The food and beverage industry across PEI is gearing up for a busy tourism season. Employers are looking for both experienced kitchen staff and new people who are willing to learn.
A Culinary Job Fair was held recently in Charlottetown. Employers from 17 restaurants were on hand to speak with job seekers about positions such as cooks and kitchen staff.
The event was hosted by the Tourism Industry of PEI (TIAPEI). “About 85 to 90 people came through the doors, which is up from 55 to 60 last year,” says Brysan Cumming, HR Advisor, TIAPEI.
For more PEI employment options in tourism, visit www.choosetourism.ca.
The Culinary Job Fair was funded in whole or in part by the Canada/PEI labour market agreements.
Some food and beverage businesses looking for culinary staff
Blue Mussel Café, North Rustico
“We are looking for kitchen staff, including one or two Line Cooks, a Prep Cook, and as many Dishwashers as we can get,” says Steve Murphy.
“There are lots of good cooks on the Island, but we always base our hiring on fit.
“We spend 12 to 14 hours a day working together, so we have to like the people we work with. We end up spending more waking time together as a group than with our own family. We spend a lot of time researching applicants before making a decision.”
“Shifts are usually 12 hours minimum, with four to five shifts a week,” says Christine McQuaid. “We don’t want to burn out our staff. We all need some time to enjoy the summer. Giving staff four days on and three days off helps keep our staff energized.
“Some people may be afraid to apply because they have no experience, but we are willing to train people with a good attitude who are ready to work lots of hours.”
“Many of our staff started as dishwashers, graduated to peeling potatoes, got comfortable in the kitchen, and then became cooks.”
Dundee Arms Inn, Charlottetown
“Finding the right people is an important part of producing a high quality menu,” says Chef Patrick Young, who has worked at the Dundee Arms Inn for 19 years. “I appreciate working in one place for so long because it has given me the chance to develop the kitchen over that time.”
At the height of the season, there are 30 to 35 staff. During the rest of the year, there are about 25.
“We have a lot of long-term employees. There are people who have been working in the kitchen six to 10 years. The General Manager, Assistant Manager, Head of Housekeeping, the Front Desk person, and many of our wait staff have been here for an extended period of time. It makes for a lot better working conditions if you don’t have to keep changing staff all the time.
“This is a great company to work for. They offer benefits not typically offered to kitchen staff because they want to retain staff for the long term.
“We also have short-term summer employment for Line Cooks, Breakfast Cook, Housekeeping, Wait Staff, and Front Desk. All those positions could develop into year-round work for the right person.”
Receiver Coffee Co., Brass Shop on Water Street & Victoria Row, Charlottetown
“We opened our second location on Water Street last July, which also included Breadworks Bakery,” says Cobey Adams. “With cruise ship traffic and being close to the boardwalk, we expect business to be nothing less than amazing. We were busier in January than we were at the end of 2017. It is a more accessible location in terms of parking, we now offer a full café menu and an always growing kitchen.” The Brass Shop roasts its own coffee, which is available in both locations and to take home as well.
Receiver currently has over 40 employees, both back and front of house, and this number will grow to over 60 for the tourist season.
“Our biggest challenge is finding folks as committed to their craft as we are. Bakers start as early as 4:30 am. You have to be committed to your craft, because bread making takes time and patience. John Dale, who runs Breadworks, uses strictly organic, often local flour, and COWS butter. It is a great opportunity for our cooks to see what goes into that process.”
To apply, visit one of the shops with your resumé, and ask to speak to a manager. “You can best show your personality by meeting with someone, instead of just dropping off a piece of paper,” says Cobey. “We are always happy to sit down and have a conversation.”
Other employers at the Culinary Job Fair:
- Dalvay by the Sea/DP Murphy Hotels: www.dpminc.com/apply
- Delta Prince Edward: www.marriott.com/careers
- Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers: www.fishermanswharf.ca
- Lobster on the Wharf: www.lobsteronthewharf.com
- Murphy Hospitality Group: www.mhgpei.com/careers
- New Glasgow Lobster Suppers: www.peilobstersuppers.com
- Olde Dublin Pub/Peakes Quay/Claddagh Oyster House: www.oldedublinpub.com
- Richard’s Fresh Seafood: www.richardsfreshseafood.com
- Rodd Hotels & Resorts: www.roddvacations.com/careers
- Route 2 Diner: www.route2diner.com
- St. Peters Bayview Suites: www.stpetersbayviewsuites.com
- Sutherland Restaurant-Stanley Bridge Country Resort: www.stanleybridgeresort.com
- The Ship’s Company Pub and Galley: search Facebook