How to find a chef… for free!

find a chef greenIt’s a bugbear of many publicans, hoteliers and restaurant owners. How do you find a chef who is reliable, level-headed and good at their job?

Morning Advertiser recently reported how the UK catering industry is suffering from a chef shortage.

To make matters more challenging, many pubs have a miniscule – or non-existent – recruitment budget.

But don’t despair! There are a range of effective options to recruit a chef free-of-charge.

In this article, I’ll show you:

  1. How to make the most of word-of-mouth and personal contacts
  2. How to advertise on social media and your website
  3. The 6 best free job boards for finding a chef

Method #1

Word-of-mouth: how to find a chef through personal contacts

staff communicationPerhaps you’re running a pub for the first time or your current chef has left…

Whatever your current situation, word-of-mouth can be an indispensable tool for discovering a suitable chef.

Here’s how…

Talk to chefs and people in the catering trade:

If you know any working chefs then get talking to them. Do they know any reliable chefs on the lookout for work? Even if they don’t, you can still ask them to put the word out.

You might just get lucky!

For those of you running a pub for the first time, is there anyone amongst your circle of contacts who works in catering or hospitality? They might know suitable people trying to find chef jobs.

Ask your staff to ask around:

Bar staff are sociable sorts and they might know people in the catering profession. So, ask them to spread the word that a passionate chef’s required at your pub.

Mention it to friends and family:

With a little luck, just mentioning it to friends and family might help you find a chef.

Method #2

Your online tools: how to find a chef via social media & website

Your establishment should have its own website (if not it’s time to get building!). Your site should include a careers or vacancies page which features the latest job opportunities at your pub.

Let’s look at some examples, starting off with Ember Inns’ job page:

find a chef ember website

The advert really emphasises the need for passion – essential for any good chef. As does this job advert from Baron’s pub company:

find a chef job advert 1

Do you need help with writing a job description? No problem, click here for a selection of chef job description templates courtesy of

Social media can also be an effective way of sourcing applications from chefs. Twitter and Facebook are the two key social media channels to use for this…

Twitter logoTwitter adverts

Twitter is a great online marketing tool for pubs. If you don’t have an account, it’s time to set one up. (We’ve even written an in-depth guide on how to write content for Twitter.)

But for now, here’s how you can use Twitter to find a chef.

Here’s a good example of a Twitter job ad:

find a chef twitter ad

As you can see they’ve used the hashtag (#) on the words “Aylesbury”, “Buckinghamshire” and “ChefJob.” By featuring ‘hashtagged’ words the post is more likely to be found by people searching for those terms (in this case, chefs looking for jobs in Aylesbury and Buckinghamshire!).

The tweet also links back to the full job advert. So, an interested chef can click the link and get more in-depth information about the role.

Plus, by adding an image to your tweet, it’s more likely to attract attention and stand out from other posts. Plenty of studies have been published about how using images helps boost a social media post, both on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information, check out: 7 ways to best promote job opportunities on Twitter, courtesy of

Facebook logoFacebook adverts

With Facebook you are not restricted by word or character count, so you can make the chef advert as long as you like.

Here’s an example from The George Hotel in Hatherleigh:

find a chef advert Facebook

Here’s another example of how a Facebook job advert can be use to find a chef, this time by The Jobs Menu:

find a chef Facebook advert 2

In these examples, we again see the use of a strong visual image, plus location details.

Remember, you can post the adverts more than once if needed. For those with a small budget, there is also the option to pay for advertising on Facebook or Twitter. This allows you to reach more people – and your relevant target audience (i.e. chefs!).

Other online tools that might be handy are Google+ and LinkedIn.

Method #3

Free job boards: the 6 best for finding a chef 

find a chef job boardThere are numerous free job boards for finding a chef. BUT, some are better than others.

So, to save you the trial and error, we’re sharing the 6 best free job boards for finding a chef.

How do they work?

Most free job boards allow you to post an advert for free, and then receive a list of applications. HOWEVER, if you see an applicant you like – and you want to contact them – that’s when you will usually be asked to pay a small (often tiny!) fee.

Here are the best ones we came across.

1. UK Staff Search


find a chef job board 1

Overview: The UK Staff Search is a free-to-use jobs board for both recruiters and job seekers. And it’s a pretty user-friendly site too.

It has 300,000+ new users each month and a high return rate. For the hospitality industry alone, they received over 62,000 searches in a recent one-month period.

Free features: You get to post job vacancies to UK Staff Search and its affiliated job sites, plus use UK Staff Search’s CV search facility.

Paid-for features: If you want to get the contact details of the chef, you will need to pay a small fee which varies from 92p to £11 depending on the proposed salary (the higher the salary, the higher the fee).

From the people themselves:

In terms of why businesses should recruit on our website, we do not push them to, nor do we advertise or use any persuasive sales tactics. We simply offer a free job posting service and drive job seekers to our website.

“We make job seekers our number one priority, as we want to put as many people in work as possible.”

2. CVbrowser


find a chef job board 2

Overview/first impressions: CVbrowser is a promising option for publicans looking to employ a chef free-of-charge.

There are a large number of chef vacancies already being advertised on the site – a sure sign that the site is a strong performer in this sector. The paid-for options also look good value with clear pricing points should you want to make your advert stand out and reach more chefs.

Free features: CVbrowser allows you to post job adverts for free and also view most of the applicants CV – such as location, education and employment history. Also, upon first joining you get two free credits with which to contact applicants. Your job adverts also get aggregated to other free jobs boards.

Paid-for features: After your free contact credits are used up, it only costs £1 to contact each subsequent applicant. To increase your job adverts exposure, you can buy a sponsored option for £10 per vacancy. This also gets your job sponsored on other premium sites and free contact details are bundled into the package (which means you don’t have to pay an extra £1 per contact).

In their own words:

“This product is great for job board sceptics or landlords new to recruitment as it’s free so there is nothing to lose. We don’t even capture a credit card like many ‘free’ boards do when registering.

“CVbrowser is an ideal place for pubs to advertise for staff, we cover not just chef roles but bar, waiting, cleaning and management roles too. We advertise all front and back of house catering vacancies. One of our new products includes free job advertising with anonymised applications sent to the inbox of the person posting the job.

“If the landlord would rather skip the whole job advertising process we also offer the CV database as a standalone product – they can search the anonymised profiles of our candidates and contact them for just £1 each. We also guarantee these messages are read by the candidate so if it’s undeliverable we’ll credit the recruiter with another contact.”

  • Rhys Farrant, Director, Cvbrowser

3. Indeed


find a chef job board 3

Overview/first impressions: A giant of the industry, Indeed has a vast network for advertising your chef vacancy – and also has one of the easiest sign-up processes. Fill in your email address, create a password and you’re ready to go. Often top of the tree when people search under relevant terms on Google.

Free features: As with other key competitors in the jobs board market, you get to add your advertise your vacancy for free. You can also view CVs for free.

Paid-for features: Again, costs come into play when you want to contact an applicant – and at £1 per contact, it’s rather good value.

You can also increase the visibility of your advert by paying for the ‘sponsored job’ option. The benefit is that your job advert will be prominently positioned at the top of search results so interested applicants can see it more easily. The amount you pay depends on how many people click on your advert (usually at a rate of £0.12 – £0.70 per click).

4. Chef Quick


find a chef job board 4

Overview/first impressions: Chef Quick is the only one in our list which is a specialist in the chef industry. Each vacancy uploaded to the site is also automatically included on Indeed and Universal Jobmatch – the Government’s own jobs portal.

Free features: You can post three 14-day adverts per month without charge.

Paid features: A featured ad is charged at £55+VAT and ensures your job ad is placed at the top of the page under any relevant search. It also gets greater prominence on social media (the advert is accompanied by a picture and for every day your job advert is live it gets shared afresh).

ChefQuick also features three different packages for employers requiring a high recruitment volume.

In their own words: 

“The greatest benefit of using Chef Quick to advertise any chef positions is that we offer free advertising to smaller, independent businesses. We offer up to 3 free jobs per month per business.

“We are also amongst the cheapest for premium job listings across the sector. We’re also a niche job board dealing solely in chef and kitchen positions.

“We use social media to promote the jobs on our site and upload as standard to Universal Jobmatch and Indeed to further the reach of ads. You won’t find a better service for a free job listing anywhere.”

5. Careers4a


find a chef job board 5

Overview/first impressions: Careers4a is a busy looking site with plenty of chef vacancies being advertised. Its popularity with recruiters is no doubt due to integration with multiple job posting providers, including: Broadbean, Jobmate and Logic Melon among others.

Careers4a is itself part of a network which includes and Its simple interface and the ability to create template adverts, will also be attractive for users.

Free features: Job posting is free and that includes coverage on affiliate sites. Which means that your free advert will attract plenty of potential chef candidates.

Paid-for features: At the time of writing it isn’t entirely clear where paid-for options kick in. It would be fair to presume that there will be a small fee for contacting applicant – as with the other free job boards.

6. Field Recruitment


find a chef job board 6

Overview: Field Recruitment is a full service recruitment company which has been operating since 1974 which also has a free job posting facility. That gives you the option of simply signing up, logging on, and advertise a vacancy for free – and then, if required, paying a bit of money for recruitment services such as candidate screening and background checks.

One drawback is a low number of catering jobs currently advertised on the site – which suggests it’s not an area of expertise.

Free features: Advertise an unlimited number of job vacancies for free and receive an unlimited number of candidate responses at no cost.

Paid-for features: Again, as with fellow competitors; it’s likely that contacting candidates will come at a small cost. You can also add candidate screening, online skills testing and background checks into the bargain.


With so many pubs now reliant upon their food service to increase profit margins; chefs have become a vital ingredient for success.

Increase your chances of finding the right one by making the most of your free tools. To recap:

  • Use your personal contacts
  • Use your website and social media
  • Try at least one of these free job boards

Have we missed anything? If there are other free websites you’d recommend to find a chef, please tell us in the comments below.

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