Even America’s finest restaurants say hiring has become incredibly difficult. “There aren’t enough qualified cooks — or unqualified cooks,” says a restaurant owner.
Gotham Bar and Grill is a top-rated New York City restaurant with a coveted Michelin star. Not that long ago, it would have been a dream destination for those aspiring to a culinary career. But there’s no waiting line of figures in kitchen whites today.
“If I had a position open in the kitchen, I might have 12 resumes, call in 3 or 4 to [try out] in the kitchen, and make a decision [a few years ago],” co-owner and chef Alfred Portale told Fortune. “Now it’s the other way around; there’s one cook and 12 restaurants” chasing that candidate.
Chefs from all say that getting kitchen talent is tougher than baking a soufflé during an earthquake, and it’s painful for those who are working in kitchens. “All the salary guys are working unforgivable hours, 70 hours [a week]” to make up for the lack, southern California chef and restaurateur Brian Malarkey told Fortune.