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Are TV cooking shows putting people off?

Stress portrayed on TV cookery shows leads to a decline in people entering the hospitality industry.


Our survey of  2,006 people in the UK revealed some interesting facts!! We are a nation of armchair chefs, unwilling to put the proof in the pudding by entering the hospitality industry!

The results from our survey indicate that the increasing skills shortage in the hospitality industry is partially due to popular cooking shows such as Master Chef and The Great British Bake Off.

63% of adults surveyed say they wouldn’t consider a role in hospitality – and for almost half (46%), tuning into TV cookery shows and the programmes is to blame. Not only are the shows putting people off considering a career in the sector, they also make one in 5 (19%) question their own culinary skills, feeling they are just not good enough and so wouldn’t even consider looking at roles which require them to turn their hand to it.

Whilst these shows may have us glued to our screens and filling our trollies in the baking aisle, the interest stops there, with 62% claiming they wouldn’t be able to cope with catering to paying customers under pressure. Brits are a modest bunch with only a quarter (25%) considering themselves to be a good cook (and over half, 56%, rate their cooking skills as average).

The hyped-up tension and contestants beating the clock by seconds offers great TV, but it isn’t accurate at showcasing what a day-to-day role in a leading kitchen is really like. It’s this intense pressure which is putting Brits off considering a role in hospitality, and it isn’t just perceived stress in the kitchens. Brits surveyed think stress affects other industry roles from sommeliers (67%) and maître de’s (83%) to bar staff (79%).

Are these cooking shows an accurate reflection of the industry?

Neil Pattison, from said, “Whilst plenty of us enjoy sitting down to the latest episode of GBBO, it’s important to remember these shows are edited for maximum entertainment – which includes focussing on heightened bursts of pressure and stress. This isn’t an accurate reflection of the industry as a whole, which whilst certainly busy and often demanding, offers so much more, including career development, variety of experience and positive and vibrant teams.  Hospitality is a fantastic, personable industry and the pressure depicted in these reality TV cooking shows should not lead people to think they can’t handle the pressure of working within it.”

This situation is a particular concern as we have a skills shortage in the hospitality industry, which is guaranteed to be exacerbated post-Brexit due to decreasing talent pools.

It’s important to note that hospitality employers are well known for investing in training and development for their staff, so they are fully skilled and prepared to manage a whole host of eventualities, including busy shifts and pressurised situations as just one part of the job. No two days are the same in hospitality, which is why people love it.”

Summary of our findings

  • Almost half (46%) of Brits claim watching cookery shows puts them off a career as a professional chef
  • Almost two thirds (63%) of adults wouldn’t consider a role in the hospitality industry
  • 62% feel they wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure of working in a professional kitchen

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