Opportunities for local culinary talent post-pandemic

Opportunities for local culinary talent post-pandemic

Nine out of ten Australian hospitality business owners have reported an over-reliance on international chefs that has left the industry exposed, according to a recent survey.

Australia’s Kitchen Talent Review report, commissioned by Menulog in collaboration with the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI), looks at the lessons learned by the Australian food services industry during the pandemic and reveals opportunities to build local culinary talent post-pandemic.

“There’s a very, very clear outcome from this report suggesting that there’s a massive shortage and a very big challenge when it comes to labour out there at the moment. That’s why I think now’s a really good time for all of us as leaders, educators, and partners of the industry to come together, look back, and reflect on the past 18 months,” says Menulog’s Managing Director Morten Belling.

The survey results have revealed that approximately 70 per cent of Australian restaurants had to let go an international chef, leaving the industry exposed as it seeks to rebuild.

That’s the verdict of more than 500 food services industry leaders nationwide, who are ready to get restaurants, cafés, pubs and takeaways back on their feet for the long-term.

The results have also revealed that half of all Australian food services industry owners and managers (FIOMs) had to permanently close at least one venue during the pandemic, with more than one quarter closing two or more.

The session was conducted at Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney, a NICI partner restaurant.

On average, two staff were lost from these venues per role in the kitchen alone – chef, cook, and apprentice. One-third of venues lost three or more kitchen staff per each of these positions.

Conversely, just three-in-ten FIOMs were able to maintain existing kitchen staff levels through the past 18 months.

According to FIOM respondents, while international chefs were described as bringing new ideas to their kitchens and greater experience, local chefs were seen to have various key benefits spanning reliability, longevity with the business, and knowing local tastes.

An overwhelming 96 per cent of FIOMs agree that building career pathways for local, homegrown chefs is important to the future of the industry.

For more information, access the full report HERE.

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