Whether you like to dabble a little in the kitchen or feel you are a michelin star chef, if you want to take your expertise seriously then a job as Head Chef maybe the pathway to your fulfilment.
We spoke to Head Chef, Steve Smith from the Bohemia Restaurant (Jersey) to get the low down on what it takes to do a job like his.
Name: Steve Smith
Job Title: Head Chef
Company: Bohemia restaurant, Jersey
What does your job role entail?
I am ultimately responsible for food production and revenue across the entire hotel, including conference and banqueting for up to 100 people, room service, breakfast and throughout Bohemia restaurant.
Describe your working day or week?
It’s busy! Monday is spent organising menus for the week and dealing with our suppliers. I redesign the menu based on what supplies we can get hold of which depends on the season. I am then training the staff and organising the new dishes.
Most of our ingredients are locally sourced so are not always available all year round. Ingredients we use include Jersey Royal Potatoes and Fresh Fish Scallops which are locally sourced from the island of Jersey itself, while other ingredients are gathered from France, a mere 16 miles away. Fresh Oysters come from local fishermen and from Normandy, the capital of Oyster farming.
What key skills do you need to do your job?
As Head Chef the key skills you are need are organisation, creativity, financial control, training skills and communication. You need to be able to communicate with your team to ensure good team work and also with your diners.
What made you decide to go for this job role?
I went for the job role as Head Chef at Bohemia as I wanted a challenge and to achieve new things. Also Jersey is a fantastic place to live (the sunniest place in the British isles!). I am able to walk my dogs along the beautiful beaches in Jersey during my split shifts.
As a chef your role changes and increases as you get older. There is a lot of training in the job and you learn as you go along.
Best part of your job?
Cooking great food – that’s why I am a chef as that’s what I enjoy the most.
Worst part of your job?
I would say that data input is the worst part of the job, it’s tedious and boring!
Most memorable moment at work?
My most memorable moment is gaining my first Michelin star in 1997 but also gaining a Michelin star for Bohemia in my first 8 months of operation, in 2013, which was fantastic.
In 2014 Bohemia was named in The Sunday Times Top 100 Food List in 2014 and was ranked in OpenTable’s Top 100 Best Restaurants. We have had a lot of memorable moments at Bohemia!
If I’m choosing a course to study, what type of course suits this job best?
Business management is the best course to study. Other courses which would be suitable include a coaching course as you will need to be able to train your staff. Of course you need to know how to cook but you are constantly learning this on the job, plus any catering qualifications are useful.
Although courses don’t always prepare you for what it’s like in a restaurant, it’s all about experience.
Does work experience really help you to get the dream job?
Work experience is the only way you can get it. You need to have good organisation and kitchen experience. It’s unrealistic to believe you can leave with qualifications and expect to run a kitchen. You need at least ten years experience to run your own kitchen.
Give us a tip on how to steal your job.
Have hope and keep trying. If you put a lot of hard work into it and you are passionate about the business, you can get there. Having hope helps!