Cooking Eggs in the Morning and Shucking Oysters at Night, Thanks to an App

As he wrapped up a brunch shift at the Australian cafe Two Hands in the Little Italy part of Manhattan, Christopher Mortenson noticed his cellphone mild up. All afternoon, he had been ready for the notification: ABC Cocina, an upscale Latin American restaurant in the Flatiron district, wanted a line cook dinner. He had an hour to get there.

When the shift ended, Mr. Mortenson began sprinting uptown. On his approach to the restaurant, he ducked right into a provide retailer to choose up a white chef’s jacket, which he threw over his T-shirt. He arrived at ABC Cocina simply earlier than 5 and spent the night charring peppers with a blowtorch and stuffing pork into pillowy tortillas.

In December, Mr. Mortenson, bored with working 50 hours per week for low pay, stop his job as a cook dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in Manhattan and turned a full-time member of the gig economic system. Now he races round New York, working shifts at a rotating solid of eating places that use the hospitality staffing app Pared. So far, he has cooked in greater than 70 kitchens, together with Osteria Morini in Soho and Riverpark in Kips Bay.

“I have to turn the notifications off at night — I can’t sleep,” stated Mr. Mortenson, 51, who has labored full time at eating places in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Austin, Tex. “They send me so many jobs I can’t even look at my app right now without 10 jobs being on there.”

Founded in San Francisco in 2015, Pared has more than 100,000 people signed up on its platform, along with several thousand restaurants in the Bay Area and New York. The company said it planned to expand to Washington, Boston and Philadelphia in the coming months.

“We try our best not to talk about money in front of other employees that are employed full time at the restaurant,” said Zia Sheikh, a New York chef who picks up gigs through Pared. “You don’t want to go up to a line cook making $17 an hour and say, ‘Hey, I’m here doing a shift for $25.’ That’s not good for them.”

“As they work on our platform, they gain skills and experience,” he said. “They get exposed to better and nicer and nicer restaurants, different environments and different cuisines.”

For chefs hoping to advance their careers, however, short stints through Instawork and Pared may not provide the kind of sustained experience they will ultimately need.

“Not only is turnover high,” said Victor Fernandez, an industry analyst at TDn2K, “but employees are quickly deciding that there are better options somewhere else and taking those options.”

Among them is Mr. Mortenson, who said he could not imagine going back to a full-time restaurant job. “I’m making more money than I have ever made in this industry,” he said. “This is crazy.”

Part of the appeal, he said, is that the app exposes him to new experiences, whether icing gingerbread cookies at Bouchon Bakery or cooking short ribs for Twitter employees at the cafe in the company’s New York office.

“It doesn’t make me a better cook,” he said. “But it’s so amazing to go into a new restaurant every day.”

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