Freelance chefs: we're in it for the money

31 August 2006
Freelance chefs: we're in it for the money

As the author of the original letter which appeared in your publication (Caterer, 3 August, page 16), I'm glad it has struck a chord with a number of people (mainly in recruitment) who know me as the "Norfolk in Chefs" freelance chef.

J Kerr has also raised the question "Why are F&B staff treated so poorly?" (Caterer, 17 August, page 15) and the answer is because it's expected.

I work to live. So far this tax year I've had more than 10 weeks' holiday and I aim for another five weeks before the year's out. I still earn £10,000 a year more than I did as a head chef, and I have all the tax benefits.

In all honesty I can't believe there aren't more of us. I discovered a few years ago that stars and rosettes are great, but do they give you a work-life balance? Unless you reach the very pinnacle of the industry, the answer is No. This is easy for me to say - I've been there and done it for
18 years, and now I'm cashing in on it.

In short, the industry will never change. To chase accolades your staff need to work the hours for it to be economically viable, because you as management aren't going to employ 14 chefs or waiters when 10 will do. As I said in my first letter, it's about money, and this is why I do what I do.
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