A lack of trained cooks

July 2, 2018 | Luxembourg’s business sectors | Claude François

Luxembourg lacks professionally trained cooks – and they are in high demand!

Today we highlight the field of gastronomy in our series on the different professions in the Horesca sectors. François Koepp, the general secretary of Horesca, states, “There are simply not enough well-trained cooks!”

Horesca unites all sectors of the hotel industry, the restaurant trade, and the coffee shops, the “Cafetiers”. Nearly 3,000 companies are active in the various sectors. They generate between 6.5 and 7 percent of the gross social product and employ 20,000 people – the suppliers and wholesale not included.

Always welcome

In the restaurant and catering sector, demand is very high, but the number of positions offered is much bigger! There are simply not enough well-trained cooks. Horesca President François Koepp states, “Clearly, the industry has problem! Many people who work in restaurant kitchens are not trained chefs. Although I don’t mean to say that among these cooks there are not also some really talented people that cook properly. What is certain, however, is that people who do not know what a sauce espagnole is or how to prepare a béarnaise sauce do not have the necessary training.” It can’t be denied that there is a lack of trained cooks in Luxembourg and that they are in urgent demand.

The demands on the staff vary according to the orientation and the category of establishments.

One restaurant is not another restaurant: The demands on the staff vary according to the orientation and the category of establishments. Good, trained staff is always welcome – especially in haute cuisine. For top restaurants, you need good cooks with many years of experience and a very solid basic education. “You can invent a sauce, but there are still bases that one must master. This basic knowledge must be learned and tested. The best way to achieve the necessary knowledge and expertise is to work in different countries or parts of the world. That’s when you progress from being a cook to being a chef!”

Like an orchestra of chefs

In other areas of the restaurant industry, there is also a lack of competent professional staff. This applies, for example, to the service, which includes numerous positions: sommelier, head waiter, station waiter, and other positions up to the “commis”, the training waiter. “There is a huge gap to be filled here,” regrets the general secretary of Horesca.

Just as the chef leads the orchestra in the kitchen, the maître d'hôtel, the head waiter, does the same thing in the dining hall. He is the link between the kitchen and the guests. His work is versatile: He coordinates the orders and the service and supervises the service.

Sommeliers are particularly indispensable in restaurants of a certain level. They have the task of offering the right wines for the different dishes. Real sommeliers are rare – there are almost none on the market, although there is a continuous demand for them. On top of that, a sommelier is also paid pretty well. It is very important that the interaction between the kitchen brigade and the team in the restaurant works well. “This applies to every other department as well,” adds François Koepp. “We must also recognise the work of those who perform simpler but equally important tasks. A watch only works when all the gears mesh, from the smallest to the largest gear. It’s the same in an enterprise, from the dishwashing boy up to the head chef or director.”

“ Everything must fit perfectly, otherwise the operation does not function.”

François Koepp - general secretary of Horesca

One thing is certain: The industry needs a massive new, good workforce. There are lots of opportunities for anyone who decides for a profession in the gastronomy sector, is aware of the specific challenges, and has a lot of dedication and passion.

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