Diego Masciaga has emphasised the need for the hospitality industry to take care of the wellbeing of its employees to both attract and retain people.
Academician Dimitri Bellos, a hospitality consultant and former head of emotionalisation at the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, was discussing staff welfare with Royal Academy of Culinary Arts fellow Masciaga as part of an exclusive video series for The Caterer to mark the Academy's 40th anniversary in 2020.
Masciaga has a career spanning 40 years in hospitality, including 30 consecutive years managing the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, also in Bray.
"Being in hospitality is not a job, it's a real profession," said Masciaga. "At the moment we need a radical change… I'm not saying we need to go six hours a day, but we do need to change, because if we don't change, a lot of young people will not follow hospitality, which is a beautiful profession… We have to give them proper hours with proper wages."
"The industry that does so much to take care of others has to do more to take care of itself," agreed Bellos. "We need change it from the inside for the people that are there already but I think we need to do a lot of work on changing the perception. It's one thing making the changes but it's completely different making people aware that you've made the changes and how you start rebranding what hospitality is and what it stands for."
Masciaga emphasised the importance of teaching young people what hospitality can offer, such as being able to travel the world, learn languages and experience different cultures, as well as the progression opportunities.
"We need careers advisors, they have to teach those young people that they're not servants, they're doing a profession," he said.
Bellos added it was about creating a space where staff can "be themselves, where they feel safe to be themselves".
Masciaga added: "[Guests] want to go to a restaurant where they feel comfortable, where they see people happy."