The hospitality industry must stop ignoring front-of-house staff and start giving waiters as much credit as chefs, according to Bob Walton, chairman of the Restaurant Association.
In an exclusive interview with Caterersearch, Walton said chefs had always been more celebrated both by the industry and the general public and that it was time for this situation to change.
"Service is the key to our industry yet we've never really pushed waiters in the same way that we've pushed chefs," he said.
"We need the support of our industry's icons and it's important that the waiters are given as much recognition as the chefs."
Walton, proprietor of Trunkwell Mansion House in Reading, Berkshire, added that he planned to expand the Young Chef Young Waiter competition, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year.
"Young Chef Young Waiter represents the future of our industry and it should be so much bigger than it currently is.
I want to make it the biggest competition in our industry and really raise its profile, be it through a possible TV show, or open competitions in front of a live audience."
Fred Sirieix, general manager of Galvin at Windows restaurant in London, agreed that front-of-house staff deserved more credit.
"Chefs are always the centre of attention, which in a way is understandable because ultimately a restaurant is about the food.
But service is equally important and ultimately secures a restaurant's longevity."
By Kerstin Kühn
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