Chefs’ shortage hits Birmingham's 'Balti'cuisine

Chefs’ shortage hits Birmingham`s `Balti`cuisine London: A shortage of chefs is threatening the existence of 'Balti', Birmingham's favourite dish that the city council is trying to trademark.

In a submission to the Home Office, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the city's Asian restaurant and catering firms were facing huge problems in recruiting suitably qualified and experienced staff, mainly head chefs.

"The city is not only the birthplace of the dish, but also home to the UK's premier community of Balti restaurants and businesses - The Balti Triangle", a spokesman of the Birmingham City Council said.

The hotel and restaurant sector is a key contributor to the economy of the West Midlands, where approximately 59,300 companies in this sector employ over half a million people.

The Chamber is lobbying with the Home office's Migration Advisory Committee to give more importance to the occupation of a chef. They are demanding that the job profile should be listed on the second National Occupation Shortage List, which would enable easier recruitment of qualified chefs from the Indian sub-continent.

"In Europe people train to be professional waiters but in the UK the sector is seen as a stepping stone between jobs. The hospitality sector must be seen as a valid arena to gain real work experience and to establish a professional career," said Kiran Virk, Policy Advisor at the Chamber.

Bureau Report