Applying to be a head chef? This is perhaps one of the most competitive jobs in any working kitchen. Many chefs aspire to be in charge of the kitchen so your job application has to be the crème de la crème. Here are 8 tips for writing a cover letter for a head chef job.
What to mention in a cover letter for head chef position
1) How long have you worked as a chef?
The Head Chef is the most experienced chef in the kitchen. In most kitchens you'll go in, the head chef has the most work experience. It's important that they do because they're in charge and responsible for any problems that may arise. Just like the captain of a ship, the head chef is responsible for their entire team.
Many employers will want to hear about your experience in a kitchen rather than qualifications you achieved at school. State how many years you've worked as a chef and what roles you've worked in. This will make your cover letter stronger.
2) Do you have any specialised skills?
There are many specialised chefs out there: Pastry Chefs, Meat Cooks and Vegetable Cooks are just a few. If you have specialised skills, it's important to mention them in your cover letter. It will make your application stand out.
Talk about how long you've worked in your specialty for and how it's benefited your skills.
3) Where have you previously worked?
Most chefs will have experience working in different kitchens: like, restaurants, cruise liners and hotels. Having experience working in different types of kitchens is valuable knowledge to have because you will likely have a good idea what makes a kitchen run successfully.
If you've worked anywhere that's worthy of mention like a Michelin star restaurant then you should include it.
4) Have you won any awards?
Winning awards (for example, like the Chefs' Choice Award) is an incredible medal of honour for a chef. Being the winner of any competitions or simply achieving continued success is something you cannot be quiet about. Awards need to be mentioned in the cover letter, don't save it for the interview.
5) What experience do you have leading a team?
As head chef your main responsibility will be to lead your team of chefs. In your cover letter, mention any experience you've had leading a team. If it's leading a group of new chefs or being in charge of an entire station then include it.
If you've worked previously as a sous chef, this is excellent experience to call upon in your cover letter. The sous chef is the second-in-command and responsible for the kitchen when the head chef is away.
6) Can you create new recipes and menus?
Creating new recipes throughout the year is usually required from the head chef. You need to be confident in your cooking skills. In the interview, your interviewer may ask for some examples of recipes you would recommend.
While the head chef tends to take a step back from cooking, they're still expected to keep their skills fresh so you need to make time to regularly practice your skills.
In your cover letter, mention any examples of when you had to create new recipes or if you haven't, talk about your passion for creating new dishes.
7) Have you got experience communicating with suppliers?
Depending on the size of the restaurant kitchen, you may be required to contact suppliers to order ingredients or this will be the responsibility of another chef.
Head chefs are regularly expected to have a head for budgeting costs and ingredients, along with looking after the stock levels. Having that experience on your cover letter will show you're head chef potential.
8) How important is safety to you in a kitchen?
Head chefs are responsible for the safety of their team. If they see any potential hazards, they need to fix them immediately. There are dangers in busy kitchens, like hot oil and slippery floor surfaces.
Mentioning the importance of having safety rules in the kitchen is a key point to include in your cover letter. Chefs are expected to wear slip-resistant chef shoes to help reduce slips and falls at work.
Have a look at our styles of chefs shoes:
Understand the responsibilities employers expect from their head chefs so you can impress in your cover letter
Our Complete Guide to Chef Jobs outlines all the responsibilities and duties of every chef in the kitchen. Our guide explains what employers expect from their head chefs, use this information to create an impressive cover letter.