IT IS hard to believe that a state with the epicurean reputation of Tasmania is finding itself with a shortage of chefs and cooks.
Tasmania has some of the best food and wine in Australia and is increasingly being recognised nationally and internationally for those reasons.
Yet, there is a shortage of Tasmanians willing to work in the third-largest industry in the state.
Managers are worried that unless there is a dramatic influx of chefs or a large increase in training new chefs, Tasmania will be left short in the next few years.
The Tasmanian Hospitality Association has logged 143 vacant positions across the state and expects the problem to increase in the busier summer months ahead.
Some restaurants are turning to people from overseas who arrive on 457 visas to work in the industry.
With the state’s high levels of unemployment, particularly among youth, it would be great to see more Tasmanians employed locally.
It is obviously not as simple as throwing people into the kitchen; the skills required involve plenty of training to perfect.
Not every unemployed person wants to be a chef or a cook – the hours can be antisocial and the stress levels in a kitchen high – but the rewards and opportunities can be great too.
Fundamentally, people need to have a passion to work in hospitality rather than just seeing it as work.
There is nothing worse for a hospitality business’ reputation than staff who do not care about the customer or the quality of the product.
That is where selling the very real positives of working in the hospitality industry need to be pushed.
Yes, it is undoubtedly hard work, but it is a career that can take a young person across the state, country and world.
There is no reason why Tasmania cannot produce the best hospitality staff in Australia to match some of the best food, wine and whisky they dish up.
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