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Emily Watkins: standard of training for chefs "no good"
“Part of the problem is the training is no good. 15 to 20 years ago they would get a pig in and butcher it," she said.
"Now they don’t do anything – these chefs turn up with an NVQ saying they can make an avocado sandwich.” Watkins came to admire the European catering secondary school system when working in Italy in the past.
Changing attitudes
“I don’t know what percentage it is of women in the industry but it’s got to be very small,” she added.
The chef, who recently appeared as a judge on BBC2's Great British Menu, said the culinary qualification was
not appropriately challenging.
She said: “Most of the chefs I knew did it alongside the normal education syllabus – they learn business, waiting
and all aspects of catering, cheffing and then in their last year they specialise in which sectors they enjoy the
The attitude of the public towards hospitality professionals was much more favourable in Europe, she added. “It’s
a perfectly normal industry, but here it’s seen as a slightly unique industry in its own bubble – even though the
concept of being a chef has changed, it hasn’t filtered through the ranks.”
Despite changing attitudes towards the trade, Watkins said she did not know why there seemed to be so few
female professional chefs.
"If the government were to fund an advertising campaign or a TV programme around women in the kitchen, that
could change the attitude.”
W atkins:
These chefs turn up with an NVQ saying they can make an avocado sandwich
She said: “I’ve got an addiction to being in in the kitchen. You love it or you hate it and maybe there just aren’t
enough women out there who want to do it.
“It’s a weird thing being a chef, you’ve got to be so totally mad about it that you can throw yourself into it
regardless of what’s going on, whether you’re male or female doesn’t matter.”
Additional pressure
Crimson Edge Public Relations Yellow News
The Publican Morning Advertiser (Web)
10 September 2015
The chef said pubs faced additional pressure because some members of the public did not feel comfortable
paying for high quality food in a pub environment.
She said: “It’s hard for us to charge our margins without being called stupidly expensive because people think ‘I’m
eating in a pub so why am I paying £20 for a main course?

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