Is there anybody out there!?
So what to do after an early morning interview on the radio!?
Speaking with Mel Bush on ABC Hobart radio this morning, we chatted about cooking over Easter and what to do with those leftover hot cross buns etc.
Here is the link below if you are interested. We chat approx. 1hr 5mins into the show. https://www.abc.net.au/radio/hobart/programs/breakfast/breakfast/13836946
Mel also quizzed me about the current state of play in hospitality around Tasmania. What a great question and ultimately the reason for writing this post.
In a nutshell, Things aren't great!
We are currently seeing the worst 'low tide' in kitchen recruitment that I have ever seen. Excluding our international cohort (thank god for them!), the search for that up and coming, passionate apprentice is like looking for a needle in a hay stack. They are just not there anymore. This begs the question, WHY?
Well there are many reasons why, and I have mentioned these reasons over the years, but now I am hearing that Career Advisors are dissuading students from entering the industry. That is disappointing and dangerous. For any industry to thrive and perpetuate, we need new blood!
We need passionate, engaged and durable individuals that can see the forest for the trees! And that is exactly the mindset that is needed. Not the here and now, but looking to the future and the journey that needs to be taken to achieve a rewarding, balanced and happy career that can take you as far as YOU want to go. Is it a tough gig, Fuck yes, but the rewards totally out way the hard shit. I don't know about you, but even now 35 years down the track, I still get a 'metaphoric' hard on over food and all the great stuff that comes with it.
This industry has given me so much, but I have worked for it. The old adage comes to mind "What you put into life, is what you get out of it!"
For instance I am now putting all of my experience and training into consultancy. I find this incredibly rewarding and there is nothing better than giving back to your industry.
I also do charity work for Variety Club Tasmania. This is a whole new level of satisfaction and reward!
I have had a food truck, I have and continue to offer catering services. I am writing a kids recipe book (10 years in the making!)
I work alongside my great friend and Tasmanian legendary actor, John Xintavelonis as the Chef side of The Chef and The Showman.
Finally, I proudly work part time for the Great Lake Hotel as their Food Operations Manager and oversee a kitchen brigade made up entirely of an international cohort. I gotta say, they are amazing!
The reason that I tell you these things, is not a 'look at me' overview, but more a guide to what can be achieved and what motivates the hell out of me! I had a lightbulb moment halfway through my time at Marque IV where I knew that I needed to diversify and strengthen my knowledge in other areas of the industry. For instance, computer skills, finance and management.
Unfortunately, we have this left and right side of the brain thing happening, where 'most' of us are either creative or academic. Combining the two is tricky, but is totally doable and necessary for longevity.
Let me explain. I was one of the lucky ones that knew cooking was going to be my path. Having said that, I've definitely had those 'stuff this' moments through my career, but that's still an important part of the journey. Now, I wasn't the greatest student at school, especially when it came to the 'boring' subjects, like mathematics etc. My skills lay in the creative world of Art, English and obviously Home Economics.
About 15 years into my career, I really started to delve deeper into the financial, management and HR side of the industry. These are extremely important area's of our industry that I believe, need to be prioritized. At the end of the day great food and service are just pieces of a very large pie.
The great thing about knowledge is that confidence, inner strength and success come with it.
To sum up - Hospitality is an amazing career choice that comes with it's own Global Community, Diversity, Creativity, Comradery and Respect.
Don't ignore the negatives, just don't let them get in your way!