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The Caterer - What a load of Rubbish

message posted 05-Jun-08 08:32:09
I came a cross this yesterday, and it just goes to show what a deluded world all these "industry experts" live in !


Chefs amongst happiest workers in the UK
(04 June 2008 00:01)
Chefs and catering staff are among the happiest workers in the UK, according to the fifth annual City & Guilds Happiness Index.

The research, which was unveiled today and is based on a sample of 1,000 employees across 20 different professions, found that the average chef would give themselves eight out of ten when it came to their level of happiness.

Three out of five caterers are happier than they were a year ago, while more than two-thirds would recommend working in the industry to a friend.

As a profession chefs and catering staff only lagged behind beauty therapists, hairdressers and armed forces personnel when it came to job happiness.

Bob Coates, managing director of City & Guilds said that with the recommendation rate being so high, “the industry is unlikely to suffer recruitment problems in the near future”.

Nearly half of chefs attributed their increased levels of happiness to a better work / life balance, while 57% said they would remain with their current employer because they had a strong interest in what they were doing.

“With a clear impact on the bottom line, improving workplace happiness is moving up the business agenda and employers who ignore the debate risk the rise of an unmotivated and unproductive workforce,” Coates added


I tell you I have never read such crap in all my life.
If we are so flaming happy why is the industry short of 40 000 chefs?

The caterer has had it to good for two long and they think that they can print this crap and everyone believes them, well times have changed,

Oh yea we are sooooo happy that we have the highest alcohlism rates in any industry.

Its time we bring these idiots down a peg or two !
message posted 08-Jun-08 19:58:10
Hey Tourant

I found this in the guardian today, i will use it because they tell a story better than I do.

"Being a chef is now considered a rigorous and respected profession, attracting bright and ambitious people with university degrees. And what has been regarded as a man's world has been opened up to women. Its a career now, not just a job for women before marriage or out-of-work actors."

Indeed not. With graduates from her kitchen - including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Sam Clark of Moro fame - not only spreading the gospel of fresh seasonal produce and down-to-earth cookery, but raising still higher the profile and prestige of the restaurant chef, there has never been a better time to don the big white toque.

But listen to the kitchen spear-carriers cooking outside the spotlight of televised fame and brand-name fortune, and you hear a different story.

Dave Massey, executive chef at four south London restaurants including Nineteen, spells out the chefs working reality: "In London most chefs are employed to do seven shifts. A Michelin-starred restaurant chef will start at seven in the morning, take a break from four till five if they're lucky, and finish as late as 12: that's a double-shift, and you do two a week." The early shift lasts from 7 to 9am until about 4pm ("but sometimes until five or six with no extra money if trade is heavy"), and the late from 4pm until midnight - "then you've got to get home. It's the hours that kill - a minimum 48." And some restaurants that cater for the business crowd, so are not open at weekends, have it even tougher: five double-shifts a week - some 80 hours.

Nor is it less stressed outside London. "Kitchens are harsh environments," says Richard Coates, who left London's Belgo to open his own gastropub, The Cherry Tree Inn in Henley-on-Thames. "[The temperature in] my kitchen is about 47C, and there's a lot of physical work. Checks are flying at you and you've just got to cope.

"There's a huge drop-out rate; I don't think anyone else from my college is still cooking. People often realise [at a] really young [age] its not for them when they want to go out on Saturday night rather than work. The next hurdle is family, say aged 28 to 34. You meet so many ex-chefs who are cabbies now."

Those who make it over those hurdles - an almost all-male workforce - face a traditionally regimented working hierarchy based on Escoffier's brigade de cuisine. Its a recipe to produce an intensely all-embracing way of life.

"It's like the army. You work hard, and a lot drink and smoke hard," says Dave Massey. "Males don't want to get home as quickly as females do; they use catering as a lifestyle, socialising only with their work colleagues, seldom even knowing anyone in any other kind of work. In my first London job in a kitchen of 25 with only two females, it was regimented like the army, with lots of shouting, aggression and pressure."

Richard Coates agrees with this picture of alpha-male hell: "The only thing that has changed is that it is no longer acceptable to have a drink during your shift; people now are very serious about chasing those Michelin stars and awards."

More than just an ego-boost, the pursuit of cuisines badges of honour is a commercial imperative at the elite end of the uber-competitive restaurant jungle.

"To get to the top is an enormous struggle," says Tom Aikens, of the Michelin-starred and AA quintuple-rosetted restaurant bearing his name in London. "It's about dedication. You need to be a stubborn son of a bitch and keep focused. Its something you're born with; you cant turn it on and off, which is why only certain people make it. Only a handful of the guys coming through my kitchen have really gone on."

Among them is Aiden Byrne, the youngest chef ever to win a Michelin star: "I've got a fantastic job with a fantastic salary (head chef of The Grill at The Dorchester), and a lot of people would feel set for life. But I want to do my own restaurant now, working twice as many hours and taking a huge pay cut. You want to move forward and better yourself all the time."

But today, with work-life balance a hot potato in every workplace, surely the heat in the restaurant kitchen must be turning down to simmer? Far from it, believes Dave Massey; as rents rise, so too is the cost of ingredients and top chefs to meet the competitive demands of a clientele who've been educated to expect food that is not just better but, conditioned by years of McMeals, more quickly delivered to the table. Thanks to foot-soldier wages and the long, low-paid apprenticeship from commis to chef de cuisine, many of the nations restaurants are struggling to recruit and retain decent staff. The variable quality of current British culinary training caused by inadequate budgets doesn't help.

"You can pass a Level 2 NVQ in cooking without actually cooking food," complains Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association. "Where's the value of showing people pictures of basil, oregano, parsley and mint without them being able to learn by seeing, tasting, smelling and handling these products? It's theoretical cooking, a disservice to the individual and of no use to the industry."

To fill the gap, observes Dave Massey, our restaurant kitchens are increasingly staffed by Poles and Lithuanians - kitchen porters and dishwashers who are eager to learn on the job. Andre Blais, co-owner of London's rib-joint chain Bodeans, now finds that 75% of the cooks who load his barbecue pits are not culinary-trained, among them Algerians, Albanians and Kosovans; they work hard but take a lot of culture-sensitive management.

Women, according to the Office of National Statistics, comprise less than a third of the nations 164,000 full-time chefs. "Very few work the stoves; most go on to the larder, working with cold foods, or pastry - far less demanding but geared towards artistic flair," says Dave Massey. "Women are good for kitchens. They break that testosterone-fuelled, male chauvinistic rubbish that goes with egotistical chefs."

Angela Hartnett, chef de patron in the forthcoming additions to Gordon Ramsay's stable of London restaurants, Murano and York Albany, agrees: "Kitchens have toned down from 10 years ago. More women are coming into the kitchen. With the boom in restaurants opening there's more competition for chefs who can get up, take their knives and walk out of the door. Employers have had to wise up to what will keep a chef. When you're training, its not the money nor the hours; its what you learn, and you wont learn if all you get is being screamed at. Most chefs now realise its about nurturing talent. Gordon has mellowed. He would shout at you, but come the end of service you're sat down to talk about what and how things went wrong. He beats you down to bring you back up again, so you move on and learn from your mistakes."

Ruth Rogers' recipe for a more harmonious, even feminised kitchen consists of shorter hours - between 40 and 48 - and a less pressurised rota of six, rather than seven, shifts. "We don't allow people to do more than one double-shift a week, and everyone has to have two full days off. You don't get the best out of your staff if they crack up and end up on a beach in Australia. You want a work-life balance for your chefs so you get better people, creating good food in a good environment. Good holidays, good food, fresh air and good light makes for a better restaurant with better food

Now this story although written by a journalist shows you from real chefs how hard the business is and the massive drop out rate, hence how hard it is to find staff.

Caterer and whoever made up that crap story did it to try keep employers happy and not freak them out by saying YOU need to sort out your ideas about your staff, Chefs need to look after themselves, remeber that without us the whole FOOD industry is finished, I will even go so far as to say that if Chefs downed tools today the whole food and tourism industry would lose about 20billion.

So the next time you try and screw a chef remeber that you need us more than we need you !
message posted 11-Jun-08 16:06:02
I agree that we are so happy with our work especially when were not there and have a mind numbing amount of Stella and J.D on board. Happy times are A closing time pint and a whole day when some Fuckin idiot manager owner or the little poof that calls himself a F&B manager doesnt try to tell you what to do then you dont have to rip there throats out. On the relief side happy days are getting paid on time or at all. As for C&G the last time I was truley happy was 28 years ago when I passed the fuckin thing.
Caterer has been shite for years and obviously hasnt changed much I WANT TO BE A TAXI DRIVER.

message posted 16-Jun-08 09:48:44
I agree totally, the caterer, caters for the big PR firms and not for real chefs.

Check this story :

Gordon Ramsay seeks struggling restaurants for next TV show
(06 June 2008 10:47)
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is on the hunt for struggling restaurants ahead of the next series of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Optomen Television, the production company behind the Channel 4 show, today issued a call for entrants, ahead of filming later this summer.

A spokeswoman for the company told Caterersearch: “Gordon Ramsay is back from the US and is keen to lend his help to struggling restaurants at home in the UK.

“Gordon wants to give his expertise to all sorts of eateries – from big restaurants with large brigades to themed restaurants to chefs who are striving for great things but just can’t quite seem to get that Michelin star.”

He want to help struggling chefs, perhaps he should help himself. He lost two starts this year and has had to close two restaurants because they are failing.

Oh thats why, his TV crap brings in the most money, AAAAggggfff piss off gordon, real Chefs think you are crap, you sold your soul buddy !!
message posted 02-Jul-08 15:59:15
Caterer - the dodgy bastards !

This is going to sound really sad. I get Google News alerts once a day....I know , I know, but it keeps me up to date with whats going on, being in a kitchen all day, you understand.

Anyway recently all the news alerts are job ads from the caterer, what has hppened is the caterer has added jobs to their news page so google thinks their job ads are news.

So now we cant read anything without getting crap from the caterer. I guess I had better take up golf.

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