Chefs Proud of their Achievements!
I have been involved in all things culinary for ever or so it seems. I baked my first cake at 5 years old you get the picture….
Once again today I was let down by the Hospitality Industry, just when I thought things were improving. The way Gordon Ramsay treats his chefs on his TV shows, is just that, TV and although it was like that when I was a trainee chef, things have changed drastically and now kitchens are sought after places to work in and as a career for many people. Chefs have worked hard to get where they are in the industry, they have put themselves through a college, worked the long hours and now can “wow” a customer.
Why then does industry place adverts for chefs with 3 or 4 years experience at minimum wage. Today, I was sent a copy of a job for a chocolatier with 4 years experience at minimum wage too. Qualified Chocolatiers in Europe can train for up to 7 years. This skill takes years to perfect, the courses are costly, the ingredients to costly and they are expected to earn the same as a school leaver with no training or work experience.
There is documented evidence of a worldwide skills shortage in chefs, Ireland and England are reaching out to the rest of the world for chefs to go and work for them, most countries still have chef de partie on their skills shortage lists and yet, industry is still offering such poor pay rates.
While I am on a roll, why the need to have a chef “trial” in the restaurant, I believe this is sadly being abused and chefs are being used as casual labour for free on a “trial”.
All our chefs have references, plenty photographs of their work and are willing to work for these low wages, why then abuse them even more. Also to be fair, how can you “test” a chef on a trial. They will not be familiar with the kitchen layout, where the ingredients are kept, the menu, the portion control, standardisation ( I have yet to see a restaurant other than a chain restaurant with pictures on the wall or easily able to be viewed by a new chef for standardisation), and then are told after a trial, sorry you will not fit into our brigade as the reason for not hired. Really how can you put someone through that kind of pressure and then judge their character on top of it.
I would really like things to change in the industry, as an culinary educator of many years, I am really asking for a change, these hard working individuals deserve to be treated with respect, paid a living wage and only then will more young people who are desperately needed to enter this industry and be proud as the chefs pictured above.
Note to INDUSTRY: Posting your “unpaid trial 8 – 10 hours chefs” pictures on your social media for your benefit really “takes the cake”…..
Article by Cheryl Nesbitt
International Culinary Studio