Cobra beer launches new chef skills-sharing initiative with high profile support

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Singh: "The chef world has come full circle"
Chef Singh: "The chef world has come full circle"

Related tags Cobra beer Chef Initiative

With the ethnic restaurant sector facing a sharp decline in the number of more highly-skilled chefs coming from abroad, Cobra Beer has launched a campaign to give back to the community, inviting chefs up and down the country to take part in a comprehensive skills-sharing programme with award-winning chefs. 

Consultant chef Alfred Prasad, previously of Tamarind Restaurants, said: "I think we have a responsibility to create environments that are conducive to retention and growth - if you can show your team a path and let them grow through the ranks. That's a model most places should try to replicate because if staff see the opportunity for progression on their career path then there's no reason to leave."

Issues highlighted at the launch of the initiative, which took place at the Cinnamon Club, London, on Monday 15 June, included the effect of immigration and visa law on ethnic food operators wanting to recruit from abroad.

Speaking at the launch Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, said: "The immigration policies of this government are absolutely wrong - [those policies] and those of the previous coalition government have damaged businesses... our industry cannot bring in the skilled chefs that we need."

More than 250 restaurants have already signed up to the initiative, which was implemented on a trial basis earlier in the year in select restaurants in and around London.

Michelin-starred chef Vivek Singh, owner of the Cinnamon Club, added: "The industry is growing exponentially - all the catering colleges are churning out professional people but it's not enough and there is a big gap. At the moment we find it is very difficult to recruit and hire.

"The chef world has come full circle - it's gone from being a really horrible job to one of the most celebrated ones. But the sector still needs to get to a point where it pays fairly and provides enough opportunity for growth."

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