How to recruit a Japanese chef? (1/3)

We get many inquiries from Japanese restaurant managers on how to find a chef of Japanese cuisine. Although you can of course hire a non-Japanese chef of Japanese cuisine, here we will discuss how to find a Japanese chef of Japanese cuisine.

Total number of Japanese chefs

When thinking about hiring a Japanese chef, it’s important to remember that the total number of Japanese chefs includes both the chefs living in Japan and chefs living outside of Japan. So how many are there?

How many Japanese chefs in Japan?

According to Tabelog, the largest restaurant listing site in Japan, as of September 2019, there are about 900,000 restaurants in Japan, of which about 280,000 serve Japanese cuisine. Assuming there are 2 or 3 chefs per restaurant, that would make somewhere between 560,000 to 840,000 chefs of Japanese cuisine, albeit of different levels. Of the restaurants above, 37,000 are sushi restaurants, so we can assume there are 74,000 to 111,000 sushi chefs included as well. Of course, these are only approximate numbers, but considering that there are about 4 million people working in the food and beverage industry all together, including kitchen staff and wait staff, this number seems fairly accurate.

The number of Japanese chefs in Japan

Of the restaurants above, 37,000 are sushi restaurants, so we can assume there are 74,000 to 111,000 sushi chefs included as well. Of course, these are only approximate numbers, but considering that there are about 4 million people working in the food and beverage industry all together, including kitchen staff and wait staff, this number seems fairly accurate.

The number of Japanese sushi chefs in Japan

The number of Japanese chefs in overseas

According to 2018 data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as of 2017, there are 118,000 Japanese restaurants overseas.

The number of Japanese restaurants in the world

Assuming that about 10% of these restaurants have Japanese staff, and that each restaurant has 2 or 3 chefs, the number of Japanese chefs working overseas would be 23,600 to 35,400 chefs.

The number of Japanese chefs in Japan and overseas

Number of Japanese residents in overseas

Before starting to look for Japanese chef in your country, let’s see how many number of Japanese people in your country. As of 2018, there are approximately 1.35 million Japanese people living in different areas of the world.The breakdown is as follows. Below are the top 50 countries for Japanese residents.

If your country is not listed among the 50 countries above, you can often find the number of Japanese residents listed on the website of your local Japanese embassy.

How to recruit a Japanese chef?

Well, how do you recruit a Japanese chef? Here are some suggestions. I think you may have already tried some of the following ways, but I hope that maybe a new suggestion would help.

Connections

Of course, meeting people through acquaintances is the easiest and cheapest way to find a chef. What would you say if a stranger suddenly asked you to work in their restaurant? You’d be much more inclined if the request came through a friend. If you feel you have no Japanese connections, just ask a Japanese person that lives in your country. Or, ask a friend from your country who currently lives in Japan. Maybe somebody knows somebody who knows a chef that wants to work in your country. Asking around is free, and you may just find other good ideas on how to find a chef.

How to recruit a Japanese chef

Post Job Ads in magazines/websites

in Japan

Recently, the number of printed job magazines has been on the decline, but Japan has many persistent readers, so there are examples of famous Japanese sushi restaurants or other restaurants that have used this kind of advertising method when opening restaurants overseas. Over the past ten years of course, websites to advertise jobs have been gaining momentum, so it’s a good idea to do both.

* When posting these kinds of ads, make sure they are written in Japanese.

Job magazines and websites in Japan

Post Job Ads in magazines/websites

for your local Japanese community

You can also place ads in free magazines and websites for the Japanese community in your country. Please ask Japanese people living in your country what kind of websites and free magazines they have. There should be at least one or two in any country.

Job posting magazines and websites

Culinary School Graduates

If you want to hire a young chef, it might be an idea to recruit a new graduate of a culinary academy or a cooking school. Job information is often posted on the school bulletin board or the school website. Some schools post job ads for free but others charge for advertising.

* When posting these kinds of ads, make sure they are written in Japanese.

Graduates of sushi culinary school in Japan

Working Holiday Visa Holders

As of 2019, people of Japanese nationality between the ages of 18 and 30, can work for one year in the following 24 countries/regions. (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Czech, Iceland, Lithuania, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Argentina, and Chile)

Job ads for Japanese working holiday visa holders can be posted free of charge on the Japan Working Holiday Association website.

LinkedIN

Japanese chefs working overseas often use LinkedIN when wanting to change jobs. Unlike Facebook or Instagram users, LinkedIN subscribers are accustomed to being contacted by recruiters, so it’s ok to send a direct message on LinkedIN. We personally have Japanese chef friends that have received offers via LinkedIN and decided to change jobs.

The official website of LinkedIN

Food Industry Career Fairs

Career fairs are regularly held in Tokyo where chefs, sommeliers, and managers working in the food and beverage industry look for new jobs. Although there are costs related to the exhibition fee, it’s nice to be able to meet many people at once.

Recruitment Agencies

There are several recruitment agencies in Japan where Japanese chefs looking for work overseas can register. Of course, there are different kinds of fees, such as pay-per-success type fees or flat rate fees etc., but it’s not a bad idea to leave it to a recruitment agency. We recommend consulting both agencies in Japan and agencies in your home country.

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