Hotel's European quest for chefs
By David GreenTWO Polish chefs have been recruited by a top East Anglian hotel – because of a shortage of British recruits.The celebrity chef television culture may have attracted more people into the trade, but there is still a shortage in the lower rankings.
By David Green
TWO Polish chefs have been recruited by a top East Anglian hotel – because of a shortage of British recruits.
The celebrity chef television culture may have attracted more people into the trade, but there is still a shortage in the lower rankings.
Francis Guildea, general manager of the Swan Hotel in Southwold, said: "Everyone wants to be a Jamie Oliver, but there can be only one head chef in every kitchen."
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The Swan is now employing two Polish comi-chefs, both aged in their early 20s, following a failure to recruit suitable staff locally, regionally and nationally.
"They came in during March – before the expansion of the European Union – under a special visa scheme introduced to help deal with skills shortages," said Mr Guildea.
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"With the eastern European border controls now reduced, it is easier to recruit staff from that part of the world, but we always start looking locally, then regionally and nationally before we search further afield."
While the celebrity chef culture may have encouraged more young people to consider the trade, most migrated to the cities and it was more difficult to recruit chefs in the provinces.
Pawel Koszela and Arkadiusz Sitek, both aged in their early 20s, are now working under the Swan Hotel's head chef, Ian Howell, and getting to know the workings of a busy hotel kitchen and improving their English.
"It has been a hugely positive experience so far," said Mr Guildea.
The Swan Hotel was already a multi-cultural workplace with employees from Denmark, France, Australia and South Africa, although Mr Koszela and Mr Sitek were the only non-British members of the kitchen staff, he added.