In what may be the largest mass hiring of kitchen workers in city memory, chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick will spend two days later this month interviewing candidates for four restaurants managed by the Four Seasons Hotel at the new Comcast Technology Center.
They are looking to hire about 100 cooks and other so-called back-of-the-house employees, including a sous chef, a fish cook, a pastry sous chef, and a butcher, to work at the skyscraper.
Two of the restaurants will be overseen by the globe-trotting Vongerichten — a posh spot called Jean-Georges on the 59th floor and its Sky High lounge on the 60th floor — and two by Vernick — the now-operating Vernick Coffee Bar on the second floor and Vernick Fish, a seafood restaurant on the ground floor, on Arch Street west of 18th Street.
The three restaurants are expected to open along with the 219-room hotel in late summer.
The hirings are being sought amid a razor-tight job market that has put a premium on top kitchen employees. Because of the restaurants’ cachet, it is expected that candidates from other cities will visit Philadelphia for interviews.
Vongerichten said his company and the Four Seasons both offered much room for growth. Vernick, a Cherry Hill native, worked for Vongerichten before returning to the Philadelphia area to open Vernick Food & Drink, near Rittenhouse Square. Vernick won the James Beard Award for best chef in the mid-Atlantic region in 2017.
What do you look for in a chef? “There are many factors,” said Vongerichten in a call from Brazil, where he was visiting a winery. “There’s the passion for food, and then there’s the passion for treating people.” Vongerichten employs about 2,500 employees in his New York City restaurants, including Jean-Georges, Mercer Kitchen, and ABC Cocina. Restaurants he manages elsewhere around the world employ an additional 2,500 people, he said.
The hotel, seeking to hire about 500 people overall in all positions, is hosting a job fair at the Convention Center on April 29 and 30; information, including job descriptions for some key positions, is at jobs.fourseasons.com. Vongerichten and Vernick will interview only finalists for the kitchen jobs.