My Hospitality World, a two-week programme, will offer a series of open-door events in a bid to address the industry’s growing skills gap and recruitment challenge.
Activities which begins on 25 February will include a Flambé Masterclass, an Apprenticeship Taster evening, and a dedicated event in support of International Women’s Day on 8 March to inspire more young women to become professional chefs.
Students from London South East College will work alongside the head chef at D&D London’s Blueprint Café, Joseph Alibina, designing, cooking and serving a ticketed three-course lunch to the public to get a feel for restaurant service.
Carol Cairnes, head of talent for the restaurant group, which owns and operates 41 restaurants and a hotel, stressed the importance of investing time in young people because these were the largest talent pool for the group.
“A career in hospitality is not confined to front of house or kitchen staff – our industry provides opportunities in a wide range of roles including project management, finance, marketing and events, HR and maintenance.”
The group has developed a schedule of tailored work experience for year 10 and 12 pupils in association with charity Inspire and it has welcomed more than 200 young people into its kitchens on work experience over the past three years.
D&D London chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena says: “Given the current uncertain political climate in the UK, it’s crucial to our future that we have plenty of young talent eager to come into hospitality.
“Working in restaurants is viewed by many people as not being an occupation to aspire to and we want to change that. Working in restaurants can be highly rewarding and provide a lifelong career - we’re hoping to demonstrate that with My Hospitality World.”