Chef Tom Kerridge has said the stereotype that working in hospitality means long hours and having no social life could not be “further from the truth”.

Speaking on the Hospitality Rising podcast, he called for more industry leaders to challenge negative perceptions of the sector.

Kerridge said: “In hospitality your social life is the best, it’s the most connected. You have routes into different restaurant spaces, bars, pubs, and clubs. I was so lucky that as an 18-year-old this vocation grabbed me, you know the excitement of it, and I wanted it to be a part of my life. I’ve been in it for well over 30 years now and the beautiful thing about hospitality is that you can do and see so many different things, you have so many different opportunities put in front of you and it’s not just about Michelin stars.”

Kerridge’s hospitality portfolio includes the two-Michelin-starred Hand and Flowers pub and the Michelin-starred Coach pub in Marlow, and Kerridge’s Bar and Grill at the Corinthia hotel in London.

The chef is the latest high-profile figure to lend their support to Hospitality Rising, a national recruitment campaign aimed at attracting more young people into the industry.

He said that although many operators were struggling with staff shortages, the sector would always survive if people worked together to solve the crisis.

“The industry is such a robust, strong, fluid and creative industry that it bounces back constantly – hospitality will always be here,” Kerridge added.

“If every single hospitality business went bust tomorrow and shut, next week, somebody else would reopen them, because we all want to go out and eat, we all want to go out and drink, we all want to have fun, we all want to connect with human beings. Hospitality will always be there so it’s so important that as an industry, that we’re connected now, that we’re strong and solid. That means that where it is a difficult time, we build this safety net around each other to be able to build from and come through the other side.”

The Hospitality Rising campaign already has the backing of companies including Whitbread, Pret A Manger, Welcome Break, Hilton, Soho House, Prezzo, Revolution Bars, Parkdean Resorts, and Claridge’s.

It received over 7000 applications within two days of launching its jobs board last month.

The initiative is asking backers to pledge £10 per employee to help it raise £5m funding to launch a ‘government-sized’ recruitment campaign. It has so far raised around £850,000.

Mark McCulloch, founder of Hospitality Rising and campaign director, said: “We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received so far but to keep up momentum and drive the next stage of the campaign, we need more people to come on board and more companies to pledge financial support.”

(Content courtesy of Caterer and Hotelkeeper)

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