The Restaurants Association of Ireland has called on the Government to tackle the "crisis" shortage of chefs in Ireland, as 5,000 new chefs are required by 2016 to fill current vacancies.
RAI chief Adrian Cummins has asked the Minister for Education to re-establish CERT, the former State Tourism Training Agency, as some restaurants are being forced to close midweek due to a lack of trained staff.
Speaking about the need for State training, Cummins said: "It is interesting to note that the other large industries in Ireland such as agriculture and fishing have dedicated training centres around the country. The hospitality and tourism industry is one of our most valuable assets. It is ludicrous that there are no training colleges for our industry."
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A new chef training course was launched this year by the School of Food initiative in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, however Cummins stated that the current measures don't go far enough to meet demands.
Currently 1800 chefs qualify each year from certified culinary training programmes, way short of the 5,000 needed. The RAI is recommending investment in management and the establishment of 10 new chef training centres nationally.
Cummins added: “We want to be able to market Ireland as a centre of food excellence, a true culinary experience with world-class chefs leading the way. Instead, we are finding ourselves in a position where we have a severe shortage of chefs in Ireland which is now threatening growth and expansion in the restaurant sector.”
Established in 1963, CERT was responsible for providing a trained workforce for the hotel, catering and tourism industry until its abolishment in 2003.