Chefs Mark Sargeant (pictured), Gary Lee, Adam Byatt and Phil Howard were among 200 hospitality industry professionals at London's City Hall on Monday (21 September) promoting hospitality as a career for young people.
Over 500 young job seekers also attended the British Hospitality Association's (BHA) annual Big Hospitality Conversation, which was supported by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Companies included D&D London, Gaucho Restaurants, Five Guys, Wagamama, Benugo, Whitbread, Compass Group, Elior and BaxterStorey.
The event featured talks from chefs, panel debates on work experience and apprenticeships and a careers fair where members of the BHA had jobs on offer.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, added: "Hospitality is a successful industry with even greater growth prospects offering a vast range of career opportunities. The breadth of roles and the training available means that bright and focused young people can succeed very quickly."
Sargeant, owner of Rocksalt Folkestone, said he hoped the event inspired young people to get involved in the "glorious industry".
Gary Lee, executive chef at the Ivy, said: "I have long championed young people coming into the hospitality industry and have taken on apprentices, been into schools to give motivational talks and spoken to them at cooking demos.
"They are our future and must be nurtured and encouraged."
According to figures from the BHA, the industry will need to create another 60,000 jobs by 2020 to sustain its growth.
The Big Hospitality Conversation offers a commitment to create career opportunities, including apprenticeships and work placements, for young people aged 16-24. The initiative is run in conjunction with Springboard, Believe in Young People, Business in the Community, People 1st and the Department for Work & Pensions.
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