A number of high-profile chefs in the UK have banned swearing in their kitchens amid fears that bullying and intimidation is putting young people off joining the industry.
“Bullying is definitely not the way forward,” said Ryan Simpson, head chef at Orwell’s in Henley-on-Thames. “We try to stay away from swearing completely – you don’t get the best out of your kitchen by shouting and swearing. If you cook, you cook for the love of it. You might get the star of the future who is put off because there is the wrong picture painted of our industry. They might not become a chef or join the kitchen.”
The stereotype of the “shouty chef” has been in large part accelerated by the popularity of shows like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, but chefs are worried that while the perception doesn’t match the reality, young people may not see it that way.
“It’s a different attitude in kitchens than there used to be,” explained Theo Randall, head chef at the Intercontinental. “People don’t do the same kind of hours that they used to do. During those hours you try to get as much out of the chefs as you can get – there’s less of the screaming and shouting as chefs will just walk out. People are a lot nicer now than they used to be as they know there’s such a demand for chefs these days they can go somewhere else.”
“So many restaurants have opened, there are so many openings now all the time – you need to build your own team and bring them on and make sure they stay.”