Next month some of the UK’s top chefs will be going back to college in a first step to tackling the chef shortage at grass roots level as part of the ‘The Staff Canteen Live college tour, celebrating hospitality as a great career choice’.
Looking to highlight all the career options available within the culinary industry to third year students, chefs at the top of their game in each sector will be a part of a panel hosted by The Staff Canteen.
It will take place at Westminster Kingsway College on Monday, December 3, 2018 and will be live streamed on The Staff Canteen’s Facebook page and YouTube channel from 5pm. This is the first of four events which will take place at colleges around the UK.
The tour, in association with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, aims to inform students on how to forge a successful career.
The chefs on the panel will be Michelin-starred John Williams MBE, Executive Chef of The Ritz London who studied at Westminster Kingsway as a young chef; Alyn Williams, Chef Patron of Alyn Williams at The Westbury and The Wild Rabbit; Rob Kennedy, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland; Glenn Evans, Head of Food Development at Las Iguanas and Ruth Hansom, Head Chef at Luton Hoo hotel and also part of the college’s alumni.
John Williams MBE, Executive Chef of The Ritz London commented: “On behalf of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts it is a pleasure to be involved with The Staff Canteen Live College Tour and join such an experienced and varied panel. The hospitality industry is incredibly diverse, and the panel only goes to show a cross section of what is on offer out there – listen and learn from us as we have been there and done it.
“I feel that it is really important to support the colleges as the Royal Academy has an apprenticeship programme with Westminster Kingsway, University of West London, Bournemouth and Poole College, University College Birmingham and City of Liverpool College. Young people are the future of our industry and our colleges produce some of the very best graduates ready to enter professional kitchens from day one.”
Rob Kennedy, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland, commented: “Our young chefs need inspiration as it develops interest and accelerates passion. Food is our fuel and within our industry we have one of the most exciting and diverse opportunities for young people to develop their skills, global knowledge and self-confidence.”
Glenn Evans, Head of Food Development at Las Iguanas commented: “It’s an absolute privilege to be able to tell my story of how I started out and where I’ve ended up and hopefully inspire the young chefs about what path they could potentially take”
As well as offering students the opportunity to question the chefs directly, they will all be entered in to a competition draw and the winner will spend a day in the kitchen of their choice of one of chefs on the panel.
Ruth Hansom, winner of BBC2’s Million Pound Menu and Head Chef at Luton Hoo hotel commented: “I think that it is important to nurture and encourage young people into the industry. It can be tough but also just as rewarding which is why it’s important to find the best route for you. It’s key to show young people all the avenues as they are so diverse. Finding an alternative route still within the industry will prevent them from leaving it all together.”
The Staff Canteen wanted to kick off the tour at Westminster Kingsway College which has always been at the forefront of professional education and training.
“We work with some of the best hotels and restaurants in London,” commented Terry Tinton, Centre Director at Westminster Kingsway College. “The Staff Canteen Live college tour is a great opportunity for our students to discuss the hospitality industry and the amazing career opportunities that await them.”
The Staff Canteen will also be donating £1000 to Hospitality Action, ‘which provides a safety net to catch workers if they fall’, on behalf of the chefs on the panel.
“UK hospitality will never resolve its enduring skills shortage until it takes proactive steps to sell itself as a career of choice – and that starts with showcasing why it’s such an amazing sector to work in,” commented Mark Lewis, Chief Executive of Hospitality Action.
This is just one of many exciting new projects for The Staff Canteen heading into 2019 and it hopes it can help inspire the next generation of the industry.
Mark Morris, Founder of The Staff Canteen, commented: “Our panel are some of the most successful in the industry today. However, they all began their career in a very similar environment to the students who join the tour either in person or via the live stream. I hope we communicate that our panel have been successful through hard work, and all that is separating the students and them, is a structured career path and a strong work ethic.”
*The Staff Canteen will be announcing more partners for this event in the coming weeks, anyone looking to become a partner in the college tour please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 202 1051
H&C News Comment: We would like to congratulate The Staff Canteen, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Westminster Kingsway College and all the chefs taking part in this initiative.
Chefs are central to our industry and addressing the skills and people shortages in our industry is the biggest issue our industry faces in 2018 and in the years ahead. Highlighting our industry as a great career choice is vital to bring new people and skills into it.
We are pleased to report frequently on hospitality and catering businesses that are addressing the people and skills shortages in our industry, sometimes through HR initiatives and others by setting example.
We also in our annual event H&C EXPO bring people together to discuss and debate how best to address the people and skills shortages in our industry.
Our approach can be different and bring people together who would not normally get the opportunity to. Sitting students and industry leaders down together for example, we adopted this approach and enabled those looking to enter our industry talk with some who manage big parts of it.
Peter Ducker FIH, Chief Executive, Institute of Hospitality was one of the industry leaders that took part. In the video below, you can hear and see why he thought this much needed event was “unique”.