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  • Brian
    Brian

    When the dust settles?

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    It is already becoming clear after the Covid 19 crisis is over and the Nation returns to work many things in our industry will not be the same.

    Thousands of chefs are justifiably angry and bitter at employers lack of compassion and professionalism in dismissing them without any hope of a return.

    An Industry that was already suffering a skill shortage will find Chefs are now lorry drivers, supermarket stackers and bin collectors and enjoying a job with better conditions and far less stress.

    Their dreams of seeking super-stardom no longer a priority in their lives, if nothing Coronavirus has levelled out our “reality check” about what is and what isn’t important in our lives, and it will be many years ( if ever ) before the chasing of Rosettes dominates chefs thoughts 24/7 again.

    For many years I have been demonising the Accreditation's System in British cooking, This constant dogma that art oversees taste has become a disease in our industry and that a dish isn’t truly great unless it’s on an £80 plate and covered in cress or flowers, when in reality it is often just an excuse to justify poor cooking and extortionate pricing.

    Whilst there are lots of Chefs still determined about making a comeback and being positive, they will find a public weary of spending and a workforce reluctant to work in an industry that has badly let them down.

    It is very clear too that that top Law Firms are now looking at the possibility of mass claims for unfair dismissal, and there is little doubt that many Employers will face action for making people redundant without consultation, the legal period of notice and ignoring the Governments offer of support. That there was justifiable reason for redundancy will be questioned as never before.

    Those that believe that we can simply open our doors and everything will be as it was are naive and oblivious to the hardship many have suffered, and those Head Chefs and Restaurateurs who believe that they only have to switch their ovens back on and its “check on” will stop, look around, and find they are the only ones there?

    So too,  may the era of the “celebrity chef” be over. This bitterness that top chefs have been able to cocoon themselves in luxury made off the back of their staff whilst so many have faced serious hardship will not be forgotten, the" I’m alright Jacks “ have already been seen as they are, greedy and non-compassionate.

    Perhaps then a new era? An era where Chefs have finally realised that there more to life than that extra Rosette or chasing that Michelin Star that they will never get. Perhaps now an era of calm and an era where people can see that cooking is great job, but it is just that…a job?

    Yes, when many chefs will be eager to get back to work, there will be many who have been off long enough to evaluate their lives, spend time with their kids, breath fresh air, take exercise and will now be thinking “was it ever all worth it “?

    Brian McElderry

     

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