Sunday, 31 May 2015

Child of our time

Today we had our new set of seasonal (😐) recipes which included a children's offer. Forget the extra prep involved. I can deal with that. Bagging up bits of celery and cheese, ok. Counting 7 (count them ...7...) grapes into a bag. Alright, forget that grapes don't actually grow in the UK in May, (don't get me started) but chicken nuggets? Baguette pizzas? Why?

It is seemingly very hard to attract people into the food industry - the glamorous side of Masterchef and Celebrity TV cooks is very much the tip of the iceberg, it's a physically and mentally demanding job, which let's face it pays very little.

And while occasionally you find someone who is genuinely excited by the prospect of working in kitchens and front of house, more often than not, staff are discouraged by the hours, and the perceived menial jobs that need to be done - I once compared the routine with that of a class teacher (which I spent 20 years being) saying that it would be like being inspected at any time, in any lesson, delivering any of 40 or 50 lessons, and then having to prepare all the resources for the following day, and clean every table and chair, wall and cupboard every day before you left the building.

I love working in kitchens - not all of it, but working with food genuinely excites me.  And I have long tried to instil this  passion in others, but when you get a staff member who's supposedly had catering experience at college, and who doesn't know how to peel an apple.......

How can young people be expected to learn what food is, and where it comes from and when it is available, if they are proffered chicken lumps in breadcrumbs as the norm?