Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing said there have never been more jobs available in the restaurant industry as he backed our Christmas appeal to help upskill unemployed youngsters to get them into the workplace.
The Masterchef judge said the large number of vacancies in hospitality offered opportunities, but “the key is knowing how to get those jobs”.
He added: “Because of Brexit there are more vacancies than ever. I have never, ever, ever seen a time like the staff shortage we have now. Every single chef, every single manager and every single hotelier is saying exactly the same thing.”
Mr Wareing was speaking at Marcus, his restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, as he met the latest cohort of unemployed people being trained by Springboard, an organisation that helps young people be “work ready” for careers in the hospitality industry.
Springboard is one of the charities we are funding in our £1 million Skill Up Step Up campaign in partnership with Barclays LifeSkills. The new recruits were on a three-week course that will culminate with interviews for jobs with catering company Compass.
Mr Wareing, 51, gave a rousing speech to encourage them, and revealed that his son, a student at Durham University, has chosen to work in McDonald’s rather than in the Marcus kitchen. He said: “Do you know what McDonald’s gives you? It gives you a career…my son went there because he wanted life skills, he wanted to see a different side.”
Referring to his kitchen at Marcus, he said: “This here is posh, this is luxury, that kitchen is a Formula One car, it’s the crème de la crème of kitchens. Not all kitchens are like that. I worked hard to build that kitchen, it didn’t just arrive here. I had to pay for it and build it. I started off in the lowest kitchens.”
Referring to staff shortages, he said restaurants had started poaching staff and paying “humungous” amounts of money for people to work for them. Others are having to open for fewer hours to enable them to keep running.
Springboard recruit Chisom Thomas, 19, said he was surprised to hear Mr Wareing’s son had turned down the Marcus kitchen for McDonald’s. But Mr Wareing said “from a job offer and career point of view, they offer a lot”.
He spoke about the importance of working hard, describing himself as “a young man from Southport who worked hard at his career. That’s it. I don’t believe I am gifted, I just worked hard at an industry and a job that I absolutely love.” He said the recruits would have no reason not to have a job once they had completed the Springboard course, telling them: “There’s a job for everyone somewhere, you just have to go and find it. Don’t be afraid to bang on those doors. I have a daughter and two sons and I say exactly the same to them.” Temi, 27, who hopes to become a pastry chef, said Mr Wareing’s encouragement was exactly what she wanted to hear after being rejected from several jobs. “I needed that, I really did.”
Bokuma Ebengo, 34, a carer who studied health and social care management, said she, too, was inspired. “Cooking is my passion,” she said. The mother of two wants to become a chef.
Mr Wareing emphasised the importance of continuing to learn throughout adult life, saying: “I still have a lot of food I want to learn, a lot of flavours I haven’t tasted and a lot of people I want to meet. I am excited about the future.”
As the recruits left his restaurant, it was obvious they were just as excited, now they are being helped by Springboard.