Pender, who is also managing director of six-site group Yummy Pub Company, said: “We need to be more positive about the recruitment of chefs and the deficit whilst ensuring that our training is relevant to avoid working too long hours and make sure we reward our guys properly.
“There’s a lot of negativity in the press – we talk about the chef problem and the tipping and wage issue - people are coming forward with negative points of view but no solutions.”
Pender said the best step forward in dealing with the chef shortage would be to take a different approach to training chefs, giving them better time and people management skills.
He said: “One thing the need to think about as a sector is that we typically look at chefs for their skill in terms of how well they cook but we don’t look at them as managers and they are managers.
“They are managing people as a resource and time as well – at Yummy Pub Co we make sure that before someone gets made a head chef they learn motivation, leadership and time management. Part of them being able to do the job is keeping their hours down to a reasonable level."
He said he believed no one should ever work over 55 hours a week, adding: “If you’re doing over that then you’re not managing your staff.
“For instance, sous chefs are there to run a kitchen when the head chef is not there. If the head chef is working 6 or 7 days a week, then they’re not giving training to their sous chef, undermining them and not giving them a chance to learn.
“Those [working unreasonable hours] should look at how they can improve those hours. You can whinge about it and just do the hours or you can learn to manage them.”