Great British Menu star Danny Gill launches new initiative, ‘Pop-ups for Schools’
In response to the industry’s skills shortage, the two Lincolnshire-based Brown’s Pie Shop chefs were thinking of ways to bolster catering recruitment when “Will came up with the idea of a pop-up restaurant, in a school, where young children could get to prep with chefs, cook with chefs, be chefs, and then go front of house to serve the food to paying customers,” Gill said.
“We wanted to get kids out of their comfort zone, to show them what real work is and how exciting it can be working in a restaurant. It’s about getting the word out that this industry is not just something to do in the holidays, it’s a legitimate career.”
Following their first Pop-ups for Schools event at North Kesteven school, from which Gill was expelled aged 16, where they worked with twelve 15-year-old students for the day, the duo received plenty of encouragement and even backing from several companies, including the warewasher specialist brand, Winterhalter.
Managing director Stephen Kinkead commented: “It ties in perfectly with what we (Winterhalter) are doing as part of the KP of the Year competition. We were happy to help Danny and Will and we’d be happy to keep helping if they can get Pop-ups for Schools up and running.”
When asked where he sees Pop-ups for Schools headed, Gill responded: “Chefs tend to be passionate about kitchens, food and the whole industry. That’s why they may well be willing to take the time to run pop-ups in their local schools. If we can get a few like-minded chefs to join in, then hopefully the idea will snowball and we’ll have a real recruitment drive on our hands.
“We have to encourage people to join the industry. Lincolnshire is the second biggest county in England and it’s at an all-time low in terms of students going to catering college. Where’s the next generation of chefs, waiters, food and beverage managers, sommeliers and all the others we need coming from?
“If you can show younger kids what it’s really like to work in a kitchen or front of house, you can attract them into the industry.”
To find out more about the initiative, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Danny and Will via the www.brownspieshop.co.uk