The UK Chef Shortage


The UK Chef Shortage

Over the years, restaurants throughout the UK have had to deal with the challenge of culinary skill shortages within their heated and fast-paced kitchens. With this year’s festive season predicted to see the biggest shortage of skills in comparison to the increasing demand, we catch up our two Senior Hospitality Recruitment Consultants and former chefs to find out the exact extent of the skill shortage crisis, how it has impacted the hospitality industry and what employers should do to attract more talent to their kitchens.

In a recent survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, 61 percent of Hospitality recruitment agencies say that they do not have enough chefs to meet the demand over the Xmas period. 21 percent of agencies said that they were unsure of whether or not they would have enough chefs to source, with just 18 percent of agencies reporting that they had sufficient talent to source.

That’s not all however, because the shortage has been ongoing for many years, with 93 percent of agencies reporting that there are not enough trained chefs in the UK to meet the demand, while 83 percent of agencies said that they expected the gap between supply and demand to widen over the next 12 months.

When discussing the figures above, Adam Russell, Senior Hospitality Consultant and Chef Specialist who worked in kitchens for over 10 years, provides some insight as to why there is such an immense shortage of skilled chefs within the UK. “There are many factors that fuel the shortage of highly skilled chefs in the industry. Among these factors is the fact that many catering colleges do not offer a comprehensive training scheme that empowers aspiring chefs to be resilient and quick on their feet in the fast-paced, and high-pressured environment of a restaurant’s kitchen.”

Matthew Covell, also a Senior Hospitality Consultant and Chef Specialist who worked within the industry for 8 years, agrees with Adam, saying, “I can see that there is a problem with the way these training schemes portray the industry to aspiring chefs. They portray a chef’s career in a manner that seems glamorous, like something out of Masterchef, when the reality is vastly different in comparison. This in turn puts candidates off the industry after just a short time of working in a kitchen themselves.”

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