Leading restaurateurs are warning of serious industry decline. Uh-oh
We're living in the restaurant boom age. But even though we're seeing a new opening every five minutes on every theme imaginable (hello, crisp sandwich cafe), the industry is not free from woe, it seems.
The problem isn't punters, or a lack thereof. It's chefs. In particular, the knife-wielding pros ready to get creating, tasting and plating in demanding kitchens.
Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Daniel Clifford, chef-patron of the two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House in Cambridge, said: “The chef crisis is getting to the point where practically every restaurant in the UK is short of staff. Every decent chef I know is looking for staff; they have taken to Twitter to literally beg for chefs to get in touch. This includes top chefs like Tom Kerridge and Simon Rogan. It’s affecting everyone."
So why is this an issue?
Clifford points the blame at "aspiring young chefs out there who never pick up a cookbook – they just want to be promoted quickly”.
But there's more to this than a simple issue of young talent wanting to progress too quickly – the tough working culture could take some of the blame. As Daniel Doherty, executive chef of the Heron Tower's Duck and Waffle in London, says: "I had a young chef come in for a trail shift from a very famous two [Michelin]-star kitchen. Scarred. And we wonder why there's no chefs. It's time for a change."
Adding to all of this are the government's new restrictions (non-European employees must now earn £29,570 to come here) on skilled workers coming to Britain, which has had a massive effect on Indian eateries, according to the Bangladesh Caterers Association.
Sad times indeed.