What a nightmare: TV cookery shows blamed for skills shortage

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

What a nightmare: TV cookery shows blamed for skills shortage

Related tags: Great british bake, Great british menu, Gordon ramsay

TV cookery shows such as Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares are putting people off a career as a chef, according to new research.

Findings from hospitality jobs board Caterer.com show that, rather than glamourising the life of a chef, the high pressure environment and stress portrayed in kitchens on popular TV cookery shows is turning people off entering the hospitality industry.

Its research of 2,006 people found that 62% of respondents say they wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure of working in a professional kitchen.

The job site also says that popular cooking competitions such as MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off (GBBO), where contestants battle each week to stay in the contest, make would-be cooks feel inadequate and are a deterrent to pursuing a role in a professional kitchen. According to its research, 46% of Brits claim watching cookery shows puts them off a career as a professional chef and 63% of adults wouldn’t consider a role in the hospitality industry.

“Not only are such shows putting people off considering a career in the sector, they also make them question their own culinary skills, feeling they are just not good enough and so wouldn’t even consider looking at roles that require them to turn their hand to it,” says Caterer.com.

“The hyped-up tension and contestants beating the clock by seconds offers great TV, but it isn’t accurate at showcasing what a day-to-day role in a leading kitchen is really like. It’s this intense pressure which is putting Brits off considering a role in hospitality.”

At a time when the industry is facing a skills shortage, the negative reaction to working in the industry that cooking programmes elicit is a concern, says Caterer.com’s Neil Pattison.

“Whilst plenty of us enjoy sitting down to the latest episode of GBBO, it’s important to remember these shows are edited for maximum entertainment - which includes focusing on heightened bursts of pressure and stress,” he says.

“This isn’t an accurate reflection of the industry as a whole, which whilst certainly busy and often demanding, offers so much more, including career development, variety of experience and positive and vibrant teams.” 

“Hospitality is a fantastic, personable industry and the pressure depicted in these reality TV cooking shows should not lead people to think they can’t handle the pressure of working within it.”

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