Guild alerts industry on ‘chefs drain’

Guild alerts industry on ‘chefs drain’

Gerard Mendis

“Training new chefs and developing incumbent chefs are vital for the
sustainability of the culinary sector of our country which thrives on
tourism”, said President of the Chefs Guild of Lanka, Ranjit Morugama at
a press conference held at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo.

The confab marked the launch of Culinary Art 2011, Sri Lanka’s
biggest food and trade exhibition which will be held for the 14th time
this year, from July 29 to August 1 at the BMICH.

Unilever Food solutions, Fonterra Brands Lanka Private Ltd and
Edinborough Pvt. Ltd will be the exhibitions’ Platinum, Diamond and Gold
sponsors. For the first time, the competition will be open to those
outside the hospitality industry on a limited basis to uplift the
general culinary standards of the country.

“We need to bridge the standards gap between local hotels and
international hotels.

We have come a long way over the years but the country’s stability is
looking positive than ever and this is the ideal period to showcase and
promote Sri Lankan culinaries to the international market which has a
direct impact on the number of tourists who want to visit the country”
Morugama said.

Chairman of the organising committee Gerard Mendis said, that over
1000 chefs participated in last year’s competition in over 1500
categories and the show which started off on a minor scale way back in
1988 has since grown into the largest food and hotel show. “We are
trying very hard to retain the chef population of the country.

We have seen a large number of chefs leaving the country and we need
to reverse this situation.

Our chefs are doing extremely well all over the world after leaving
Sri Lanka because of less attractive remuneration here and so, it is
important that the hotels reconsider their overall packages to ensure
that the chefs-drain comes to a halt or is reduced to a bare minimum”,
he said.

“We are also discussing extensively of the possibility of starting
degree programs in culinary art.

This will help us streamline the sector a tad better and make the
most out of their expertise and contribute to the country’s booming
tourism industry and the economy as a whole.

Our hotel schools churn out very talented chefs but a degree program
will ensure that we come in par with international standards of culinary

The hotels must also devise expansion plans where we can accommodate
international corporate conferences which has a large headcount.


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