200 jobs available in Accor kitchens as summer recovery booms

A year after the UK Government launched Eat Out to Help Out the UK hospitality sector is in full revival mode. As Brits, and now international tourists, flock to hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars across the UK, the industry is facing a staff shortage, which threatens the sector’s recovery.

In the UK, Accor has created more than 400 roles across the group’s hotel portfolio. Around half of the vacancies are in the kitchen brigades, equating to 200 available chef and kitchen jobs.

Duncan O’Rourke, CEO Accor Northern Europe, said, “Hospitality is a career of people, passion, creativity, experience and talent. It is a sector responsible for crafting special moments that people the country and world over have longed for in the last 18 months. It’s a sector that brings joy and does it with heart. It is also a sector with a legacy reputation issue that is outdated.

'The camaraderie, talent and passion that effuses from the kitchens of hotels and restaurants is incredible, it is something I am hugely proud to be a part of and to see every day in our kitchens. There is talent in every kitchen, from the café, bars and restaurants to the 3 star Michelin chefs. Yes it is hard work, but so is any job that is rewarding.

'Across the UK today there are opportunities to be part of the industry as it rebuilds, to craft experience that delight hundreds and thousands of guests and diners every day.”

With thousands of jobs available in the sector today, Accor and leading chefs share why hospitality is so special.

Guillaume Gillan, Executive Head Chef, Bokan at Novotel London Canary Wharf, (pictured), said, 'I wanted to be a chef since I was very little. My two grandfathers inspired me – one was a baker and the other a chef, so I just wanted to follow their lead and I was always passionate about it. I started in a fine dining restaurant working for Alain Ducasse. It was my first job and very quickly you learn, you learn why you’re here and you get the passion.

'Today my dream is to get a Michelin star in Bokan and everyday I have my team with me and people are around me to support me. It is not easy to work in a kitchen everyday but with the passion and with the team around everyone it’s a special place, supportive and loving and you just push and you keep going.

'I would say that you have to be passionate about it, you have to like to eat - I think something that is very important for a chef and for someone that is thinking about working as a waiter or as part of restaurant life. You need to like to eat, go out in a restaurant to try things, and then if you feel, it just go. Just go. That’s it.'

Anthony Demetre, Wild Honey St James at Sofitel London St James, said, 'I started my culinary career quite late by chef standards. My original plan was to join the Royal Navy to train as a naval pilot, however this was cut short due to a recurring knee problem from my school days.

'Inspired by my grandmother, who was a great home cook, I chose hospitality and cooking. My first kitchen job was as a chef de partie at Lucknam Park (near Bath) when I was 19 years old.

'I have been so fortunate to work with some truly great chefs throughout my career - including Gary Rhodes and Bruno Loubet, and I have met and collaborated with many others who have remained steadfast friends, including Claude Bosi and Gordon Ramsay. We all share our experiences and support each other. It’s a great network.

'There are so many strands to the hospitality industry - it is both creative and sociable, but also demanding at the same time as being rewarding.

'Whether as a chef in the kitchen, or front-of-house meeting customers every day, it’s a wonderful business and there is great scope for career growth through the ranks if you are diligent, passionate and have an interest in learning about food, wine and general hospitality.

'Seasonal food is my absolute passion - I love the changes in ingredients throughout the year, and I incorporate them in my constantly evolving menus. It’s exciting to devise new dishes, based on classic recipes, and to get positive feedback from customers and colleagues.'

Fabrice Lasnon, Executive Chef at The Savoy, a Fairmont Managed Hotel, said, 'I’ve been a chef for over 30 years; it’s been my life since I was a young man growing up in Normandy. I trained close to my home, first in classical French cuisine and went on to work in wonderful Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, where I was learning every day on the job.

'Being a chef gives you the chance to travel all over the world and meet some extraordinary people. I went on to work in New Orleans, learning all about Creole cooking as well as Haute Cuisine – and where I met my wife.

'After that I spent three years in London before taking roles in Madeira and Cairo, where I enjoyed learning about Middle Eastern cooking, which meant I could showcase new skills and lead the kitchen team for the relaunch of La Mamounia in Marrakech. This led to roles in Turkey, Dubai and Hong Kong, before I came to The Savoy in 2018.

'It’s an amazing job to lead the team at such a prestigious, historic hotel and it combines so many skills – creativity and visual artistry, but also people and budget management. Nothing stands still in our world; we are constantly learning, experimenting and dealing with new challenges.

'You are surrounded by like-minded people and there’s a tremendous camaraderie – it’s an inspiring and exciting life. Hard work at times, yes, but with so many varied types of rewards, from your guests appreciation and industry recognition to the knowledge that you are fostering new talent and the stars of the future.'

Craig Burrows, Executive Head Chef, GA KingsX at Pullman London St Pancras, said, 'I was 11 when I got my first real taste of hospitality. My uncle was a chef and he forced me into it! He was my inspiration and I thought it was magical the way food was created. So from 16 I become a chef and pushed on, and from then just really wanted to be the best I could be as a chef, and try to work with the best chefs, try to learn as much as possible.

'I still learn every day, I don’t stop learning, which is a great thing. I’m going to try and impart that on the chefs I bring through and trying to just train as much as possible with them. I just enjoy cooking and that’s the reason I become a chef from such a young age, from the age of 11. And so I try and keep that 11 year old with me, to remember how I felt then and my passion and every day I keep on trying to improve as a chef and never stop.

'My advice is to just make sure you’re passionate, committed and hardworking, and the rest will come together. You need the core a skills, which can be taught, and a willingness to learn, and you’ll learn everything you need to know. People will invest time in you if they can see commitment, if they can see passion, hunger. If you keep that passion and hunger you can go as far as you want.

'Every day my team and I try and be better than the day before. We are a team, a unit that all pull together. That’s what inspires me. To see growth within the team and the food that you create. You can always do better the next day, and always keep on progressing. That’s what inspires me – to always be better.'