So, you’re thinking of becoming a Relief Chef? You’re sick of working 80 hours a week and only salaried for 40, your brigade is understaffed and you no longer want the hassle and responsibility of paperwork, you’d rather cook, which is why you became a chef in the first place right?
How does it work? There are plenty of Relief Chef Agencies out there all looking for experienced Chefs. They require you to register with them before you can begin work, this will mostly consist of submitting a CV and providing some ID documents. You will also need to provide 2 recent references that should be available to contact straight away. Don’t try giving them a telephone number for a restaurant you worked at years ago which has now closed down! It doesn’t look good!
Why are Relief Chef Agencies useful? If you’ve quit your last job because you were too stressed, understaffed and underpaid, becoming a Relief Chef could be the perfect solution until you find your next permanent role. You choose how long your contracts last, and once your initial contract is ended you can choose to stay, move on to another relief assignment, or leave to start a permanent job. In many cases the Chef Agency will be able to help you find a permanent job whilst you’re temping. Temporary contracts can even lead to permanent jobs in some cases.
Where will you be working? Once you’re fully registered with the agency they will contact you with offers for work. Make it clear when you register whereabouts in the country you want to work and the types of establishments you want to work in. If you tell them you only want work in your local area, they won’t be calling and wasting your time by offering you work 100 miles away! However you will generally have the most relief work opportunities by being flexible about where you can work. Show them you’re keen and can jump in your car or on a train and travel anywhere!
What positions can you work in as a Relief Chef? So, you’ve quit your permanent job because you no longer wanted the pressure of running a brigade. Relief Chef Agencies have contracts at different levels from Chef de Partie to Head Chef, you can choose what level you want to work at and the amount of responsibility you take on. This means you’re usually working in a similar establishment you were at in your permanent job but without all the added pressure! Sounds good?
How much money can a Relief Chef earn? The hourly rate varies from agency to agency but you’re looking at around £10 to £14 per hour depending on the level you’re working at. The busiest times for Relief Chef Agencies are during the summer months, usually from April to September. It a good idea to work as much as you can during this time as the industry is notoriously quite in the first few weeks of the year. This is when most Relief Chefs choose to take a well deserved holiday!
So why become a Relief Chef? From speaking to many Relief Chefs, the most rewarding things they find about the job is the freedom and the great life experiences you gain along the way. Becoming a Relief Chef can open doors and help you realise your ambition in life. You can work in all sorts of establishments and keep learning new skills along the way.