Claude Bosi is the latest chef to cut working hours to tackle chef shortage

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th January 2016

From February 1, Claude Bosi's two Michelin-starred Hibiscus restaurant will drop two mid week lunch services in order to increase consistency, allow chefs a better work life balance, create more time to train young chefs coming into the kitchen and ultimately address the skilled chef shortage situation. claude-bosi2 low res

He is not the first chef to change his restaurant's working hours and Claude Bosi hopes he won't be the last. But as one of the top chefs in the UK is it down to him and his peers to set an example and is he right when he says it's a skills shortage as not a chef shortage?

"I think somebody has to start," he explained. "I know Sat Bains started, Michel Roux Jr started - we just have to listen to what people want. There's not a shortage of staff, there are plenty of restaurants opening and they are getting staff from somewhere, I'd say it's a shortage of staff moving into our style of restaurant.

"I know when I employ a chef de partie, my head chef or my sous chef have to spend more time with them to make sure we get a top chef de partie. By opening five days a week and cutting lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday; I'm there every day, my head and sous chef are there all the time so we have more time to show them the skills." He added: "They need to learn classics - what TV, books do, it has made people sometimes want to be more famous than cook. They forget who we are, we are just putting food on the plate as best we can - it's not rock and roll, plenty of other jobs are rock and roll, ours isn't it is a hard job and as soon as people start thinking they are rock and roll that's where the issue is. "Ask a young chef to make a proper chicken stock and see what you get at the end - could be quite interesting!" Deciding to close for lunch on a Tuesday and Wednesday wasn't an easy decision but Claude believes it has little impact on income when you look at the bottom line.claude quote 2

He said: "The reason I wanted to do this is because I was always looking for chefs, I need 15 to be able to open five days and I didn't always have enough so I found myself employing chefs who were not good. It's a happier environment now because we don't have to carry anybody. "It's been difficult to take this direction but for our restaurant we wanted one team and one game. Doing this allows us to have the same team all the time, I won't have stressed staff and I won't be carrying extra staff just for the sake of them being there to cover say holidays. "It will make everything more precise and we are also changing to a tasting menu only on an evening which will change the whole ball game of the company." A good work/life balance is a topic which comes up time and time again in an industry known for working well over the average amount of hours a week compared to other occupations. But it's an industry which is changing and as Claude has already said it's starting to 'listening to what people want'. He said: "It's true, you need to balance the quality of life. I know that 25 years ago in Paris, you had to work 10/11 shifts a week, a hundred hours a week - people don't want to do it anymore and i don't want to do it myself. You need to have this balance if you want consistency and quality. Claude Bosi by Valerie Paquette 2014 low res"Unfortunately there are less and less chefs wanting to work in our style of restaurant because they think it's hard. But you know what? In the big wide world you do have to work hard! It's hard in any occupation." He added: "This is a good decision but it was just having the balls to do it! We want to concentrate on consistency - as a customer there is nothing worse than coming to a restaurant and seeing the staff change all the time.

By Cara Pilkington

@canteencara

>>> We want to know what you think. What has your restaurant done to tackle the skilled chef shortage? Comment below or email cara@thestaffcanteen.com

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th January 2016

Claude Bosi is the latest chef to cut working hours to tackle chef shortage