But here we are, chefs. Up to our crotches in Lockdown 3, with an ever rising tide of confusing news headlines and information. Hospitality could open in 2 weeks or 2 months. Loads more restrictions or no restrictions? For now, we just pace around. Warming up like 100 meter sprinters in an olympic final. One eye on the starter block, one eye on the finish line. Praying that no one makes another false start.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to speak with a few chefs and people from the industry. Some who are fortunate enough to still have work, some who have not. Many have fallen by the wayside as the pubs, restaurants and hotels have closed their, usually well oiled revolving door, for the last time. My heart goes out to these kings and queens of the hospitality sector who have been forced to find alternative means of income. From stacking shelves in the supermarket to delivering for Amazon and Deliveroo. I feel even more pain in my heart to those who changed their jobs just prior to the pandemic. Now they are in limbo. No employer, no income, and no protection. That is an issue which is bigger than hospitality.
There does seem to be an element of positivity form a large percentage of the people who i have spoken with. The realisation that once we return to some form of normality, the hospitality sector will flourish again. Professionals across this sector will be able to choose how and where they work. Some have started their own businesses on their own during lockdown. Some have discovered new passions which they may pursue. Some have had a chance to find clarity and maybe realised that they don’t need the #Cheflife as much as they thought.
Every single one of us has grown more than we ever thought we’d need to. We have all been forced to evolve on a personal and professional level. No one could have predicted the impact that this global catastrophe has had on us.
It is down to us to start thinking about how we want to emerge from this pandemic. As individuals and as a collective. We needed a shake up and we got it. We must now decide whether we want to return to form. As an industry which has seen some of its employees as disposable. We need to remember where we were at just before this Coronavirus started. Remember the work we were doing for mental health. Remember the people and businesses which didn't make it though. Remember the staff who are risking infection to keep the business alive.
We still have a way to go. We hope that time will favor us. Let's hope that we, as a society, learn from this, and put systems in place. So that the generations that come after us NEVER have to go through a global pandemic ever again.