Is There a Disconnect Between Catering Colleges and Professional Kitchens?

A new study has found a huge problem within the catering industry: due to a disconnect between catering colleges and professional kitchens, thousands of new chefs are choosing to leave the catering industry completely.

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This is already presenting a problem in the UK. In 2011 there were 267,500 thousand chefs and cooks, but there were 271,000 chefs and cooks in 2010. That means that the UK lost over five thousand chefs within a year, and it seems that the number will continue to drop.

In fact, it is predicted that there will be a shortage of over eleven thousand chefs and cooks by 2022, which could massively affect the way that the catering industry does business.

The Cause of the Problem

The study found that there are nearly 30,000 trainee chefs and cooks at catering colleges around the UK, but despite this many restaurants and cafes are still struggling to find staff. This is true even at the most prestigious of establishments, where many people would expect new chefs to be queuing out of the door for a chance at the job.

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Students say that the problem is twofold: the first issue is that many people drop out of catering courses as they dislike the long hours and the physical work; while the second issue is a clear disconnect between colleges and restaurants. Many students complain that the skills that they learnt at catering college aren’t necessary for the job, and they often find that they have to learn new skills that weren’t taught at their college. This makes the new chefs feel stressed and unskilled, which makes them worry that they are not cut out for the job.

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Can We Fix the Problem?

The problem may seem drastic, but it can easily be remedied by improving communication between professional kitchens and catering colleges. This will give colleges the opportunity to teach more relevant skills to trainee chefs so that when they graduate they will be able to find a catering job that their skills are suited to. This should improve overall job satisfaction for chefs, making it less likely that they will choose to leave the restaurant industry.