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Michelin Guide pub chef's bid to help boost recruitment

By Nikkie Sutton , 20-Mar-2017
Last updated on 20-Mar-2017 at 15:08 GMT2017-03-20T15:08:58Z

Recruitment: chef shortage has been a recurring topic for the trade
Recruitment: chef shortage has been a recurring topic for the trade

The chef of a Michelin Guide-listed pub in Nottingham joined catering students from a local college to cook a gourmet meal to inspire them to consider a career in pub food.

The event took place at the Adams Restaurant in the Lace Market, Nottingham, and was a sell-out with 65 paying customers.

The five-course meal included smoked salmon; roast salt cod with a Hendrick's and tonic jelly cucumber granite; and three desserts including cinnamon donuts.

Ruddington Arms pub chef Mark Anderson laid out the benefits of working in a pub compared with other parts of the hospitality sector.

He said: “Young chefs gravitate towards hotels and restaurants, not realising the career opportunities available to them in pubs.

“In pubs, they can do everything from traditional pub grub to gastro and, further down the line, set up on their own like I have done.

“The pub industry has evolved significantly in recent years and supply simply isn’t keeping up with demand.”

More chefs needed

Anderson called on prospective job seekers to consider a career in pubs and described his experience of working with younger people.

He added: “Some 90% of adverts for licensees from Star Pubs & Bars ask for catering experience yet only 7% of applicants are chefs. If pubs are to continue to thrive, this has to change.

“I have been fortunate to employ three New College Nottingham students at the Ruddington Arms so it was a pleasure for me and them to spend a day inspiring the next generation.”

Fellow Ruddington Arms chef Alistair Beattie outlined how pubs have changed since he was in education.

He said: “When I was at college, pubs were a place to have a drink and sometimes a bite to eat.

“Today food is much more important. We knew about the opportunities in restaurants and hotels then but not about pubs.

“Pubs are a great place to work. Menus and specials are always changing so there is plenty of opportunity to do new things.”

Opportunities for good careers

Other participants lauded the experience as excellent and amazing, and discussed the tips and tricks they had picked up.

Marianne Loa said: “I learnt and improved so many skills in such a little time. In a pressurised environment, I learnt how to manage my time and how to be organised.”

Paisley Leigh Ryan said: “I got to develop many of my skills. The fast-paced atmosphere of the kitchen really encouraged me to be a part of the team and I would definitely do it again and consider working in the pub industry.”

New College Nottingham lecturer Elliot Richardson said: “It was fantastic to have Mark and his team help students learn new skills and see, first-hand, how exciting pub food can be.

“Some young people struggle to find a job yet there are real opportunities for good careers if they become proficient in the skills needed by industries like the pub trade where there is a shortage of kitchen staff.

“The food was of such a high standard that I believe it has opened their eyes to view the pub industry as a thriving part of the sector.

“We were fully booked and could have sold the event twice over. It also attracted new customers, which is great for future events.”

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