If you're thinking about becoming a chef, restaurant industry experts say New York City is the land of opportunity for you.
There is a shortage of back of house staff, such as chefs and line cooks, as well as front of house managers and other restaurant jobs in the city right now. According to Stephen Zagor, director of culinary business and industry studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, this shortage is leading to high job placement rates:
"We talk to restaurants all the time, and they're constantly calling us because they know we're a reservoir of talent," he said. "They keep saying, 'We need, we need, we need.'"
The reason for this is partially due to the high turnover rate in the industry as well as the food scene explosion that has taken place over the past few years. "The restaurant industry often offers day jobs for performers and artists, which also attributes to the high turnover rates" Zagor said.
The rise of niche dinning combined with more openings have made it harder for restaurants to adequately staff their concepts, however, those who want to work in restaurants and kitchens can catch a lucky break with more opportunities available. Maureen Drum, director of career services at the Institute of Culinary Education, had this to say about the current state of the New York restaurant business:
"There's so many different types of venues, everything from pop-up food tables to food trucks to more casual-style service restaurants, because of that trend there are so many more avenues for a cook to head into."
Not only is there competition for work, wages are competitive as well. The average annual wage for all restaurant professionals in New York state was $50,430 in 2014, compared to $42,570 nationwide, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Chef Jesse Schenker, owner of Recette on West 12th Street and The Gander on West 18th Street, started his culinary career in Florida. He's seen first hand, the opportunities available in New York City. Despite the number of opportunities available, working in the restaurant industry still requires drive and commitment.
"It's really a question about one's commitment because this industry is truly a lifestyle," said Chef Schenker. "There's so much sacrifice but there's much to be gained."
If you're someone who's looking for a fresh start or someone looking to break into the industry, Harri is the best place to discover which opportunities are available hospitality professionals.