International Chefs Day is a day to celebrate the hard work of chefs and is also probably one of the best opportunities people can get to learn how to cook and connect with chefs in their local area. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids how to cook and inspire them to become chefs.
By Jeremy Ryland@expertgourmand
Chefs are the “engine room” of a restaurant. Without a chef there is no restaurant. There are approximately 100 000 chefs in Australia and this will grow by 16.5% over the next few years. There is a shortage of good chefs and Australian chefs are valued around the world. The restaurant industry is growing at around 14% a year and yet we simply don’t have enough qualified service staff and chefs for the future. It is estimated that by 2020, our hospitality and tourism industries will have a shortage of over 120 000 workers. And yet people still don’t stay in hospitality.
Saturday 20 October 2018 is International Chef’s Day. A day to celebrate the hard work of chefs worldwide.
Created by Dr Bill Gallagher in 2004, International Chefs Day is a day to celebrate the noble professional and hard work of chefs worldwide. It is also a day to remember that it is our duty to pass on our knowledge and culinary skills to the next generation of chefs with a sense of pride and commitment to the future.
Going out to restaurants is one of our favourite activities because we get the chance to taste the best cuisine created by the chefs that work behind the scenes. International Chefs Day is a day for them and is probably one of the best opportunities people can get to learn how to cook and connect with chefs in their local area. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids how to cook and inspire them to become chefs.
We at Gault&Millau know how hard you all work. Running a restaurant is not easy and being back in the kitchen, most chefs do not know how their work and creativity is appreciated.
Celebrity chefs like Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Marco-Pierre White make it look easy. Cooking food on television is easy! You can redo it if it the soufflé fails and you can edit out the mistakes. You can spend a whole day making just three dishes. Your ingredients are always at hand and a group of food stylists behind the scenes can ensure the final product looks great.
And shows like Masterchef, glamorise the industry with false expectations of stardom, cookbooks and fame.
But the reality is, whilst there are lots of opportunities for growth, the number of young people entering the professional has dropped by almost three per cent a year and there is a high drop out rate in the industry with over 50 per cent of apprentices leaving before they finish. A lot of young chefs simply aren’t prepared for the realities of the job – long hours, sleep deprivation and working when everyone else is partying. On top of this, the industry has an image problem that undervalues hospitality as a career. Most see it as a pit-stop whilst studying for something else, even if they do enjoy it.
Being a chef is hard work. But it can be very rewarding. We need to find ways to encourage young creative foodies to become chefs and stay in the industry. The hours are often long and the pay is not high. A passion for creative cooking and sharing hospitality with others is vital. But we also need to change the culture in out kitchens so young staff can enjoy the work and feel safe. Ben Shewry at Attica has lead the way by implementing a 48 hour week for his chefs which has been very successful.
At Gault&Millau we also see a huge need for better training. Back of house, chefs should have a mentor to help them develop their skills and complete their training. And front of house also needs better training. The biggest complaint about restaurants from consumers is the lack of good service. Restaurants tend to hire young unskilled staff – and then expect them to do a great job without proper training. Young staff need training and continual support. The service staff are a restaurants image and can be the difference between success and failure. Even things such as regular “jump start” meetings at the beginning of every shift are uncommon.
The restaurant is a live stage and every night is different. Every chef is today a celebrity, an actor and a craftsman. It is stressful. The hours are long and the profits small! But most chefs enjoy what they do and love to cook for other people. Let’s celebrate them and show our appreciation.
Saturday 20 October 2018 is International Chef’s Day. A day to celebrate the hard work of chefs worldwide. “Cheers to the chef” is an initiative of Gault&Millau Australia aimed to recognise the hard work of all of the chefs in Australia. We want everyone to raise a glass and propose a toast to their chef on, or around, Saturday 20 October and send their appreciation “back of house”.
To encourage guests to participate, Gault&Millau will offer six prizes of cookbooks, each valued at $300 – one in each State of Victoria, NSW (including ACT) Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia – to the guests who best toast their Chef.
If we can get everyone, in every restaurant, toasting our chefs they will feel the appreciation – and make all that hard work worthwhile.
T’s & C’s apply.
For more information go to https://au.gaultmillau.com/pages/cheers-to-the-chef.