Edinburgh restaurant boom causing chef shortage

Award-winning TV chef Mark Greenaway is struggling to fill jobs in his kitchen and putting is it down to the recent restaurant boom in the Capital.

Monday, 9th July 2018, 3:14 pm
Updated Monday, 9th July 2018, 3:50 pm
Mark Greenway has warned there is a chef shortage
Mark Greenway has warned there is a chef shortage

A chef de partie and a junior sous chef are being sought for his 3 AA Rosette restaurant but the positions have been vacant for more than a month – which he claims hasn’t been helped by the arrival of English chains, like The Ivy and Hawksmoor, that have crossed the border in the last 18 months.

He said: “It’s a nationwide problem that’s been going on for some years but with the new super-restaurants being opened in Edinburgh the industry is growing so fast that it can’t keep up with demand.

“These restaurants – that are open seven days and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – have huge cover numbers that demand a huge staff and all of these chefs, would have once gone to work with small independents.”

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The proprietor of Restaurant Mark Greenaway on North Castle Street tweeted a plea for help to his 116,000 followers. He wrote: “I have been searching for a chef de partie or a junior sous chef now for well over a month and very little applicants.”

But it’s not a shortage of people wanting to be chefs, Mark said, as college courses are still “bursting at the seams”.

He said: “There are more restaurants now than there ever has been and that has an impact.

“I love the idea of the restaurants together as a centre for tourists and customers to go but it’s happened too quickly.”

He has received applications for the jobs but only six from people resident in the UK, the other candidates have been based in the Middle East and don’t have visas to reside and work in Scotland – and sorting out the paperwork would take too long for it to be a viable option for Mark.

“Sorting out visas takes time”, he said. “And now everyone is staffing up for August and the Edinburgh Festival.”

The industry changing is no bad thing, according to Mark, as punishing work schedules for chefs are now a thing of the past. He said: “Some things had to change and thankfully they have. But these super-restaurants are having an affect on problems that were already there. It’s all happening so quickly that small restaurants can’t compete.”

Mark is convinced hospitality is heading for a transformation in the next five or ten years. He said: “There might be few independent restaurants left. Look what happened on the High Street when the supermarkers took over. There are still fishmarkets and butchers but they are few and far between.”