The Great Hall
Why can't us older Guys(50's) get work? The Great Hall: Why can't us older Guys(50's) get work?

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 06:07 am: Edit

Why can't us older Guys(50's) get work in commercial kitchens?

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 11:49 am: Edit

Maybe your looking in the wrong places.

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 12:21 pm: Edit

You could be right.
So far I have only looked in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships and franchises that have advertised openings. Got any suggestions?

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 03:17 pm: Edit

One of the fairly recent changes in the industry is the hiring of chefs in to the Foodservice sector.

More and more chefs, tired of the hours and work load in hotels and restaurants, are getting into corporate feeding, school food service, hospitals and extended care facilities. Companies like Sodexho and Compass are looking for trained chefs to run and work in their kitchens. In these situations maturity is an asset.

Another thing to consider is attitude. Sometimes us older guys can go into interviews with and attitude that reflects our... experience. That can put some people off. After stretches of under employment I have had to tone down my experience and humbled my self a little to get my foot in the door.

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 07:24 pm: Edit

Mr. Cheftim,
I really appreciate your excellent advise, and consider it valuable.
My real interest is what other professional's thoughts on as to why older chefs and cooks are essentially discriminated against when it comes to hiring.
I went to a "hiring fair" at a third party managed Hyatt and they never let me into the main interviewing room and handled me in a lounge. I went because they advertised they were hiring an executive chef, along with the other positions.
Was it fear of a knowledgeable person, fear of the salary threshold or what?
Got any thoughts?

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, September 23, 2006 - 11:40 pm: Edit

Executive Chefs are not hired at "hiring fair"s.

Why you got the lounge treatment, how the **** would I know. Maybe you came off as arrogant or with a chop on your shoulder. Maybe you scared the Assistant House Keeper on your first interview. Interviews are like acting jobs you have to size up your audience in just a few seconds and play it that way. Instead of thinking about what you want to say, listen to you audience to find out what they want to hear.

You sound kind of bitter. You better get over that because it will come out in every interview. No one wants bitterness in their kitchen.

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Sunday, September 24, 2006 - 07:16 am: Edit

Well Put, although I belive you meant to say ***** instead of ******, correct?

Below is an example of what I was trying to get some "sampling" and feedback on from the professionals that interact with this fine web site regarding their experiences.

"Those born in the couple decades after World War II are the Baby Boom, a significant bulge in America�s demographic that has altered educational, employment, commercial and health policy as they have aged. I myself am a Boomer, recently contacted by the American Association of Retired People as they recruit my generation to membership. Certainly this has already affected marketing and commercial targeting. The eldest Boomers are entering senior status, with their generational successors close behind. With the impact that Boomers have had on our society and the protections of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), one might suspect that discrimination against them would decrease as seniors become a growing proportion of the society.

Unfortunately, the reverse has been true. Coupled with changes in employment practices and economic shrinkage there has been an increase in workplace challenges facing older workers. This is due to several factors. First, older workers tend to be more expensive. Although on the average more experienced, they also generally have more health care costs and are nearing the point in many companies where they will be obtaining retirement and pension plan benefits. In addition, with the increase in the number of jobs requiring up-to-date training in fast-changing technology, there is a preference for those whose training is fresh. Finally, there is the prejudice -- the very reason for the ADEA -- that assumes older workers are less flexible and less energetic.

The ADEA added discrimination protection in employment to workers over the age of 40. It is not illegal to discriminate against someone for being �too young.� Neither is there protection for someone under age 40 who is passed over for someone younger. For those over 40, however, the bottom line of the ADEA is that an employer cannot discriminate against a person due to their age with respect to any term, condition or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments or training."

By Tortesrus (Tortesrus) on Sunday, September 24, 2006 - 11:55 am: Edit

Hello Mr Cook- It's my impression that Chef Tim
did not make a typo- but was trying to keep it clean on an open public forum, while getting the emphasis of the word accross. Regarding the discrimination against age in the culinary profession- after 30 years of standing, bending, carrying etc. knees, hips, and backs deteriorate. It's a well known fact.
The "age and health" issue is unfortunately looked at by large companies.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, September 24, 2006 - 12:47 pm: Edit

Fuch isn't a word?

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Sunday, September 24, 2006 - 03:57 pm: Edit

Dear Mr. Tortesrus,
If "standing, bending, carrying etc. knees, hips, and backs deteriorate" are part of the job criteria posted to qualify for the position of executive chef, then you have made a fair point. However, then a construction worker could very possibly legally qualify as a candidate. However, most executive chef jobs, my last included at an Intercontinental Hotel, were focused on planning, cost control, training, menus, leadership, etc. Legally, "The "age and health" issues " would fall under discrimination, as they have nothing to do with the criteria for an executive chef (as indicated in my previously posted excerpt).
any lawyers in the crowd?

Also, this board has that naughty * word censored out. **** is not a word either, is it?

By Tortesrus (Tortesrus) on Sunday, September 24, 2006 - 07:28 pm: Edit

Dear Mr Cook;

It's Mrs,not Mr- Why do people assume that chefs are always men? In your original thread you were asking why older chefs and cooks are discriminated against. My answer was regarding the culinary profession in general. I agree that health issues would fall under the line of discrimination-but proving it is another story.
As to the "word" if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck....well you didn't leave alot to the imagination.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 12:30 am: Edit

I think mr cook is right about this.
I've heard this before, about a hundred times from guys, and not just in culinary arts.
It's as if people think we can't do anything anymore.
Which is a shame, 'cause I'm still pretty smart even with a small short term memory loss.

I think mr cook is right about this.
I've heard this before, about a hundred times from guys, and not just in culinary arts.
It's as if people think we can't do anything anymore.
Which is a shame, 'cause I'm still pretty smart even with a small short term memory loss.

I gotta go kill the dog.
No,...wait.... walk the dog.

By George (George) on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 09:01 am: Edit

There are a lot of reasons some employers prefer younger employees. In no particular order-

-They often have less responsibilities outside of work, so they can concentrate on the job more
-They donít have the financial overhead an older worker often does- mortgage, college for the kids etc that a mature worker might have, so they can work for less.
-Younger workers have been in the mainstream of trendy restaurants more recently, so they are perceived as having more cutting edge knowledge of new concepts.
- Younger workers are often less concerned about expensive bennies like health care and retirement options.
- In a multi unit corporate setting a younger employee is perceived as having fewer restrictions preventing them from travel and relocation because of family considerations.

All of the above has nothing to do with any specific individual, they are generalizations applied to age groups.

This in not unique to our industry. All of corporate America uses the same type of thought process when hiring and firing.

Illegal? Maybe. Can you do anything about it? Nope.

Like ChefTim mentioned the foodservice end of the business is friendlier to more seasoned Chefs. They prefer dependability, experience and stability that mature workers offer. These are much better gigs than the flashy high stress ones, at least to a geezer like me, going double nickels next March.


By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 04:50 pm: Edit

Dear Mr. George,
Yes, those are all good points of discrimination I had never considered, thank you.


Illegal? Maybe. Can you do anything about it? Nope.

It is illegal. Age (old age-over 40 only) cannot not be a consideration. That is expressly clarified in the age discimination act
Proving it is the hard part.
Many age discrimination suits have been brought and won, setting precedents....that is what can and has been done.
None of the attributes you mentioned qualifies as a criteria when you are hiring a chef. Being a CEC, HACCP ceritifed, 10 years experience, etc are qualified criteria. In fact if someone in a wheelchair meets all those criteria they have to be considered and if they are rejected must be rejected based on failing to meet the criteria, not because they are in a wheel chair.

By George (George) on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 07:54 pm: Edit

If we only lived in a perfect world or even a fair one.

Just try and get a lawyer to represent you without you putting up a big retainer.

An employer has the deep pockets to make it very difficult for an employee to do anything. Especially one of the few that actually hire real Executive Chefs.

Jobs like that are a very very small percentage of the available opportunities out there. They are normally filled from within the parent corporation.

Even if it's listed as an EC job in reality it's normally a Working Chef position.


PS- Technically I'm Mr. Cook also. I really prefer just plain George. ;<)

By George (George) on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 08:08 am: Edit


I moved a post that was moving offtopic here to the Locker Room. I have also given Mr Cook a password for the forum.


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