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Hiring policy is up the pole

30 November 2006

I'd like to refer to your article "Scottish group to recruit chefs directly from Poland" (Caterer, 26 October, page 8](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2006/10/26/309677/macdonald-hotels-resorts-to-recruit-chefs-directly-from.htm)). Despite 20 years' experience in this industry (all in Italian restaurants), I've been out of work for the past four months.

Having sent numerous CVs to companies, not to mention heaven knows how many telephone calls, I'm going round in circles. Everywhere I go I seem to be falling over Polish chefs, waiters, waitresses and kitchen porters. I ask myself, have these Polish immigrants got British catering qualifications such as City & Guilds 706/1 and 2, NVQs and health and hygiene certificates? Is the Health & Safety Executive going to turn a blind eye to this potential lack of knowledge?

I've contacted several employment agencies only to be told they have numerous immigrant workers on their books. Even when I attend an interview for a head or sous chef position, I'm met with inexperienced staff who feel threatened by my experience. I've also come across owners who want my experience but are unwilling to pay little more than the minimum wage.

My gripe is not with immigrant workers per se, but when standards fall in the kitchen and front of house and the customer walks away because of inferior food and service, don't blame the staff - look in the mirror and you'll see the real problem.

Ralph Heaney
By e-mail

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