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28th Dec 2022

Jamie Oliver left ‘baffled’ that young Brits ‘don’t want to work in kitchens’

Charlie Herbert

Jamie Oliver

He said there is ‘real happiness to be had’ by working in kitchens

Jamie Oliver has voiced his bemusement at the fact young people don’t want to work in kitchens at pubs and restaurants.

The 47-year-old said he believes “British kids and young people don’t want to work in kitchens” these days while reflecting on his own childhood helping his parents out in their Essex pub.

The TV chef said that he only ended up having the career he has because of the many hours he spent working in kitchens.

His comments come at the end of a year that has been a real struggle for the hospitality industry.

Research from fine-dining water brand S.Pellegrino shared in April showed how restaurant bosses are having to wait an average of five months to recruit chefs with the right skill set.

Despite the research finding that 55% of chef employers believe there is a wealth of gastronomy talent in the UK today, 67% said that the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has put young people off from starting a career in the industry, according to HR News.

Jamie – who shares Poppy, 20, Daisy, 19, Petal, 13, Buddy, 12, and River, six with wife Jools – has now weighed in on the crisis facing the British hospitality industry.

“I was good at cooking – not because I was born to do it or a genius but because I just did it again and again,” the celebrity chef said.

“I had a terrible time academically at school but I loved working at the weekend – learning to graft, learning to be tired, learning to earn a pound.”

In his interview with the Radio Times, Jamie adds: “I was blessed to work with seven chefs on a shift who all taught me how to do things and would whup me if I didn’t do them right.

“It baffles me why British kids and people don’t want to work in kitchens. There’s a real happiness to be had.”

The chef also reflected on how he would help his parents run their Essex pub over festive periods when he was a child.

He described it as “an honour” to be able to pitch in and assist in the commercial kitchen, and explained that it never felt like he was working on Christmas Day due to the fact the pub’s regular customers felt like family.

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