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Hard-graft reality won't live up to young dreams

31 August 2012 by
Hard-graft reality won't live up to young dreams

Grumbling about "the youth of today" is nothing new, but there's an argument to say that there is increasing legitimacy to the complaints now flying around. When Marcus Wareing slammed the work ethics of young chefs back in May, the murmurs of agreement could no doubt be heard in kitchens across the land.

The two-Michelin-starred chef criticised industry newbies from Generation Y for their desire to get to the top as quickly as possible with minimal effort - an attitude that is probably learnt from the school of Masterchef and X Factor.

This mentality all too frequently translates into friction between young chefs and their bosses. The young men and women that refuse to sweep the floor "because Gordon Ramsay doesn't have to do it on TV" are likely to flee a sector that continues to suffer from skills shortages, because the hard-graft reality doesn't live up to the dream.

But it's not all doom and gloom. Celebrity chefs like Ramsay and Jamie Oliver might sometimes make a kitchen career look easy and glamorous but, in doing so, they've attracted more and more potential talent to have a crack at it.

This week we look at the ways the industry - from colleges to professional kitchens - can successfully manage Generation Y and get the best out of them, in our feature How to manage generation Y chefs.

Classic management and training techniques such as buddy-buddy mentorships can make the difference between a surly teenager expecting the moon on a stick and a young adult striving for perfection through the only route possible: honest hard work.

By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.

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