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Covid-19’s Effect on Chef Numbers – Stakeholder Feedback

What is the scope of the industry with Covid-19 and how is it having an affect on the tourism trade within New Zealand? How has this affected the number of chefs studying within the trade? Do we need more qualified chefs in the industry?

This question was given to two of our stakeholders within the industry.

Grant Kitchen is in the running to be President of the NZ Chef Association. Grant is extremely busy within the industry, running a kitchen in Palmerston North, but also having a lot to do with industry in Auckland and throughout New Zealand.

“I am forever looking for chefs in the trade, now we seem to be more busy than usual at this time of the year. I am sure it is because people are unable to spend their money travelling overseas. Since coming out of lockdown people are not able to travel, so they are travelling within New Zealand and enjoying what we have to offer. They are supporting the local businesses. What I have noticed is that many small and medium size cafes and restaurants are booming, this is happening in many different areas around New Zealand; Manawatu, Wellington, Wanaka, and Queenstown just to say a few. Wanaka and Queenstown are in the height of the ski season, which seems to be busier than normal.

I can also foresee that with the lack of international students arriving in the country to study in the hospitality areas, there will be a shortage of chefs in the coming years. There are more businesses just like mine looking for chefs now, and there are not a lot of qualified chefs to choose from. I can see the problem only getting worse. Also, depending on how long the borders will be closed for and when people will start to feel safe to travel abroad again when they do open, these issues might be here for a number of years to come.

It is only of recent that areas like Auckland are heading to level 3 because of Covid 19, these areas might be struggle Initially, but I cannot see it lasting for long, whereas right now the rest of the country seem to be really busy within the trade”. Grant Kitchen NZ Chefs Association

Pete (Head Chef) from Johnny’s in Westport, relies on the tourist industry. The same question was put to Pete.

“This time of the year is usually a bit of a slump in the trade for us. Usually we struggle to get to 100 covers on a Saturday night. But now we are up 30%. More locals are coming out for dinner and supporting the local industry. We are currently hitting the 120 – 130 covers on a Saturday evening. We are hitting new records for this time of the year. The issue we are have is trying to find qualified staff. Being busy is a good sign for the industry, but I can see before long the lack of trained chefs could be a major problem moving forward” – Pete (Head Chef) from Johnny’s in Westport