Chef shortage 

We have a shortage of chefs in the kitchen and we continually complain about not being able to hold onto good chefs and getting these chefs from overseas. We really need to start wondering, maybe the way we ran kitchens 20 years ago, isn’t the same way we should run kitchens now. Does our industry need to change? Do we need to re think our training, even our mind of a chef?
We start our careers in Australia with this idea that we work 30 hours in the kitchen and 8 hours at tafe. It sounds like enough over 3 years , equates to 5000 hours average,but usually it’s a lot more time spent in the kitchen. Its quite a commitment to make as a young person and for a minimum wage to then spend more time in the kitchen to be paid a similar amount as you were as an apprentice to do more hours on a salary. Not really the life goals one has in mind when starting a career.
As for other trades you become qualified tradesperson you then have a license to create and trade your good or service. For example, so as an electrician you can tag electrical appliances or do wiring and have your own electrician business if your passionate enough. As for cheffing it takes an investment for a HACCP approved kitchen to legally sell your goods and services, no matter how you look at it, you pay for schooling then you pay to live your dream? To then struggle in a competitive industry.
Some foreign chefs are even going around to kitchens saying that they are qualified chefs, because no one does reference checks on foreign chefs, they get hired and paid top dollar because they are from another country and it is assumed that they are better than Australian chefs. The same chefs that to get the qualification go through a minimal 5000 hours of cooking.
In Europe they do a culinary course then they do an apprenticeship in a restaurant, working under a chef, committing the time time all to cooking in the industry, not splitting the hours up.
The Culinary course in Australia works, but needs to be improved, as the recipes used are from the 70’s, and the lecturers haven’t been in the industry in years, yet still telling the chefs to be how ‘hard it was back in their day’. Some guest lecturers or even chefs in the industry to come in and teach a 4 hour cook would be motivation enough for students and a opportunity for young passionate chefs to build contacts.  
Instead of talking about the good olde days, chefs should be talking about now, the top chefs around, and mentoring younger chefs. Guiding the young chefs in the kitchen through the tough times, teaching them that everything said in the kitchen isn’et personal it’s all in the heat of the moment under the pressure that is in the kitchen. 
Some say the reason we have such a chef shortage is because of bullying in the kitchen, the constant yelling and pressure, the names, the mistakes, the belittling, well yeah it probably does hurt the industry. As chefs what do we do to improve this? Well we just learn it from the chefs before us, and do it to the apprentices coming through, it’s a cycle, and our excuse is ‘it’s how hard it was back in my day’. To stop this mentality during our chef course we should be taught how to deal with other people, how to work as a team, proper teaching methods, as half of our job as chefs is to teach,push and motivate.
Wanting holidays, a day off or even a sick day is more than a mission in this industry. Even if you manage to convince the head chef you are sick the rest of the team makes you feel like you owe them or you let them down. I don’t think this is the reason alone for there being no apprentices, or a lack of chefs but it doesn’t help. 
We have such attitudes and egos in the kitchen, which we need to have to protect our trade but is this killing it for new young chefs coming through? Do we need to change our whole learning system, should we look at doing more of food science and the dangers in the course, or even just some P.R. Courses. I’m a chef who works long hours and have done so for a long time, and it’s quite plain to see that the industry needs to be improved, and changed.


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