Yesterday's News is Today's Reality
14th Edition May 2011
Let's go back to the last century, well perhaps not all of the way back. In 1995 together with my two good friends Clayton Folkers and Brian Plunkett I presented a Canada Food Festival at the Hyde Park Hotel, Knightsbridge, London.
At that time the Hyde Park was the Flagship of Rocco Forte's Hotel Empire. At this present time the proud owners are from Hong Kong and we now know it as The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel.
So why this background? Recently I have been catching up on a little reading and I was browsing through back issues of CaterSearch and I came across an interesting piece with this header written by Tom Vaughan “ How Heston Blumenthal's Dinner is coping with the skills shortage”
Tom's piece was written in September, the outcome of an interview with Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dinner's Executive Chef. Subsequent to this interview Heston's Restaurant Dinner has opened (too much acclamation) in The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel.
Incidentally Daniel Boulud had earlier taken the concept of his NYC restaurant Bar Boulud across the Atlantic and launched a similar venture also in the Hyde Park Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Now back to Tom who comments
“The more famous you get, the easier life becomes. Or so you might be forgiven for thinking. However, international acclaim - which Blumenthal is no stranger to - doesn't fix the most deep-rooted of problems, principally the hospitality industry's chronic lack of new recruits. Currently on the lookout for 130 staff to man Dinner, Blumenthal and company are worryingly short of applicants.”
The article then goes on with tips on how to find the right people and how to keep them.
Now please bear with me as I take you on one final journey back in time some twenty five years to 1985. At that time another Editor made the following observations.
“By the year 2000 Tourism and the Hospitality business will be one of the world's largest industries and at this time we are ill prepared with a work force that is inadequate for present and future needs.
More money must be released into operations to make the wage levels within the Foodservice and Hospitality Industry comparable with other trades. Alternatively, hotels restaurants and resorts of the future will be hard pressed to open their doors because of the shortage of staff.
We must recruit to our ranks people with receptive attitudes and values and then further hone their skills and thereby they will build their self esteem. It is essential to restore the time-old values of service and hospitality and statements such as this should be reinforcing – and not considered to be redundant.”
Well, what do you think? These two stories one from today and one from twenty five years earlier reveal problems within an industry that are not entirely dissimilar. Isn't life a merry-go-round!
By the way the Editor way back in 1985 was yours truly. I was National Secretary of the Canadian Federation of Chefs de Cuisine and my letter appeared in ‘Canadian Chef Canadien' which was the first National Roster to be published by the Federation.
The Champchefs In-Box has been very active since our last edition which was twelve weeks ago. We have added 42 new teams from 22 different countries. Check them out on our Home page or simply click HERE
Editor, Champchefs Archive.
NB. If you wish to read Tom Vaughan's article in CaterSearch, please click on the link below.