'Entitled Millennials' Help Create Chef Shortage

They'd rather try to open their own place than work their way up: Fortune
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2015 4:51 PM CDT
'Entitled Millennials' Help Create Chef Shortage
"Entitled millennials" want it all, and they want it now, some industry experts say.   (Shutterstock)

As the economy continues to revitalize, more restaurants are opening—but according to eatery owners who talked to Fortune, there aren't enough chefs to man the kitchens. "[A few years ago], if I had a position open in the kitchen, I might have 12 résumés, call in three or four to [try out] … and make a decision," says the owner of a NYC restaurant. "Now it's the other way around; there's one cook and 12 restaurants." And reasons for the white-hat shortage don't just include this openings boom: The industry also has to deal with what Fortune calls "entitled millennials"—young chefs trying to open their own places. "They all want to be Anthony Bourdain," says a Boston restaurateur. "The television era has warped the perception of how much work it takes to get from where they are to where [Bourdain] is."

It also doesn't help that culinary school students often graduate with hefty debt and low starting salaries, leading them to turn to resorts, chains, and other cash-flush institutions that offer higher pay. In fact, a recent Eater article entitled "Three Charts That Show Why Culinary School Is Not Worth It" documents exactly that, showing how culinary school costs are on par with tuition at pricey four-year private colleges, as well as how getting a culinary arts degree doesn't really lead to a much higher salary than if a chef started out in a restaurant after high school. Eateries are getting creative in efforts to attract up-and-coming chefs by paying part of their workers' student loans every month, offering stock ownership, and paying more, per Fortune. (Restaurant reservations are also falling by the wayside.)

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