The current curry chef shortage can be attributed to ‘immigration issues’ with Indian chefs coming to the UK, according to Michelin-starred chef, Vivek Singh.
Singh’s comments follow reports that 10 to 15 curry houses could be closing each week by February
, highlighting the difficulties that Indian chefs face in obtaining a visa to work in the UK unless they qualify as highly-skilled.
The laws put a strain on the industry with highly-skilled workers from outside of the EU required to earn at least £29,570, while curry chefs earn closer to £25k.
Singh, whose restaurant The Cinnamon Club won the award for Best Central London Restaurant at the British Curry Awards on Monday, told BigHospitality that he expects the industry to recover with the help of extra training.
“The recent immigration issues in India do mean that Asian restaurants have felt the pinch more than everybody else recently, however I think it’s just going through a churn and will recover,” he said.
“We need to work on training and apprenticeship programmes to get people from all backgrounds interested in Asian cuisine, initiatives like Mastara Chef
. We need to arrange reward schemes and better training – all of this will help to overcome these issues. There is no reason why the Asian restaurant sector shouldn’t come out of this stronger – the customer appetite is still very much there.”