Aldo Zilli's Chef Factor recruitment drive to find a kitchen brigade for his forthcoming Brighton restaurant "didn't go that well", the celebrity chef has revealed.
In an exclusive interview with Caterersearch, the Italian chef-restaurateur admitted that while the turnout for the event was successful, the quality of the applicants "wasn't up to much".
Zilli yesterday invited chefs with a background in Italian cooking to congregate in front of his restaurant, which is housed in the MyHotel on Brighton's Jubilee Square.
A group of 20 competed in what Zilli branded the Chef Factor, a cook off in which they were presented with a bag of secret ingredients and expected to prepare a pasta dish.
While Zilli had hoped to recruit up to four chefs through the event, he only managed to find one winner, 18-year-old Lewis Birch, who is a recent food preperation and cooking graduate from Brighton City College.
"The winner is an unemployed youngster, who will join the kitchen as a trainee chef," Zilli said. "I'm also going to send him to my cookery school in Abruzzo, Italy."
However, Zilli added that finding good chefs in Brighton had been really hard work.
"It's been a real struggle to find good chefs in Brighton and I'm really surprised at how difficult the whole process has been.
The restaurant opens on 21 June and I'm going to have be in the kitchen along with my chefs from London to get things off the ground."
By Kerstin Kühn
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