In today’s times, we are often hard pressed for time to cook for the family. Lack of time often means that we end up eating outside or ordering food. This is obviously not healthy in the long run, and as an alternate many of us look at hiring a cook. Hiring a cook is common not only in metros like Mumbai and Delhi but also in small towns. Whether you hire a cook in Mumbai, or in Nagpur, there are a few things you can take care of to make the right hiring for your home.
These obviously are in addition to the regular things like verification of the cook, checking of references, photo id proof, local address, native address and other documents.
- Hire a cook not a chef
Don’t hire someone who has a list of glamorous sounding cuisines as his/her speciality, like continental, pasta, baking etc. You want someone who can cook food for homes, that is healthy, and not food that is just good on the eyes, but loaded with fat, spices and everything junk.
If you want some special cuisine like Gujarati, Maharashtrian, non-vegetarian etc. just check for knowledge of that cuisine, but again from a home cook perspective.
- Ask for a trial
While you can train the cook in your preferences for spices, oil etc, do go for a trial meal to check the hygiene habits, cleanliness, chopping habits, and use of oil and spices in the normal course. You can obviously pay for the time taken up for the trial meal. The amount spent will be worth it.
During the trial, check whether the cook washes hands before and after start of work, washes vegetables well, see how much wastage is done during chopping etc. Also see whether the cook cleans up the kitchen after work or not. You can also make a note of the speed of the cook. If the cook has mentioned some speciality, check that out, to see if the person is being truthful or not.
This trial will also let you see what s/he can be trained on and what will be difficult to be changed.
- Salary change when cooking for guests
Make it clear that you might have guests. If you socialise a lot, let that also be clear at the beginning. You don’t want the cook to leave as soon as you have a few more people to cook for.
Since, unlike cleaning job, time for cooking increases considerably if there are more people to cook for, negotiate accordingly. This becomes more important when you are hiring a cook for your home in Delhi or other metro, as even the cooks are hard pressed for time in these cities.
- Ensure advance notice for leave
To wait for the cook to turn-up and then find s/he has taken a leave that day can be very frustrating, especially in a family where everyone has to leave home at a set time every day. Cook not turning up can mean that everyone in the family will have a disrupted schedule and eating. So, ensure the cook understands that all leaves need to be pre-approved/informed.
Maybe say that last minute absence will be counted as unpaid leave, except in an emergency.
Discuss in advance if you want the cook to also do dish washing, basic cleaning in the kitchen etc. A cook’s job has some grey areas regarding this, and it is always better to clarify these in advance so that there is no conflict with either you or your cleaning helper.
The above tips should surely help you hire a cook, better.
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