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Can't find a chef, lets blame Gordon Ramsay

message posted 15-Jan-07 19:58:37
My pub kitchen nightmare is all TV chef's faultAggressive image of the bullying superchef is scaring job applicants away, says Yorkshire publican

Nishika Patel
Gordon Ramsay is famously known for getting his chefs hot under the collar but now his rants and tirades have been blamed for turning new recruits away from the profession.
Chefs who enter Mr Ramsay's kitchen are often left quivering, but pub owner Richard Knocker says the aggressive image is driving new talent out of the industry.
Mr Knocker has been struggling to hire a chef at his pub, the Bay Horse Inn in Malton, for months and believes the root of the problem is Mr Ramsay.
After speaking to students chefs, fellow owners and experts in the industry, he found that many novice cooks were concerned about working in a tough catering environment, portrayed on TV programmes such as Hell's Kitchen and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
Mr Knocker said this image has put off young students, fresh out of college.
He said: "We have been seeking a talented chef to work alongside our Michelin-starred chef for a number of weeks but it seems people are put off by the image of chefs who have worked in Michelin-starred kitchens. It is important that cooks realise they are not all like Gordon Ramsay who is famous for shouting, swearing and aggressive temperament. All chefs are perfectionists but they also inspire other people.
"It seems young people looking to work as cooks are concerned with the image and are thinking about choosing other careers. We need young chefs in our kitchens because they can grow with the business."
But students at Leeds Thomas Danby College, who had an opportunity to meet the celebrity chef at their college last year, said Mr Ramsay had been an inspiration, not a turn-off.
Andrew Mangan, student on a preparation and cooking course, said: "I think Gordon Ramsay is a good role model. He has been inspirational to me. You either have the motivation to work in catering or you don't."
David Box, programme leader for NVQ diploma level three preparation and cooking said: "Gordon Ramsay is an inspiration. From where he has come from to where he is now is an amazing achievement. I don't think that he has put anyone off coming into the profession."
But Mr Knocker insists the image is affecting his business, which needs a new chef to keep up with the spiralling demand. Mr Knocker, who bought the pub in June last year, hired chef Dan Farrall four months ago, and since then takings have doubled.
He said: "We are surrounded by beautiful countryside with a relaxed atmosphere and a reputation for fine Yorkshire produce, but we are struggling to recruit chefs because they are put off by the image portrayed by aggressive chefs like Gordon Ramsay."
Former chairman of Master Chefs, the Earl of Bradford, who writes The UK Restaurant Guide, said: "What Gordon Ramsay does is make cooking as a career seem interesting. Kids seem more inspired to become chefs and programmes like this are attracting more talent. I think people realise it's not realistic and that a lot of it is done for TV."
message posted 15-Jan-07 20:43:36
Here is a copy of the email that I sent to Mr Knocker and the Author of the article

Dear Nishika

I was dismayed to read that one man can be blamed for another's failings in recruiting a chef.

I was equally dismayed that a 'Michelan' experienced chef would let his name be printed in a derogatory article pertaining to a fellow chef.

The reason he cannot find a chef is the simple reason that the package he is offering does not reflect the professional capacity of the chef. Share options, bonuses are the norm to attract a professional.

Just to clarify this for Mr Knocker, a standard run of the mill Chef de Partie working the relief circuit, can now earn in the region of 25 000. Mr Knocker should look at this and decide if he wants a professional team or cowboys.

This is an extract from an article by Gordon Ramsay,
"My answer to anyone remotely interested in how we run restaurants is that any new restaurant concept must always start with the chef. Not with the location, not with the restaurant designer and not with the smooth talking front-of-house manager. The passion, the focus and drive of the chef is what will make the restaurant work. Ultimately, we believe it will be his menu that people come to taste."

So Mr Knocker, offer a professional wage, bonus or share options and you will get a professional team.
The Chef is the backbone of your business.

Tim Capper
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