The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has asserted that as many as 5000 chefs are required by next year to fill vacancies as the country's chef shortage continues to put a huge strain on its members.
The RAI said an investment in training is urgently needed and the organisation is calling upon Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, to re-establish CERT, the former State Tourism Training Agency, which offered training courses for both individuals who wished to pursue a career in the field of food preparation and industry employees who wanted to develop new skills before being abolished in 2003.
RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins stated, "The hospitality and tourism industry is one of our most valuable assets. It is ludicrous that there are no training colleges for our industry in this country, adding that, "some restaurants across the country are being forced to close on Mondays and Tuesdays due to the shortage of chefs".
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The RAI says that despite 1,800 chefs currently qualifying each year from certified culinary training programmes, there remains an immediate deficit of 5,000 chef trainees annually and recommends investment in management and the establishment of ten new chef training centres nationally.
Cummins commented, "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 the success of the tourism industry’s recovery."