by Rosemary Ryan - Hospitality Magazine
The restaurant and catering industry has hailed the top rating MasterChef reality television show for the enthusiasm for the industry that the program has created around the country.
The final episode of the reality TV cooking competition last night set a new record with 3.7 million Australians tuning in to see Julie Goodwin defeat Poh Ling Yeow.
Restaurant & Catering Australia, said it expected a flow on from the show would be a boost to the number of people interested in a career in the industry which is suffering from a major shortage of staff.
"The association is delighted with the overwhelming enthusiasm for the industry generated by MasterChef," said R&CA CEO John Hart.
"Fremantle Media and Channel Ten have done a marvellous job conveying the hard work, dedication and commitment you need to succeed in the industry," he said.
"In addition, the passion demonstrated by the contestants and the professional chefs and judges including Matt Preston, Savour Australia R&CA Awards for Excellence Chair of Judges, is to be commended.'
"MasterChef highlighted the career opportunities available in the restaurant and catering industry. Renewed interest in the industry will no doubt help alleviate some of the skills and labour shortages that the industry is currently experiencing in the areas of cooks, chefs and managers."
The skills and labour shortage experienced in Accommodation, Cafes & Restaurants is severe with a Workplace Survey undertaken by Restaurant & Catering Australia in January 2007 indicating that businesses were found to be 6.8 per cent underemployed. In other words the restaurant, caf?nd catering industry could e.could employ an additional 13,600 people at any point in time.
Hart said current research indicates that this situation has not greatly changed regardless of the economic situation.