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Working In Asia
career centerworking in asia

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, Peninsula, Shangri-La..etc).

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 this?
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 to work?
Most countries 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 to
$ 70,000, Executive Chef: $ 50,000 to $ 90,000 per annum tax free, housing provided, plus bonus

Is this career move more suited to single or married, male or female chefs?
Single male....

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 money.

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