When you set out to hire the chef for your restaurant, you're looking for one of the most significant people on your team, and you're also embarking upon on of the most important relationships that you will have at the center of your restaurant. When looking for a chef, you need to read what's going on. You need to read about chefs. You need to learn what different chefs are doing. You need to eat different chefs' food, particularly chefs who cook the style of food that you want in your restaurant. You almost need to collect a bunch of memories of food and who cooked it. You need to understand what chefs care about and what they're doing.
When it comes time to actually start looking for candidates for your chef position, you're going to have to advertise. You're going to have to use word of mouth. Often times talking to vendors and others in the restaurant industry lets you know who's out there and who's looking. Sometimes you'll find someone who's a number two in a restaurant who's ready to become the executive chef and they'll be looking for that next opportunity. Culinary schools can also be a great source when you're looking for a chef.
When you're selecting the chef, it's important to remember that it's not just someone who cooks great food. Obviously, that's where it all starts. They need to make food that you're going to be proud to serve and food that matches beautifully with your idea of what the restaurant is all about. They also need to be a leader. They need to be someone that people want to work for, someone that people want to follow and learn from. If your chef is a great cook but they can't get along with anybody, they're not going to do a very good job for you and they're not going to be able to run a successful kitchen.
It's also very important that when you look for a chef you remember that they also need to be a business person. They need to be someone who understands that you're in business to make a profit and that their food and how they purchase and prepare and handle food will have a vital impact on the success of the restaurant as a business. They also need to be someone who is willing to manage labor costs and understands the vital role that it can play in the profitability of a restaurant.
Bottom line, this chef better be somebody you enjoy working with very much. There should be a synergy of creativity between you and your chef that is very exciting and very enjoyable for both of you. You're going to spend a lot of time working together and that energy between you will translate into the food on the plate and the guests' experience in your restaurant.