The Vineyard is hosting a complimentary lunch in the hope of attracting new chefs

The  Staff Canteen

The Vineyard in Newbury is trialling a new way of recruiting chefs, inviting potential candidates for a complimentary, no strings attached lunch to give them a glimpse of what they do, in the hope that they might then apply for a job

The event, which is set at the five-star Berkshire hotel on Monday 9th May, is opening its doors to anyone interested in joining their kitchen team. Candidates don't need any experience.

In an interview with The Staff Canteen, head chef Tom Scade explained: “If you've got the right attitude and enthusiasm, then you're more than welcome. The only criteria is that you want to be a chef.”

As well as the free lunch, which includes canapés and complimentary Champagne, attendees are invited to talk to the kitchen staff, and will be given a tour of the whole of the five-star hotel and wine cellar.

Staffing has been an issue throughout industry since coming out of lockdown, and, as general manager Paul Shanahan explained, they are fortunate to have a strong core team. "We've not felt the effects as dramatically as others have had," he said.

Despite this privileged position, he knows not to take it for granted. “We're okay at this moment in time, but you're only a few resignations away from a crisis.”

Meet the team

As well as the opportunity to taste the food, the lunch is intended to give people a first-hand account of what the work environment is like at The Vineyard, as the existing team of chefs will also be joining in.

To Paul's mind, this is really an opportunity to show off the Vineyard's greatest asset: their people. “We've got a great team and a lot have been here for many years.”

“There's a lot of positives in what we do, and I think it's great if you hear it from the people that work here rather than the managers telling them what goes on.”

By talking to the team, it can also help lessen the fear or pressure attached to working at a five-star hotel: it allows people to get a sense of what the place is like and to see that the people working there aren’t any different from the average person.

What are they hoping to get from it?

While the hope is that the event is to get more people into their kitchen, Paul and Tom know that it might not happen. Paul said: "At best, hopefully, we're able to recruit a few chefs. At worst we've networked with some great individuals and had them come and see The Vineyard and, hopefully, we can keep that network going."

While they are not sure whether they will hold more than one such event, its success will define whether they do, not just for chefs but for other roles, too. 

If you would like to attend, email [email protected] your CV.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th April 2022

The Vineyard is hosting a complimentary lunch in the hope of attracting new chefs