Don’t get me wrong, I welcome the street food culture, it’s exciting and has brought new energy into our industry and I believe that it complements rather than detracts from the traditional restaurant scene. That said, with street food being hip right now, I worry that young people are choosing to follow a fashion rather than to train towards having a craft. What we could end up with is a generation of chefs with skills that are not transferable outside of the niche field that they work.
In my day, apprentices worked under masters who were highly trained, long standing chefs. I was trained under Master Chefs in both Germany and Switzerland, it was tough and a steep learning curve but it was the best training I could have wished for straight out of college. This has been happening since Medieval times and it’s a great system.
Unfortunately these days chefs with old fashioned work ethics and the necessary skills are difficult to come by. It’s great to celebrate the dynamic culinary scene that we have, but if we want to build the UK’s reputation for great cooking we need to be seriously thinking about the future of training.