Antidote struggling with shortage of London chefs

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Michael Hazlewood was appointed head chef at Antidote at the start of August
Michael Hazlewood was appointed head chef at Antidote at the start of August

Related tags: Chef

Antidote, the Carnaby Street restaurant and wine bar overseen by Hedone chef patron Mikael Jonsson, is the latest venue to be hit by recruitment challenges caused by a shortage of skilled chefs in London.

Former Toasted head chef Michael Hazlewood, who took over the kitchen following the departure of Chris Johns in August, told BigHospitality that while the restaurant generally had no issue recruiting staff a shortage of applicants for high level vacancies was proving difficult.

He said: “It’s been a bit tough, but it’s still early days.

“There’s one chef that is already leaving and I’ve just hired one more, but I need about four more chefs to be honest – so it’s a little bit scary.

“I think some people resigned before Chris left and [the restaurant] was already short staffed as it is. It’s just really hard to find people.”

According to a report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills released this year​ businesses struggle to fill nearly half of all skilled chef vacancies, with the figure rising to 66 per cent in London.


Hazlewood explained that taking on Antidote's head chef role had been a natural fit, with his vision for the restaurant aligning with that of the owners.

While the chef is set to put his own spin on the menu – a simple, minimalist approach focusing on produce - he is keen to avoid changing too much and alienating regular customers.

“It’s always hard when things dramatically change but I would like to do a few more small plates,” he said.

“It’s a work in progress and it always will be, [at Antidote] we are always looking to make changes and improve.” 

Related topics: People, Restaurants

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