have applied for a position with a company or organisation it is very important to research everything you can about it. This is also a good step to do before you apply as you would want to know whether you are a good fit and whether the organisation has similar cultural values to your own.

Preparation is key to ensuring your interview is a successful one!

Some steps and tips to consider are:

  1. Go to the company’s website and read about the organisation.
  2. If there is an option to request more information about their menu/bookings or other services place a request with them.
  3. Read any news articles on the company/organisation on the site, but also Google for information on them also. This is a great way to find out more about their public profile.
  4. Find out the people to whom you would be reporting to.
  5. If you can also find out via your social networks if anyone knows someone working there. You will be able to learn more about how the staff are treated, whether they have career opportunities within, training, working environment and/or other staff benefits.
  6. These and other questions you compile can also be asked of us when you discuss a role at MiseEnPlace Recruitment!

Presentation

When attending an interview it is important that you present well and appropriately for the job. A suit may not be required for a Head Chef position, but it may be appropriate for a Customer Service role in a Hotel. It needs to be relevant to the job you are applying for.

As they say you gain an impression of someone you meet for the first time in the first 90 seconds. Some say it can be less time than that!

Interviews are always a nerve-wracking experience some other tips to help you through are:

  1. Take your notes and not try to remember everything. Include in your notes questions that you can ask your interviewers.
  2. Make sure you get ready in enough time and allow plenty of time for travel and/or possible delays.
  3. Make sure you also have a light meal prior so that your thoughts are not taken over with eating food, rather than informing your interviewers on your skills in preparing and/or serving it!
  4. Take a few deep breaths beforehand and think about a pleasant way to break the ice.
  5. Its important to ensure you have a pleasant smile and be happy about meeting your interviewers. Also ensure you remember their names when answering their questions.
  6. Remember to turn off your mobile phone and/or make it silent.

We will share these and more in the next part of our series where we will go into more detail about the interview itself. When we see you at our office to talk about a position we will also share a lot more tips and information with you. It is our job to prepare you for the interview and we will help match you to the most suitable role. In the meantime if you have any questions please feel free to contact us direct or reply below.

Feel free also to share what your interview tips are when apply for hospitality jobs, we’d love to hear from you!

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Eat My Words – Luiz Hara

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

This week we interview Luiz Hara the blogger behind The London Foodie. Luiz was a former banker turned food writer and trained Cordon Bleu Chef! Read below about Luiz’s transition into the world of gastronomic delights! You can also follow Luiz on Twitter: @thelondonfoodie  Instagram: thelondonfoodie, Facebook: thelondonfoodie and Pinterest: thelondonfoodie

From reading your blog you moved from a corporate banking career to food. Can you explain to our readers what were the key reasons you decided to take a bold step and change careers completely?

I have always been interested in working the food industry, but I didn’t have the confidence in my early adult years to take that interest to a professional level.  After years in finance and investment banking, and facing a big birthday, I decided it was time to take the plunge and pursue this interest professionally.  I had been planning the move for around 5 years before leaving the City.  Given that work takes up over half anyone’s waking life, I decided it was time to devote myself to a career I felt passionate about. When the time came in 2011, it was difficult to leave the security of a stable job I had long trained for, with a good income, but I am now very glad to have made that decision. 

You have not only taken on the task of being a serious foodie and writing about it but you also trained to be a Cordon Bleu trained Chef! So if there was a title of you, combining the two into their own special ‘recipe’ what would the name be? Or what would be your most prominent title?

Writing as The London Foodie, I would say I am a food writer who can cook. One complements the other – as a trained chef, my understanding of food and cookery, and therefore my ability to write knowledgeably about food has improved.  Equally, as a writer, I get to visit restaurants all over London, which in turn has helped me to raise my game as a supperclub host and chef.   

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

I am not particularly interested in newly opened or expensive restaurants, but am equally happy reviewing a good Italian pizzeria, a dim sum venue or a Michelin-starred restaurant.  I want to find good examples of whatever restaurant style or cuisine I will be featuring, where the chef himself or herself actually cooks the food served rather than spends their time on TV shows.  

Who is your current favourite chef?

Nuno Mendes of Viajante.  I have known Nuno for years, since I first went to his Loft Project supperclub in Hackney.  I have been lucky enough to dine at Viajante on a number of occasions since then. I find his food innovative, creative and very sophisticated.

Most underrated Local Restaurant?

I love Saponara, a local Italian delicatessen and pizzeria in Prebend Street, Islington, serving up what I think is the best pizza in London, with a fine Italian wine selection. It has been serving its local clientèle for years, and I go there often.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Blogging has broadened my horizons considerably.  Whereas I used to have a few favourite food haunts I would visit regularly, now I need to visit a variety of venues. Blogging has also made me much more observant than I used to be of skills in restaurant design, cooking, value, atmosphere and front of house service.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare and or love at another restaurant?

Japanese and French cooking are close to my heart.  For my recent series of Japanese supperclubs, I created a summer dish of cold green tea noodles served in an ultra-chilled dashi broth topped with deep-fried aubergines and chillies. A perfect dish for a hot summer’s day.

I love unusual sushi combinations. My latest creation, Seabass Sushi Gangnam Style, combines sushi rice and seabass sashimi with elements of Korean cooking including white radish and carrot sweet pickles, wilted spinach in sesame oil, and a garlic and soy sauce jus.

Another favourite is a French classic I love to prepare whenever I can – Pomme Dauphine.  This is a mixture of mashed potatoes and choux pastry, eggs and butter. These are made into dumplings and deep-fried.  Like profiteroles, the dumplings puff up, with a crispy choux exterior, and a light, deliciously fluffy potato centre. They’re great to accompany a main dish with a rich creamy sauce, to soak up all the goodness!

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Stop trying to improve.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

A more continental approach to drinking or in other words partnering small affordable appetizers with drinks. Much as I love pork scratchings with my pint, I also love going to Spain, Portugal or Italy, where I will routinely be served a flavoursome local snack with a glass of wine or beer.

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

Jay Rayner.  He’s an entertaining writer, equally at home celebrating a hot chilli dish in a neighbourhood Asian restaurant as critiquing the most stellar chefs.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Three Michelin starred Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain. I was lucky enough to go there for lunch a couple of months ago, and have his tasting menu with accompanying Spanish wine flight.   This was an epic feast, with astonishing culinary skill and exquisite presentation.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I have just made some Avocado Ice Cream, it couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Add 340g avocado flesh, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 340ml whole milk, 120g sugar and 240ml double cream in a food prcessor and blend until smooth. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker for 45 mins. For a firmer texture, you can freeze it for a couple of hours before serving, and voila!

Thanks for the interview and receipe Luiz!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Preparing for an Interview (Part 2 of 5): Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

As mentioned in Part 1 of this 5 part series, we’re covering all the aspects of applying for and attending a job interview in the hospitality industry.

To re-cap, the stages of preparation an applicant should go through are:

  1. Pre-Application – part 1
  2. Curriculum Vitae – part 2
  3. Research – part 3
  4. Presentation – part 3
  5. Interview – part 4
  6. Notes/Achievements – part 5
  7. Follow up – part 5

In part 1 we covered the pre-application process and gave practical steps for you to complete it. With this post, we will be covering  step 2, creating your Curriculum Vitae.

In the age of the internet we have now access to so many resources and information that it would be almost considered a crime if we did not have a well written CV!

The main things to consider is to keep your CV to the point, cleanly laid out, categorised and no more than 2 pages (if possible). Remember to lay out the information in a clean and succinct manner. This is where it is very helpful to look at examples relevant to the Hospitality industry.

For your reference below are CVs examples for different job roles:

This site has many examples, this page in particular covers CVs for Chef (example 1), Chef (example 2), Chef (example 3) Sous Chef (example 1), Sous Chef (example 2) and Head/Executive Chef (example 1), Head Chef (example 2).

You could also consider using a resume builder service such as http://www.myperfectresume.com/ a great way to write and create your CV to perfection!

Other tips to note when writing up your CV:

  • The CV is all about your skills, your successful achievements and your experiences. Ensure you put time aside to make sure this document highlights everything about you in a clear and easy to read manner
  • Use consistent fonts – suggest one type of font for the headings and another for the content
  • Don’t add photos
  • Be honest with your experience
  • Refer to the longer dates you’ve worked in places such as from 2009-2012
  • If you had a break and it may look strange that you had no work experience for that time, be honest and say for example it was a break away to assess your career direction or to make sure you were making the right step in your career.
  •  Think of the competencies that an employer would want to see and ensure you use active words in your CV to highlight your wins and back up your achievements eg Successfully managed a team of 5 and delivered daily 3 course meals on time, quality and on budget for a high end restaurant. Saved 10% on operation costs by assessing and changing food preparation processes.
  • Stick to the facts, don’t embellish your experience with your desires such as saying you are passionate about your work. This can be discussed in your interview.
  • List all your industry certifications, but also list other certifications or relevant experience if it is industry related
  • List any computer, finance, management or other experience as these are also valuable skills to have
  • When you list a job you’ve worked at, list the role and time you worked there but also add the tasks you performed there, keep it succinct. Eg Managed team of 5, Managed ordering of food inventory and budgets.
  • Make sure your email address is professional. If you’re personal email is too ‘cute’ don’t use it, create a new email account with just your name or similar.
  • Remember to spell-check your work!

Hope these tips and examples give you enough to work with. If you do have any other suggestions or need more info, feel free to comment on this post and let us know, we’re happy to help!

In the next post of this series, we will cover Research and Presentation, see you again soon!

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Eat my Words – Selin Kiazim

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

We are very excited to introduce to you Selin Kiazim. Remember this name as Selin is considered one of London’s leading young chefs. With several finalist positions in Young Chef of the year and National Chef of the Year, her year to be at the top of her game is coming… along with her dream to have her own restaurant. Find out more about Selin via her website www.selinkiazim.com or follow and tweet her on Twitter at: @Trinkets86

Selin, a big congratulations to you! You are enjoying a rising career with a bronze in the Culinary Olympics in 2008, finalist in BBCs Young Chef of the year in 2009, finalist in Spanish Chef of the year and finalist/semifinalist in National Chef of the Year 2010,2011 & 2012. You say you like competitive cooking. Will being a part of regular industry cooking competitions be something you plan to do throughout your career and if so why?

No, not all through my career. The only competition I’m interested in winning at the moment is National chef of the year. It has been a goal of mine ever since catering college so I would love to finally do it, this will be my 4th year of entering so who knows!

You were Head Chef at award winning Kopapa Restaurant and seen as one of London’s leading young chefs. You have really rocked the professional kitchen by excelling in what is usually seen as a male dominated industry. Where there any times that you had to ‘prove’ yourself in any way because of being a woman?

I think when I took the job as Sous Chef at Kopapa I felt intimidated at times working with quite a few boys, being 25 and female I felt as though I had to prove myself to them with my knowledge and cooking ability. But, it was mainly a case of just growing in confidence. Once I establish that in myself, everything became a lot easier. Previous to Kopapa I worked at The Providores which was a female dominated kitchen at times so I think I expected the same at Kopapa.

 Do you have any dreams or plans about mentoring more women in the industry?

I wouldn’t say dreams or plans but I certainly prefer working with young female chefs, so the chances are it will happen at some point. There are a couple of young female chefs I left at Kopapa who I would love to work with again but we will just have to wait and see where everyone ends up.

What high profile chefs have you worked with and who gave you the best tip and what was it?

Peter Gordon is the only chef I have worked for and he must have given me a million tips in the time I worked for him but I would say that having fun in the kitchen is the biggest he has given me, everyone cooks/creates better when they are happy.

After your TV debut at an early age on BBCs Young Chef of the Year – would you consider having your own cooking show?

I guess if the right offer came up maybe but my priority is to have my own restaurant first so its not really something I am thinking about.

Where was the last place you ate out and what did you have?

At Fino last weekend. I had turbot, crisp pork belly, oxtail empanada & the most delicious baby gem salad!

What is your favourite Local Restaurant?

Can’t say I really have one. But, my favourite places to dine out are Fino & Barrafina.

Which dish do you enjoy making?

Bulgur wheat koftes. It is a bugur wheat casing with a spiced mince filling rolled into a lemon type shaped and then deep fried. They are rather time consuming but incredibly delicious!

Which chefs do you most admire and who would you like to work with in the future?

Probably Miles Kirby, Chef owner of Caravan Exmouth & Kings cross. He was my old chef at The Providores. I have nothing but admiration for him and his partners for building up their business through pure determination and brilliant creative skills. He is a real example for me.

Without giving away any trade secrets, is there a simple recipe that you would like to share with our readers?

Here is a quick recipe for an aubergine and lentil salad: Aubergine_lentil_salad_recipe_by_Chef_Selin_Kiazim.

You’re now in transition to take your next dream step in your career… your own Restaurant in 2014. Will it be in London and what culinary style and atmosphere will your diners be delighted with?

Well without giving too much away I’m actually going to have my name above the door of a brand new restaurant opening in East London this year. It is not entirely my creation but it is a great opportunity for me to learn everything before I completely go it alone someday.

Watch out for Selin who is currently cooking at her Trinkets Restaurant Pop-Up series touring around London. Details on her locations are on her website. Thank you Selin and we wish you the best in your new ventures!

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Preparing for an Interview (Part 1 of 5): Pre-Application

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

In the next few posts we will cover a 5-part series on preparing for and attending job interviews.

Job interviews are known as one of the most challenging and stressful situations however with a little planning and preparation, (just like in creating that perfect meal or dining event) you can come out with flying colours and with the job you dreamed of!

Whether you are entering the hospitality industry as a new or inexperienced employee or applying for a position as a seasoned Executive Chef, it needn’t be a traumatic experience and it is all about being prepared, which in turn will help you to present confidently to the interviewers.

We will highlight the main topics below which will be covered in more detail over the next few posts:

  1. Pre-Application – part 1
  2. Curriculum Vitae – part 2
  3. Research – part 3
  4. Presentation – part 3
  5. Interview – part 4
  6. Notes/Achievements – part 5
  7. Follow up – part 5

In this post we will cover Pre-Application.

Pre-application

Pre-application is all about you and assessing yourself for your career path. This step is especially useful for those thinking about or have just started in the hospitality industry. This can be difficult for many as we all mark ourselves harder than those who mark us and some of us can also be too flippant about our talents and abilities whereby they are seen as great assets for a future employer.

This step is about being totally honest with yourself but also to set down in clear terms what you are really looking for and what work environment would suit your personality and career needs.

Some jobs you apply for, you will be fully skilled for that position yet, you may not get it  – why? Because your personality may not fit in with the existing team, or that they may not be able to offer you the particular training or promotional opportunities that you are looking for. Be mindful, DO NOT TAKE THIS PERSONALLY! This is actually a really good thing as you can use that interview as great practise and know that you are closer to the job you really want and will have a match with!

The first step is to go through the following questions and answer them truthfully and honestly. It may be hard to start with, but you will learn a lot about your personality and career needs in the process! Once you have completed these, run these questions and your answers by a person or mentor whom you look up to and trust as a guide to make sure you have been fair to yourself. This will also help you with Step 2 in creating your Curriculum Vitae.

Tips-

Refer to these when answering the questions below:

Soft Skills – These are the skills needed to work with others such as listening, collaboration, leading, communicating, teamwork etc.

Hard Skills – These are the technical skills to perform your job to an acceptable standard and speed.

Remember there are no right or wrong answers as this is just a pure assessment of you and your personality and skills.

  • What were my highlights at school/University?
  • Eg. Was I good at playing sport or performing in a team environment?
  • What was I recognised for during my  time at school – think of recurring recognition or themes such as being a good communicator, listener, team player etc.
  • If I was a high performer at school what where the subjects I most liked? Why?
  • If I wasn’t a high performer at school, what activities do I enjoy the most? Why?
  • If I am moving into the Hospitality Industry, why do I want to do this? Is the reason purely for my personal desire to excel and to bring your passion to the industry? (If not, and you are doing this to prove a point or to please another person, please think again, this is not a good reason for longevity in this type of industry.)
  • Do I like working in a team, or working on my own?
  • Why do I want to change jobs?
  • Would I be prepared to take less money if it means I am doing the job I love or prefer?
  • What are my family commitments and how will they be affected by the type of job/location and time/s I work? Will my family support this?
  • Do I want to travel far to my workplace?
  • Would I be happy to re-locate for a job?
  • Am I proactively seeking to develop myself and my skills?
  • What do I consider my strengths? Soft and hard skills
  • What do I consider my weaknesses? Soft and hard skills
  • How successful have I been in each job I have had?
  • How did I benefit from each job I’ve had, what did I learn?
  • Did the business benefit from my employment with them?
  • Which elements of each job did I enjoy?
  • Which elements of each job did I dislike?
  • Do I enjoy a more laid back or prefer a strict and tightly run environment?
  • Do I mind if I am paid in cash or would I prefer a salary job? (be mindful as gaining a record of paid employment via salary can be helpful when applying for loans and starting up that dream restaurant in the future!)
  • Have I ever been praised at work or for a job well done?
  • How did I react and did I build on it?
  • How did I react when criticised for an unsatisfactory task? How did I handle the feedback? Did I try to rectify it?
  • Do I like change and am I stimulated by it?
  • Is job security important to me?
  • Would I prefer to work in short term jobs to build on my skills first?
  • Are other people’s opinions important to me?
  • What is my age? Is my age seen as a problem?
  • If my age is considered to be a disadvantage how can I turn this into an advantage? (Many employers value experience!)
  • Do I consider myself to be a happy and well rounded person?

Once you have completed the above questions, review them, ask yourself what you have discovered about your skills and personality. Present them to your mentor and have a good discussion to make sure you have been fair to yourself, have included all aspects and that you are clear on what type of work environment would suit you and your career needs.

You will then be ready to start on step 2, preparing your resume!

 

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