Industry figures from across the hospitality and education sectors have rounded on Oliver Peyton after the restaurateur said that the standard of catering colleges in the UK was a "disgrace".
Last week (26 July, page 7), Caterer revealed that Peyton had described catering colleges as "a stop-off before you're sent to prison" and added that the standard of colleges abroad, particularly one he had visited in Lyon, was far superior.
Neil Rippington, head of the centre of hospitality and food studies at Colchester Institute, labelled Peyton's comments, which mirrored similar views from Marco Pierre White earlier this year, as "reckless and irresponsible".
He said: "If I were to say that all restaurants in this country were a disgrace, but I've been to a good one in Lyon, people would consider me an idiot. Solely blaming colleges for a lack of good chefs is short-sighted."
David Wood, founder of consultancy TheHospitality.biz, said that critics need to consider the funding situation.
"In the early 1990s," he said, "while Messrs Peyton and White were acquiring their reputations and fortunes from restaurants, the funding for colleges and universities was changed and hospitality got a new reduced-fund banding. Peyton speaks of the idyllic college in Lyon - I should point out that this is nothing like the local college set-up. It is funded through full-fee-paying students and is supported by global hotel group Accor."
Ashley de Safrin, client services manager for tourism and hospitality at Business Link London, said: "I don't think Pierre White or Peyton do the industry any favours with comments like these unless they are prepared, with other chef colleagues, to come up with practical solutions. It is very easy to criticise, but much harder to get a positive result."
By Daniel Thomas
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