Head Chef Role

Role Description: Head Chef

The Magic Hat Cafe is looking to appoint an energetic, creative, well-organised chef to work with an established anti-food waste project, using surplus ingredients to feed the community.  Enjoying problem solving, excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well under pressure are crucial for this role.

Renovation works have started on our own 80 cover city centre cafe, due to open in February 2021, so this is an exciting time to join a vibrant organisation and contribute to making a positive difference in our city. In addition to providing hot and cold food and drinks, the cafe will also include a market providing food for customers to take home and a hamper delivery service.

Key Information
Deadline for all applications is midnight Sunday 3rd January 2021 – applications received after this date will not be considered. 
Please see the application process below, applications which do not provide the required documents will not be considered.
Interviews will take place on the 25th and 26th January 2021
We will endeavour to contact all applicants as soon as possible to inform them of the status of their application.
We are aiming to open the cafe in mid-February but start dates will be discussed at interview.
If you require any further information, please contact vacancies@themagichatcafe.co.uk

Job role

The chef’s responsibilities will include designing recipes and menus using donated ingredients, and preparing high-quality dishes to a tight time frame. You will be able to coordinate an ever-changing team of kitchen volunteers and delegate tasks to ensure meals are prepared in a timely and safe manner. Dishes will be created from entirely surplus ingredients. You will only have a maximum of 24 hours’ notice of available ingredients, so this role requires a high level of creativity. In order to raise awareness of the extent and absurdity of food waste, we are looking for someone who can produce excellent quality, nutritious food and present it to a high restaurant standard.

Please note due to extending our opening hours we are now encouraging job shares for this role i.e. we will consider splitting the role between two successful applicants.

In addition to the regular cafe hours, there will be the option of additional evening and weekend shifts to support our programme of supper clubs, events and external catering bookings.

Responsible to: General Manager

Responsible for: Volunteers working in the kitchen

Pay and Benefits

  • 48 hours per week (9am-5pm, Tues-Sun) – we are encouraging job shares for this role i.e. the 48 hours can be split between two successful candidates (split and shift pattern are negotiable but regular weekend hours should be expected).
  • £12-£14/hr (£24,960 – £29,120 pro rata), depending on experience
  • Employment term: 12 months, including an initial probationary period of 6 months.
  • Loads of free food and fun!

Terms and conditions

The rate of pay offered is £12-14 per hour, dependent on experience, for work undertaken as indicated in this job description. The post holder is expected to provide reasonable notice to the Magic Hat Cafe if they are unavailable to work. Please note that a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure Certificate will be required for the post, but that a clean DBS certificate is not essential for the role – we will consider applicants with a criminal record on a case-by-case basis.

Main duties:

  • Develop recipes using only surplus ingredients.
  • Plan menus, ensure uniform serving sizes and high-quality presentation of meals.
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas for cleanliness and functionality.
  • Coordinate and supervise a team of often unskilled volunteers in the kitchen.
  • Delegate tasks to a diverse group of volunteers.
  • Oversee arrival of food interceptions:
    • Check freshness of ingredients and ensure any unsafe food is disposed of
    • Ensure all food is stored correctly
  • Lead on food hygiene for the cafe. This includes ensuring all legislation and best practice is followed; accurate up-to-date records are kept; maintaining the kitchen and store room to an exceptional standard of cleanliness.
  • Order essential supplies as necessary.
  • Attend regular appraisals with General Manager

Person Specification


  • A flair and enthusiasm for cooking with fresh, quality and unusual ingredients.
  • Creative approach to cooking and rapid problem solving.
  • Interest in, and awareness of, food waste in a commercial setting.
  • Ability to work under pressure in a calm and efficient manner, and to meet deadlines.
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively with customers, staff and volunteers from a range of demographics, including those with limited English language skills. 
  • A positive approach to menu planning.
  • Experience of, and enthusiasm for, preparing foods to suit a diverse range of tastes and cultures.
  • IT skills to a basic level. Familiar with spreadsheets and social media.
  • Experience of managing a team.


  • Experience of working with volunteers.
  • Experience of demonstrating good management and effective coordination of a kitchen team.
  • Experience of running a kitchen pass/service.
  • Experience of stock taking.
  • Experience of managing a kitchen budget and stock control.
  • Level 2 food hygiene or above.

Application Process

If you are interested in applying, please send the following:

  • Covering Letter describing your experience of the main duties and how you meet the person specification above (1 page maximum)
  • An up-to-date CV (2 pages maximum)
  • Your phone number
  • Contact details for 2 referees
  • Up to 5 images of dishes you have created (optional)

Please either attach the above to an email and send it to vacancies@themagichatcafe.co.uk with an email subject of “Your Name + Head Chef”


Complete this online application form.


  • The deadline for applications is: Sunday 3rd January 2021 (midnight)
  • If you are successful in progressing to the interview stage, you will be notified by 8th January 2021
  • Interviews will take place on 25th and 26th January 2021, and will be carried out in a COVID-safe manner at the cafe in Newcastle City Centre, or remotely via Zoom. 
  • We are aiming to open the cafe in mid-February but start dates will be discussed at interview.