Western Australia is home to many mining sites and resorts where Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) jobs are a popular employment model.
FIFO workers are temporary workers flown to a worksite, where they stay for a set number of days. Afterwards, they are flown back to their hometowns for a period of rest.
Remote resorts and mining kitchens often seek out chefs with specific qualifications. Commercial kitchens are stressful enough, but due to the remote aspect of the job, hiring managers have to be upfront with candidates they choose to fill in the spot.
As with most jobs, candidates need to secure police clearance and pass alcohol/drug screening. In addition to that, here are five hiring focus that most remote companies require and serve as your guide when hiring for your next FIFO Chef.
Most FIFO kitchen jobs require candidates who completed a Certificate III or IV Commercial Cookery or an equivalent course. This ensures that chefs and cooks learn theoretical knowledge and practical skills in fully equipped commercial kitchens. However, though they fit the cooking skills qualification on paper, you need to make sure that the candidate can actually cook to your required standard of quality. A simple test is to let each candidate prepare the same menu item for you to determine who passes.
Food Safety Certification is a qualification that is mandatory for everyone in foodservice. It focuses on the theoretical and practical application of good hygiene practices, sanitation and disease prevention within a wide range of service industry operations.
Food Allergy Training can be another requirement since you also need a chef who can adhere and accommodate special dietary requirements where allergies can be fatal.
Other certifications considered are Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, physical hazards and radiological hazards in production processes.
2. Bulk catering experience
Resorts and mining kitchens typically serve breakfast, crib, dinner (including desserts) to a hungry crowd.
And when preparing large quantities of food, speed and consistency are essential. Food quality is the first to suffer if bulk food preparation is done by someone who does not know prep planning, time management, and organisation. Skill in food presentation is a plus to make visually appealing dishes.
Be sure that you hire someone who has fast and efficient cooking methods and is able to deliver a consistent product every time.
3. Stock Management
A FIFO chef should have knowledge and experience with managing stocks. He should be familiar with the whole flow, including taking inventory, ordering, checking deliveries and stock rotation.
Because the job locations are remote and far from towns, supply and delivery can present challenges. Delivery schedules may not be frequent, and stocks may not be readily available in case of run-outs, which is why a chef should be knowledgeable of a products shelf life, holding time and proper storage of food to reduce spoilage.
4. Resourcefulness and creativity
Chefs with creative thinking can make the most of the ingredients they have on hand. This trait comes handy when unavoidable issues with stock management happen. Deliveries not arriving on time? Deliveries are damaged? Wrong stock forecasting and ordering errors that resulted in either surplus or lack of an item? These incidents happen. And although it would be great if these mistakes don’t occur again, sometimes, the chef’s creativity can save the day. Creative chefs can come up with new menus and prevent serving the same dishes day in day out.
5. A motivated, enthusiastic and positive ‘can-do’ attitude
A FIFO job can be high paying, but it is very stressful. The long working hours are nothing new for anyone working in the kitchen, but add to that a sense of isolation from families, some FIFO workers cannot handle the pressure mentally. Have an honest talk with the candidates to find out how they manage stressful situations, how they are open to communication and how they make the most of their free time.
FIFO chef jobs are both physical and mental, and requires the ability to work well alone as much as a part of a team.
RELATED READ: Why Chefs Should Speak Up About Their Mental Health
When hiring FIFO chefs, you need to look for someone who understands and is prepared to take on the demands of working in remote environments.
Anytime Chefs can help you find professional chefs who are experienced in FIFO jobs. We are currently supporting some of the best resorts in Western Australia and will continue to do so.
If you are looking for a FIFO chef here in Perth or across Western Australia, get in touch with us now and let us support you too.
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,