What is the best way to go about finding a culinary
job in Asia?
The leading international executive search
firms, or the web sites of the better hotel companies (Mandarin-Oriental,
Who should apply (chefs of what level and background
No need to apply
until you are at the level of a senior sous chef with at least 5 years
of very high quality experience.
Which countries are showing the highest demand
for expat chefs right now?
None, there has
been a big slowdown. There is in fact more demand in the middle East than
in Asia. Hong Kong still looks for the very top names in executive chefs
and executive pastry chefs.
Which countries are notoriously the most difficult
for westerners to adjust to working in and why....
Korea is very,
very difficult: they are a bit xenophobic out there and do not trust the
foreigner. Japan is also difficult to adjust to.
Is the visa issue complex, how long on average
would you expect the process to take?
Depending on the
country it can take from six to ten weeks.
Culture shock must be an issue, what kind of
research would you suggest a chef should do to help him or her deal with
A lot of research:
read a lot about the country; call the US or Births Consulate in that
country; speak with other expats who have lived there.
How many days and hours would a chef be expected
in Asia are 6 day work weeks, where, typically, on Saturday you only work
a half day. In Muslim countries you are not off on Sundays, but upon Fridays.
Expect a minimum of a ten hour day on the average, except in Korea and
Japan where the expat does not work long hours.
Generally what kind of package could be expected
and what kind of salary?
Sous Chef: $ 36,000
/ $ 42,000, Exec Sous chef : $ 38,000 / $ 50,000, Pastry Chef : $ 38,000
$ 70,000, Executive Chef: $ 50,000 to $ 90,000 per
annum tax free, housing provided,
Is this career move more suited to single or married, male or female chefs?
Finally a piece of advice to the chef who is
ready to pack their bags and head to the Far East...
Be humble. Observe, learn, save your