Chronic Chef Shortage is negatively Impacting The Restaurant Industry And Consumer Experience 

The current shortage of qualified chefs in Ireland is reaching chronic proportions and is not only negatively affecting countless Irish businesses- but also the consumer experience of many diners.  

According to some restaurateurs, the high turnover and severe lack of qualified chefs means maintaining the quality and consistency of their dishes is becoming virtually impossible.

Currently the RAI estimate there is a deficit of 7,000 chefs in the country. Training colleges are only producing 1,800 new chefs per year, while the industry needs at least 5,000 annually

While new apprenticeships have made some impact in alleviating the current situation – it is my understanding it is not sufficient to meet the current demand in the short to medium term. In fact, it is estimated that even with all the new apprentice and mentoring initiatives coming on stream now -it will be 3 to 4 years before they will have any impact at all on the current shortage.

Whilst I commend the recent measures by the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation which have approved and exemption of a number of chef grades from the ineligible categories of employment list ( ICEL) – this is resulting in only 610 extra permits. As such, in the short term, I am calling for chefs to be added to the Critical Skills employment permit list as a matter of urgency.

In the long term, I believe the re-establishment of the hospitality agency CERT would assist in addressing the enormous shortage by producing more graduates.

It is unacceptable that the deficit in chefs is not only negatively affecting countless Irish businesses’ but also the consumer experience, as such I am calling on the Minister to address this as a matter of priority.


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