'Perfect' TV food puts chefs under too much pressure

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Feeling the heat: pub chefs could be affected by TV shows
Feeling the heat: pub chefs could be affected by TV shows

Related tags Pub chefs Cooking

Pub chefs are under increased pressure to compete with TV cookery programmes and present their food in the 'perfect' way, exclusive research from The Morning Advertiser has shown.

Two of the biggest issues caused are the unrealistic speed that food is created and served on cookery programmes, and the fact only the glamorous side of the kitchen is shown and not the preparation work that goes into dishes.

Gordon Reid, licensee of the Queens Arms in Corton Denham, Wiltshire, claimed not showing how food is prepared creates an unrealistic expectation for consumers.

He said: “It’s all very well doing a fancy dish on a programme when there’s just one item but when you’re cooking for 100 to 120 people in a service, you can’t prep and serve that kind of food with those sorts of numbers.

“One dish is easy to do, 120 is not so easy to do as the same sort of thing that they do on TV. It’s a lot of pressure on chefs.”

Hold your own

But adding pressure on pub chefs isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to Glen Duckett, licensee of the Eagle & Child in Ramsbottom, Lancashire.

He said: “[The pressure] has raised the game for pubs as there’s so much competition, you have to be able to hold your own."

Paul Egerton, licensee of the Jolly Sailor in St Albans, Hertfordshire, has been in the trade for the past 30 years and admitted pub food has evolved throughout this time.

He said: “Customers expect their food instantly in a pub whereas they are quite happy to wait longer in a restaurant.

“That’s where the pressure gets to chefs as they have got to produce this restaurant-style food but in a limited amount of time because customers expect it within 15 to 20 minutes.

“People expect more from their service now and that’s what pubs have to do.”

Chef shortage

Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars owner Tim Bird had mixed feelings on how the media has influenced pub chefs and believed it could impact recruitment.

He said: “The difficulty is seeing people cook on the TV should make people want to cook and I’m sure it does.

“But it could intimidate people that they will never have the skills or the artistry to do the food the way it is depicted on some of these shows.”

However, Bird believes the issue of chef recruitment is the biggest problem in the trade when it comes to food.

He said: “At the moment, there is an industry shortage of chefs and we can’t train them quick enough.”

What are your thoughts? Get in touch with nikkie.sutton@wrbm.com if you think pub chefs are pressured to create television-worthy dishes

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