Britain does not have the talent pool to sustain jobs in the industry if migrants are not available to contribute to the recruitment landscape, according to Craig Allen, co-founder of the Change Group.
He said: “In an ideal world we would be encouraging and training up young British school leavers to be chefs, but the chef shortage is affecting us now and exiting the EU will just have a further detrimental effect and lose a large proportion of EU talent.
“Clearly it is our hope that more young British people will get into the hospitality industry – but this is not a given.”
Research by People First reported last year that the industry would need to recruit an additional 11,000 chefs by 2022. At the time of the research, 42% of chef vacancies were considered hard to fill.
Last month, trade leaders and Members of Parliament called for action on the chef shortage at the ceremony for the Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year Awards.
Speaking at the event Brigid Simmonds, British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive said the industry needed to be engaging with colleges.
Celeb chef James Tanner on the chef shortage
"Lecturers need to be up to date. We are a service industry – we serve the customer and it doesn't matter whether you're in contract catering serving 150 breakfasts, a one, two or three-star Michelin restaurant doing fine dining, or a small café."
“Over the past 10 years the hospitality industry in Britain has made incredible headway to solidify its position as a culinary capital of the world,” Allen said.
“However, this is very much reliant on restaurant investors and chefs bringing new ideas into the country and diners sustaining this growth,” he added
An exit from the EU could seriously affect investment in the industry and the supply of talent, he maintained, adding that a potential reduction in wealthy residents following Brexit – especially if banks were to relocate from London – could worsen the problem.
The Publican’s Morning Advertiser recently held an exclusive round table on the chef shortage. Read the coverage.