Celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw has said the hospitality industry is the ‘saviour of mankind,’ warning of a bleak future if people are unable to go out to eat, drink, or let their hair down.
Speaking in an exclusive new Hospitality Rising podcast, the Port Isaac-based fish maestro said employers must invest in new recruits in order to ensure the industry survives amid fears that people are quitting hospitality for good.
Having started working in the kitchen with his chef father aged just nine, Nathan is the latest among big-name chefs to back the bold Hospitality Rising campaign, ‘Rise Fast, Work Young,’ which has been launched in a bid to help fill the industry’s 400,000 vacancies.
Within just four days of the movement’s launch, more than 6,000 applications were received for jobs across the UK, which will no doubt see significant hires within the sector.
Nathan believes that now is one of the most important times for hospitality leaders to get behind the campaign and help tackle the jobs crisis.
The 44-year-old said:
“Looking at the industry, there is clearly the issue of gaps in the market in kitchens and front of house.
“It does also depend on employers. I always say to a young person, find as many interviews as you possibly can before you make a decision and find a kitchen culture or a restaurant culture where you feel like you belong.
“I think the hospitality industry will step up because it does always. The one thing about hospitality is we always make it happen.
“I believe there are good people in the industry, across the world and in the UK, and I think that people will get together and we’ll make sure that the foundations are there for an industry that brings people into it, trains them properly, looks after them, pays them well and they obviously get the reward from where they work in. I believe that will happen because it can’t go any other way.
“People love to eat and drink too much. Human beings love it. Hospitality is the saviour of mankind. If you don’t eat well, if you don’t drink well, and you don’t have fun, then what’s the point?
“I personally support Hospitality Rising because I believe that the future of the industry is strong and I want to being young people into it to fulfil their dreams.”
Finding recruits has never been more challenging for leaders in the industry. Hospitality lost valuable talent in what has been dubbed the ‘great resignation’ following the height of the pandemic, while Brexit also resulted in a mass exodus of experienced workers.
Add to this the fact only 1 in 5 people would consider entering the industry, and 42 per cent of those working in the industry want to leave, and it’s clear drastic action was needed, and fast.
That action has come in the form of Hospitality Rising’s recruitment initiative – which brings hundreds of brands together to champion the industry across the UK.
Nathan said: “My dad is a chef, and my grandparents were all in the industry. So, I’ve really only ever known hospitality – it’s in my blood. To this day I get out of bed and don’t feel like I’m working, which is great.
“I started basically on Saturday mornings with my dad at eight or nine years old. I’d do things like tray up bread for toast or I’d butter bread for sandwiches, all little things like that. I just loved the teamwork part of it, that’s what got me into it really. It was the influence of a good team around you and feeling part of something.
“I think it’s really important for others to get involved in Hospitality Rising. If you’re part of the hospitality industry, you should be involved. It’s about bringing people into the hospitality industry for a great future, and a great career.”
backers to pledge £10 per employee, the recruitment campaign aims to reach a £5m target, allowing for a “government-sized” collaborative campaign that will change the perception of the industry and bolster its workforce for good.
Mark McCulloch, founder of Hospitality Rising and campaign director, said:
“I wholeheartedly agree with Nathan in the fact that hospitality must find a way to survive because it’s an industry that delivers all the pleasures in life – good food, drink, great company, helping to make memories, and creating the ultimate experience.
“We’ve already achieved huge success in the number of people who have applied for hospitality roles through our website, and through the support we’ve achieved from our inspiring and generous backers.
“However, our work is not done and with further sector-wide support and investment, we’re certain that we can spread the word about this powerful campaign and find more of the exceptional people that make the hospitality industry so special.”