Jun16

The times are a changing

(16 /06 /2016)

Being a chef is tough. Tougher than most people would believe. But does that mean you have to be a brutal hard-ass to motivate your apprentices?

Certainly I have been in kitchens where I have been sworn at, I have also seen Head Chefs throw open waiters friends at waits staff when they have asked for a vegetarian option and other Head Chefs string burnt bits of food into a necklace and made apprentices wear it so they won’t burn anything again. It is completely mental.

There seems to be a number of old school chefs who cling on to this fear methodology for running their kitchen. And maybe it still works for them.

In the news this month, celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge has blamed Gen Y for the chef shortage in Australia, implying they are slack and don’t know how to work hard.

Here is one of Colin’s online rants about Gen Y.

“I know ur little Johnny works hard and is a great kid !!!!! But his mate Larry pops 10 pingers on the sat and 4 bongs on the Sunday ……. Then he’s at work …….and cooks the the f**king bejesus out of the broccoli til it resembles a brown soup.

“Which gets sent back and I have to write a sorry email … now the 2 little f**kers want Tuesday off (eccky Tuesday) and I’m paying for them.

“I should have just gone to double bay w them on sat.”

What is really interesting about this story is the way in which Gen Y (and their mums) have hit back. Gen Y is really asking how the popularity of reality cooking television shows and celebrity chefs have impacted the industry. Of course Colin is now part of this industry with his regular appearances as a judge on cooking shows.

Gen Y is claiming that being a chef is now an in-thing. It is popular and people have unrealistic ideas about what it is like working in the industry. Cooking shows glamorize the industry, yes the contestants work hard but perhaps not in the same way as you do when working in a real kitchen. You don’t see MasterChef contestants pulling a 16-hour shift that finishes at midnight and then being back in the kitchen by 4am the next morning.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. Gen Y are here to stay and they have some on-point observations. The people and expectations in the kitchen are certainly changing, there is no going back, and I’m looking forward to see how we all transition to incorporating these new generational ideas and management styles.


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