Chris Evans struggling to recruit chef for his pub

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Trio of sites: radio DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans had a portfolio of three pubs previously
Trio of sites: radio DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans had a portfolio of three pubs previously
TV and radio presenter Chris Evans is finding recruiting a chef for his Surrey pub difficult, he told listeners on his Radio 2 breakfast show this morning (25 April).

Evans was talking about retro games and said he had recently bought some for his pub, the Mulberry in Chiddingfold, before asking listeners if they had problems recruiting hospitality staff.

He said: “By the way, [is] anybody else who runs a catering establishment having trouble getting chefs?

“It is so hard. We are looking for a sous chef at the moment and it’s so difficult to get chefs. I phoned up Tom Kerridge and he said they were in the same boat.”

Encouraging new staff

Chris Evans and pubs

At one stage, Evans owned three pubs – the Mulberry; the Lickfold Inn; and the Newbridge Inn.

Evans bought the Lickfold Inn, on the outskirts of West Sussex village Petworth, in 2007 but sold it three years later.

The Newbridge Inn, at Tredunnock near Usk, was the third pub bought by the  BBC2 Radio 2 presenter, purchased in 2007 but sold to Celtic Manor Resort in 2010.

The TV presenter did put the Mulberry on the market in 2016 for more than £1m, however Evans is still mentioned on the pub’s website as saying: “I love my pub, love it.”

He then offered advice to children and urged them to consider a long-term career in the hospitality industry.

Evans added: “Kids, [if] you want to train and you want to be in full-time employment for the rest of your life, become a chef because they are as rare as hen’s teeth.”

Meanwhile, during a debate at The Morning Advertiser​’s MA500 club earlier this year (February), delegates heard that education plays a big part in tackling the lack of chefs in the hospitality industry​ and catering colleges need to up their game.

The crisis was debated by chief executive officer of the Professional Association of Catering Education Geoff Booth; Anglian Country Inns operations director Harry Kodagoda; and owner operator of the Staith House in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, John Calton.

Chef recruitment

Calton outlined his experiences when it came to recruiting chefs and how a combination of lack of skills alongside high wage expectation is his biggest issue.

Booth highlighted the pros and cons of students going through the college route and through an apprenticeship.

He said: “There are two ways of getting into chef training. One is going to college, which takes money and travel while they are not earning.

“Alternatively, the apprenticeship programme is vibrant and a good way of learning while you work. They learn deadlines, targets, budgeting aspects.

“Full-time college courses get funded less each year so they have to cut hours to save money. Everyone needs basic training, you have to start somewhere and there is a good foundation programme that exists.”

  • The Morning Advertiser ​has launched a guide to help operators recruit chefs. Find out more here.

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