A chef shortage in Northern Ireland's hospitality industry is reaching "critical point" according to the president of Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.
Despite the success of Michelin-starred Eipic and Ox in Belfast, Ciaran O'Neill said at the Hospitality Exchange conference that the industry "is desperately in need of chefs" and that the shortage is preventing expansion opportunities for businesses, reports Irishnews.com. One consequence of the shortage, he said, is that chefs are moving up the ladder too quickly and not getting the proper skills training to sustain a career.
"The pressure on all elements of the hospitality sector has ramped up over the last 18 months. Yes, we’ve had many new restaurants and there has also been a growth in the number of pubs now serving food and new hotels are opening. But it’s clear there are simply not enough people entering the industry or choosing it as a career option," said O'Neill.
O'Neill, who runs the 30-bedroom Bishop's Gate Hotel in Derry and has previously trained as a chef, added that the industry suffers from "an image issue" that has made it "increasingly difficult to attract recruits in the numbers required to fill vacancies within hotels".