Hang Fire co-owner Shauna Guinn has revealed the the shocking lack of skills demonstrated by a job candidate who applied for a job at their now-closed restaurant.
It comes on the back of the staffing crisis in hospitality in Wales has hit the sector hard.
With former employees turning their back on hospitality due to its notoriously anti-social hours and a reassessment of their priorities post-lockdown, it’s forced many of the city’s top restaurants to reduce their opening hours.
It even led to the closure of Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, one of Wales’ top restaurants, in August.
At the time, Hang Fire co-owner Shaun Guinn, explained the reasons behind the restaurant’s sudden closure.
“We believe the pandemic has had a profound and damaging effect on the hospitality sector in general. Many workers in this industry no longer feel that restaurant life is for them,” said Shauna.
Read more: Tom Simmons - How one of Wales' hottest chefs rose to the top and came out of the pandemic swinging
Now, in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s the Food Programme, Shauna has shed further light on the shocking skills shortage affecting hospitality.
When Hang Fire advertised for a chef vacancy, Shauna was surprised by a job applicant's ability to demonstrate even one of the most basic skills in the kitchen.
“Let me tell you the real turning point for us, in terms of a crisis recruitment, is that we had a guy who applied for a sous chef job with us, and in the trial shit we said to him ‘can you just stand there and chop those few onions?’” said Shauna.
“And he said ‘What do you mean?’
“And I said, ‘Well just chop the onion’
“He said ‘Well I don’t know how…
“And I said, ‘But you’ve come here for a job interview for a sous chef and you can’t chop an onion? How have you done it in previous jobs?’
"He said, ‘I just sliced the bag open.’
For Shauna this was a demonstration of how the term ‘chef’ has become undervalued.
She added: “You’re having people working in chains where food is produced in a factory, it hasn’t come in contact with the human hand; it goes into a microwave and it is served up onto a plate by someone that’s probably paid minimum wage, and it hasn’t actually come into contact with the human hand.”
“And those people call themselves chefs. So I think there is a massive redefinition of what a chef actually means, because putting food into a microwave, from sliced bags to us, is not ‘chef’.”
You can listen to more of the interview with Shauna Guinn on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme on Sunday, October 24 at 12.30pm.
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