We are very excited to be hosting a Murder Mystery Evening on Friday 2nd June 2023 with entertainment from the fantastic Candlelight Theatre Company.
Enjoy a thrilling Murder Mystery dinner with us, shrouded in secrets and deceit. The theme is “Don’t Kill The Bride”, so put on your best wedding attire, gather friends & family and come help us solve the mystery.
Bradley Thomas and Olivia Goodwin invite you to celebrate the biggest day of their lives. They are madly in love with each other…or at least that’s what they have told the vicar, Terry Christian, who may have secrets of his own. Will anything go wrong over the Wedding Breakfast? Surely the bridegroom didn’t make a mistake asking Mitchell to be best man did he? All with become clear as you join the happy couple and their entourage. Just do us all on favour…Don’t Kill The Bride!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup (vo, gfo)
Homemade Chicken Liver Pâté Apricot & Ginger Chutney, Toasted Ciabatta (gfo)
Melon served with Palma Ham
Crispy Pork Belly with Cumin & Fennel, Herb Roasted Potatoes, Creamed Cabbage & Bacon (gfo, dfo)
Cod Fillet with Dauphinoise Potato, Tomato & Red Pepper, Wild Rocket (gfo, dfo)
Spinach & Wild Mushroom Lasagne with Garlic Sourdough, Cherry Tomato & Cucumber Salad (dfo, gfo, vo, v)
From the turkey to the Christmas pudding and everything in-between; Christmas food and drink is the icing on any festive cake!
At the New Continental Hotel, we know that food should take centre stage at Christmas. That’s why our sensational chefs are busy planning and prepping the Christmas treats that await our guests this year.
The hotel is celebrating our 35th Christmas at the New Continental Hotel. We wanted to take this moment to look back at some Christmas’ past. Looking at the big shifts in trends and some of the marvellous menus that have donned our festive tables over the years!
Just as importantly though; we wanted to take this time to celebrate and acknowledge the prodigious talent of all of the chefs; those both past and present. Chefs who, over the decades, have all played an intrinsic part in the hotels history. But also who have played an important role in helping people make fond Christmas memories at the hotel too.
Looking back in the archives has been an honour. Seeing the past menus, orders scribbled on notes with splashes of food sprawled across the pages and pencilled shifts, all scratched in old diaries with arrows and lines to mark changes. It’s clear to see that our hotel has had the ultimate collection of Christmas Menus but also, mind-blowing, passionate and committed talent in the kitchens too.
Swiss Evening October 1962…
We believe that Christmas 1962 came off the back of a successful Swiss Evening in the October before. This was an evening that had taken twelve months of planning and a continuous 24 hours for the brigade to prepare! No small feat! The hard work certainly seemed to have paid off! The event took place in the Ballroom and by all accounts “…it was plush and impressive in both appearance and style”.
It was an event for members from the Plymouth Branch of the Wine & Food Society. They sat down that evening to enjoy an exclusively designed menu. With much of the ingredients hand picked and collected by the chefs themselves. Nothing was too much trouble and nothing too lavish! There were Alpine cured meats, soups laced with egg yolk, trout cooked in butter and almonds and fillets of veal.
The Ballroom was dressed facing the stage. The tables set out in the form of a Swiss cross. There were huge flower arrangements and the entire room and serving staff were dressed in the national colours of red and white. Every detail was given immense care and attention, as it is now for every event.
We believe it was this event that then left echoes on the design of a rather lavish Christmas in December 1962, 57 years ago!
Christmas Treats In 1962…
In December 1962 the Continental Hotel was dishing up a very unique menu!
In the year that cheese and onion crisps were introduced by Golden Wonder, the Continental Hotel introduced a new way of serving Christmas. It was to become all about the show as much as the taste. With service boards in the centre of the room, Chefs in full sight and the poshest of buffets!
The 1960s saw a boom in the British economy and so there was a dramatic rise in the standard of living, and peoples expectations. Rationing was now a thing of the past; and the 60’s saw a spike in the European holidaymakers visiting Plymouth. The food was therefore influenced by all of these factors and there was a big movement occurring in kitchens across the UK. Chefs were now experimenting and introducing the British palate to some tasty new foods and ingredients.
Wine was also on the rise! Before the 1960s wine was really only ordered at the hotel for extra special occasions, the majority of people drank beer, stout, pale ale and port and lemon. In the 60’s the hotel saw an increase in wine orders and introduced bottles such as Chianti and Mateus Rose.
The hedgehog was also on the pre-dinner drinks list! These accompanied the drinks; cubes of tinned pineapple and cheddar cheese on sticks, stuck into a melon or grapefruit to look like a hedgehog – the height of 60s sophistication!
There were five Christmas Menus in 1962. All different and all definitely unique! There was some of the usual dishes you would expect to see; Shrimp cocktail and melon balls, but with the addition of a Clear Turtle Soup with Sherry! What’s amazing to see is even back in 1962 ‘local’ played a huge part in the design and delivery of the hotel menus. Chefs had amazing relationships with the farmers locally, not naming the farm but the farmer himself in their notes.
Just as in 1962, the ingredients matter to our chefs. Although there is no Turtle Soup this Christmas (we can all breath a sigh of relief that this trend has passed!) there is the same love and attention given to every dish by every chef.
No matter what the year; Christmas at the New Continental Hotel is full of fun, fabulous food and a history rich in hospitality. 2019 is no different to 1962, our talented chefs are busy ensuring all guests this Christmas have the best experiences and make magical memories that last another 57 years!
Sense of place and seasonality are key elements when it comes to eating out in Plymouth. The food scene in the city is sensational. With an eclectic and diverse offering for all tastes and inclinations.
There is no shortage of exceptional and locally produced ingredients to inspire the cities top chefs.
Perhaps not a restaurant that would first spring to mind, yet certainly adding to this impressive catalogue is Steve’s Brasserie. The New Continental Hotel’s in-house restaurant open from 5.30pm between Monday and Saturday.
A new creation from New Continental Groups Executive Chef, Lee Holland is our Special board. Taking pride of place at the main reception, it’s been tempting diners and hotel guests with seasonal offerings.
Executive Chef …
Lee explains:“Introducing a Specials board to Steve’s Brasserie means that the bounties of the season can play centre stage and be the real stars of the dishes. Autumn was the perfect time for me to introduce a Specials board. It’s possibly one of the year’s most rewarding seasons in terms of ingredients. Apples and pears, squashes and pumpkins; a fine selection of mushrooms and the beginning of the game season. As the shorter, darker nights draw in, the soups, stews and broths come into their own and will certainly form part of the offerings in coming weeks!”
When the cooler weather hits, it signifies change, making it the perfect time to introduce new menu items and special, limited offerings. The daily Specials board has already proved popular with diners and hotel guests and each day we are all excited to see what the nights creations will be.
To book your table, call us today on 01752 276798. Not only does Steve’s Brasserie have the Specials board, but an Early Evening menu which is perfect for diners on the go. There is a fabulous full Evening menu with coffee and desserts. Of course, not forgetting the infamous Pizza oven and amazing selection of sides. There really is something for everyone!
2020 Corporate Bookings; what we think the landscape may look like …
What an interesting year 2019 has been!
In recent years there have been some massive shifts in how we do business. The social and economic landscape can empower and enable some settings to shine; and sometimes can cause businesses to remodel, resize and in some cases close their trading doors. What we have seen is a vast and varied rhythm governed by many factors. And let’s face it, that isn’t about to change anytime soon!
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the tangible evidence that no matter how the landscape changes or how we progress with our tech and digital abilities – we humans are social creatures!
We like to do business in person wherever possible…
Here at the New Continental Hotel we couldn’t agree more! We believe that true hospitality is found in the nurturing and building of strong relationships. Relationships with each other, our guests and our communities. We do this by recognising and valuing each other. Understanding individuality and respecting any differences. ultimately great hospitality is all about great relationships. However it’s not just hospitality businesses that see the value of a personal touch; in a report from Harvard Business Review it states that ‘face-to -face’ requests are 34 times more powerful that a business request via email.
That single fact tells us so much…
If we know that great business is done best when it is done via face to face meetings and cultivation, then it tells us that our corporate business (our ‘Road Warriors’) will keep doning the motorways to visit their clients … and they will always need somewhere great to stay!
Here at the New Continental Hotel we believe that even with all the digital advances planned for 2020, we predict that our business travellers will continue to choose the more personal approach. Both in how they do their own business, but also what they expect from their hotel provider.
We know that Plymouth will be alive with leisure guests in 2020. Visiting Plymouth for the Mayflower400 celebrations. Yet we also know that many businesses will also want to maximise the business potential of 2020 and so join us here in Plymouth too.
What are business guests going to be looking for..?
Sustainability, personalisation and the transition onto the 5G superhighway will be a few new trends that will change the landscape in 2020. As well as these changes, we feel that there are two other areas that will have a magnifying lens placed over them. We think that with the new decade will be a new outlook on both CSR and the Food & Beverage offer for Business travellers.
Corporate Social Responsibility | Our Thoughts …
Doing good business and collaborating with other businesses that follow your same ethical, sustainable and environmental compass, we believe will matter more and more.
Not only does having strong policies in place mean we can contribute to positive change; it also leads to a better, stronger more kind society. The narrative around how a business, especially within hospitality, is taking responsibility for the impact they have on the environment, will become increasingly important.
Much like a Social Enterprise who reports on a triple bottom line, we believe that hotels will have to be more proactive when reporting too. Making sure they report on how they are working towards a more sustainable future. We think that business customers will want to make choices based on more than just their rates and services offered.
We believe that one of the key trends for 2020 is sustainability.
More and more hotels will be looking sustainability, from an environmental, economic, and social perspective. In the past there have been some hotels that have been driven by their own passion and desire to do more and be better. Yet not all of them, and so when the drive is from customers, the masses tend to make change happen more rapidly.
There’s a massive focus on social responsibility in the hospitality sector around the world. We saw in France the PACTE law, plus more hotels with green credentials popping up and celebrating their successes. We believe that this trend will seep into events and corporate functions. With the idea that events should do more than just educate or have a business development opportunity; but also create good and positive outcomes for the planet and for people.
We have seen tremendous changes in the Food & Beverage offer within our hotel over the last 5 years. What’s more we are certain that there are more changes to come! Not least due to October 31st!
Our Food & Beverage and our Kitchen Brigade noted in the last 18 months that there has been a significant rise in delegates requesting gluten-free, vegan and locally sourced products. With a steady increase in buffets being purely vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. Others wanting to know the traceability of the food on their plates.
All positive changes as it means we are getting more seasoned in the sector at reacting to changing trends and customer requirements. Plus it’s a powerful thing to think that more and more people are increasingly more interested in the ingredients we use.
We feel that in the future more event organisers will also be as concerned about the wastage, as well as the journey of their food to their plate. As we have seen an increase over the years in the ‘grab & go’ style food outlets, we believe delegates will be looking for these ‘street food’ style stations, that are more controlled and less harmful on the environment. We also believe that healthy choices with trends towards both natural and organic food will definitely not slow down but in fact speed up!
Working With You …
The one thing that we know for certain will not change is our desire to make sure we offer you the perfect service. Trends change, they come and they go, but our passion and motivation to ensure you have the best experience is here to stay.
If you’re a business looking to plan your 2020 stays, functions or events then contact us today. We have amazing corporate rates and delegate offers. Our hotel caters handsomely for business travellers with on-site parking, enterprise grade WI-FI, leisure complex and in-house restaurant. Our Superior Rooms make remote office work not only practical, but comfortable and enticing.
Join us for 2020 and beyond and let us look after your business needs.
We are celebrating a VERY special Christmas this year; it is our 35th Christmas here at the New Continental Hotel.
We have been opening our doors each Christmas in style, since 1984. Offering all of our guests not only a warm family welcome, but traditional festive food; party nights with our in-house DJ; Christmas Lunches and of course a central location to rest your head (and feet) after a spot of Christmas Shopping!
On Christmas Day itself, the magic really sparkles. We serve traditional and delicious Christmas Day lunch; prepared by our Head Chef and his talented team, using the finest of ingredients. Our guests not only enjoy delicious food, but also live entertainment as well as a special visit from Father Christmas – with a gift for each child, making it a truly memorable Christmas Day.
To celebrate our 35th Christmas this year, we are sharing two great offers; one for those who haven’t booked yet, and one for those who have! No one misses out on this celebration!
Haven’t Booked Yet..?
If you haven’t yet booked, but want to join us for THE best Christmas party, we still have some dates available, so call us today!
If you haven’t got a date in mind, then we have the PERFECT offer…
For all new Party Night bookings made between now and Monday 30th September for Thursday 19th December we are offering TWO BOTTLES OF WINE!
Bring your party to the best party in town with this special offer. If you have a group of 10 or more guests and want to join us for great food and an amazing atmosphere look no further! Book for Thursday 19th December and have two red or two white bottles of house wine (or one of each!) on your table for when you arrive. Fancy something non-alcoholic? We have that covered too!
Call our amazing events team today on 01752 276783 to book your table of 10 or more on Thursday 19th December and just QUOTE: 35 Christmas’s to get TWO FREE bottles added to your table!
Already booked your Christmas Party Night with us..?
We have a great game that could see you winning TWO BOTTLES of wine too. Waiting on your table for your Christmas Party Night here at the hotel!
Simply guess how many LITRES of Festive Gravy our chefs used throughout Christmas 2018 here at the New Continental Hotel.
All winning entries will be put together and the winner will be drawn at random and then, as if by Christmas Magic, TWO bottles of wine (or a non-alcoholic substitute) will be on the winners table when they arrive for their PARTY NIGHT!
Email how many litres of gravy you think were used to: email@example.com with the subject heading: 35 Christmas’s!
Here's a hint..!
It’s more than 100 but less than two; you can’t use chop-SIX to enjoy your Jus!
See below for Terms & Conditions or, simply call today to find out more!
T&Cs | Thursday 19th December
All regular Christmas Terms & Conditions will apply to your booking, these can be found in our Christmas 2019 brochure. This offer is for new bookings only. Only available to bookings made up of a minimum of 10 guests. For every 10 guests, two bottles of wine (or non-alcoholic substitutes) will be given with our compliments to the table. The offer is only valid in groups of 10. For example, if you have 20 guests you will receive 4 bottles of wine, if you have 15 guests you will receive two bottles of wine. Offer is subject to availability and valid until Monday 30th September, unless there are no places available beforehand. The offer is on a first come, first served basis.
T&C's | Win Wine!
To be entered into the prize draw you must: a) be part of a Christmas booking at the New continental Hotel this Christmas 2019. b) guess the correct number of liters of gravy used during Christmas 2018. If you are 18 or under the two bottles of wine will be substituted for a non-alcoholic choice, even if others at your table are over 18. Incorrectly guessed entries will be disqualified. Repeat entries will also be discounted. One winner will be drawn at random on Monday 18th November 2019. Only the winner will be informed on this day via email.
Plymouth is a city packed full of businesses and individuals all striving to make tomorrow better than today for everyone. Threaded through our city are charities and organisations all awakening everyday with an ethos, passion and commitment to transform the lives of so many people living in our beautiful city.
Working in collaboration is a sensational way for charities to gain support. Not only the financial support that will help empower and enable them to deliver their objectives; but also an opportunity to raise their profile and connect with others who want to help make positive change happen.
A Night Of Hopes And Dreams Ball…
On Saturday 26th October, here at the New Continental Hotel; Plymouth Quality Roofing and Glam Rooms are collaborating to do just that! They will be co-hosting an exceptionally special evening.
A Night of Hopes and Dreams Ball will be a truly heartfelt evening, giving those who join them the opportunity to really help two incredible charities; CLIC Sargent and Shekinah.
This will be an exceptional evening supporting two amazing charities…
CLIC Sargent is a charity that fights tirelessly to stop cancer destroying young lives. There vision is to give everyone with cancer who is under 25, and their families, the support and help they need duringtheir cancer treatment and beyond, including bereaved families living with emotional pain.
Shekinah is a Devon and Cornwall based charity that provides sensational opportunities for people in recovery or seeking recovery. There are so many magnificent things that they do daily to achieve this which includes programmes and initiatives that offer very real and tangible support to homeless people; those living with drug and alcohol issues; mental ill health and so much more.
Two amazing charities, one sensational evening awaits you…
There will be fabulous food, exceptional entertainment plus of course amazing company!
This wonderful Black Tie event welcomes you at 7pm for drinks before the evening begins. Tickets are £45 each and tables of 10 are £425.
There will not only be a three course meal and entertainment – but an amazing raffle and auction too! Club Continental is one of the many companies that have donated to the raffle. There will be a 12 months complete membership on offer; so you can enjoy the sauna and steam room, relax in the heated pool or work out in the gyms – 7 days a week for an entire year!
Make a stay of it…
The New Continental Hotel are also offering an extra spacial room rate for those attending the Ball. This means that not only can you get ready with ease, but slip down to the Ballroom in all your glamour and then not have to worry about waiting for a taxi home! You can also sample what the Club Continental Membership might be like with complementary access during your stay.
The support of people that attend this brilliant evening will mean so much to these charities. What’s more it will really enable them to cause and create the change that is needed.
To book your stay and take up the room rate call 01752 276798 and quote: Hopes & Dreams Ball.
Help make life better for people whilst having a sensational time, let’s all come together and showcase the power of people in Plymouth and demonstrate what a truly wonderful city by the sea we live in.
This year marks a very special Christmas here at the New Continental Hotel; besides the fact it’s Christmas and we love that time of year, we are celebrating our 35th Christmas!
To celebrate, our dedicated chefs have created another amazing mouth wateringly festive Christmas Menu for you to indulge in!
Starters are always a treat! With so many options it’s hard to choose. We love the Butternut Squash soup with Parmesan crisps, or the juicy oven backed ratatouille vol-au-vents with a puff pastry shell. Perhaps even the pate with apricot and ginger chutney – all deliciously indulgent!
For mains, we can’t fail to mention the amazing vegetarian alternative to a beef Wellington. This incredible Beetroot Wellington, with its earthy celeriac and beetroot filling, makes a show-stopping main course for any feast. Served with a chestnut jus and all the festive trimmings, it’s the perfect choice for food lovers, not just vegetarians!
Of course we have the tempting and traditional Turkey, but what about the Baked Cod? We love this tender and flaky white fish dish, oven baked to perfection with a juicy tomato and pesto finish. Delicious!
Desserts are always a dreamy affair! Christmas Puddings, Chocolate Brownie, Cheese Boards … and that’s naming just a few of the festive delights! With plenty of Gluten Free and Vegan options, no one will miss out on a sweet treat of savoury finish.
With a menu worth braving Plymouth’s wintry weather for, and prices that will please, Christmas at the New Continental Hotel 2019 is the perfect way to end the year!
We Ask The Head Chef…
We sat down with the Head Chef, Rob Dunne between his busy service to find out about his Christmas foodie favourites…
Which dish from the Christmas menu 2019 are you most excited about?
“I think one of my favourite starters this year is probably the Potted Smoked Trout. This in part is due to the fact that it’s home smoked. We are also using local crab and fennel, coupled with a fresh and crisp pickled cucumber salad. I think the combination of flavours, the trout which is smoked and the pickled cucumber together is just a lovely combination.
The Christmas Day Nut Loaf will be a real show stopper! We have experimented with our initial recipe and feel that the one we have all agreed on is a winner. Everyone devoured it in the tasting! It feels really indulgent and earthy, but fresh at the same time.
First of all, choosing a dessert is tricky! I’m a big fan of all things sweet! Yet because I have to pick just one, it’s got to be the Chocolate Brownie paired with the salted caramel ice-cream. You can’t beat the warm velvety chocolate with its sweet notes mixed with the cold, salty caramel ice-cream. I’m a huge fan!”
If you haven’t made you Christmas dining and party plans yet,then call us today. We still have some availability and we would LOVE for you to join in the festivities of Christmas 2019 – AND our 35th Christmas Celebration!
Call today to check our current availability or to make a booking | 01752 276783
Flavourful dishes, freshly prepared are the order of the day here at Steve’s Brasserie…
Years ago, hotel restaurants were considered a last resort for many a traveler. Today, they’re destinations in themselves…
No longer just an on-site amenity, hotel restaurants are attracting tourists and locals alike; and Steve’s Brasserie is no exception.
Not confined to the accommodation we provide; our warm welcome extends much further than that here at the New Continental Hotel. We are extremely proud to offer seasonal and seriously tasty food on all of our menus in Steve’s Brasserie. Menus that are a celebration of nostalgic favourites and of course the West Country’s amazing natural larder and local suppliers.
We’re now in the eighth month of the year, how time flies! In such a busy city like Plymouth, it’s not surprising to see so much change already in 2019 – and no doubt there will be more before the year is out! A constant in Plymouth since 2010 is Steve’s Brasserie. Adored by regulars and a real hit with our guests. Perched under the New Continental Hotel on Millbay Road; Steve’s Brasserie is open Monday – Saturday from 5.30pm and welcomes everyone.
Whether you are visiting for dinner before heading out to see a show, or enjoying a special romantic meal for two; Steve’s Brasserie is the place to be.
Taste the finest locally sourced food, cooked to perfection and served in stylish, relaxing surroundings. If you’re a fan of great food, then the New Continental Hotel and Steve’s Brasserie is somewhere you should definitely try.
With our high standards of cooking and presentation in beautiful surroundings, and a relaxed atmosphere, you can spoil yourself with a three course meal from our Main Menu. Or, perhaps try something divine from our Early Evening options, a treat before you take your seat!
Book A Table Now…
The New Continental Hotel is a well-known, centrally located setting, and Steve’s Brasserie offers a tempting range of dining options. With all your food needs sorted, all you need to do now is book your table!
Call or message us today, let us book you in and prepare yourself for an evening of succulent steaks, sizzling King Prawns, perfect pasta, vegan and vegetarian delights or mouthwatering burgers. There are plenty of other options too; from sensational beer battered fish and chips to a five bean chili with sweet potato wedges and rice, tasty starters and delicious desserts.
Join us at our hotel restaurant for an indulgent evening of food, wine and the warmest of welcomes.
Aah, August! Probably a favourite summer month for chefs…produce wise that is!
Suppliers are heaving with fresh local produce. The month brings the best bounty of the season—ripened tomatoes, juicy melons, sweet corn on the cob, amazing plump aubergines and broad beans. These are just a few of their favourites.
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we love watching our amazing chefs work. They are always creating mouth watering, seasonal dishes. Yet August feels like a really great month to watch them use some of the truly incredible ingredients there is on offer.
An Amazing Month…
I’m not sure there is anything better than seeing our chefs whip up some of Augusts’ sensational seasonal foods; once again they create some super-delicious summer recipes for the hotel, and of course Steve’s Brasserie.
Whether it’s delicious dinners, sweet treats or sensational starters – whatever the dish – August is a GREAT food month!
With an abundance of seafood’s like crab, cod, salmon or sea bream; paired with amazing and sophisticated salads or stunning fresh vegetables – everything is just plump, juicy and divine!
An amazing August starter at Steve’s Brasserie for example is the King Prawns with lambs lettuce, pickled fennel and a creamy cocktail sauce – prawn perfection!
August is also a great month for British Lamb born in the spring. With time to have grazed properly outdoors on the best grass of the year, they have matured enough to develop a ‘true lamb’ flavour.
With this in mind, a great meat treat from the August menu at Steve’s Brasserie would be the home cooked lamb stew. Served with the crispiest fried new potatoes…it really is delicious!
We MUST not forget the great vegetarian options though. August is a month with so many lovely foods in season. Hedgerows of berries and lots of juicy fruits like peaches and apricots. But it’s not just fruits that come into their own this month. August brings us heat-loving aubergines and other wonderful vegetables.
Any vegetarian dish is a delight in August, with not just all of the vegetables, but the herbs that are in season too.
Although every month offers a bewildering number of new seasonal dishes to eat, drinks to imbibe, and great foodie events to attend; August really is a unique time in the year.
What’s more – here is a SPECIAL AUGUST OFFER if you’re thinking about eating out at Steve’s this AUGUST:
OFFER | Celebrate tomato season with a pizza...or TWO!
Some people are tomato fiends; others are crazy about the tangy, juicy little red balls of wonder!
Either way, there aren’t many people that don’t love a GOOD pizza!
Our tomato sauce, smeared all over our freshly made, pizza ovened pizzas is a true miracle mix!
The Margarita is a firm favourite! With the tomato sauce and herbs, the fresh mozzarella, garlic and of course some chefs secrets…it’s a real winner!
August is the peak of tomato season, so what could be better than a nice slice (or two!) of our amazing PIZZAs!
BEST BOUNTY | Pre-Book your table Monday-Thursday this August and QUOTE BEST BOUNTY and get a Margherita Pizza for just £5 when you purchase ANY OTHER pizza!
We hear chefs talk about the pleasure of the palate; about the passion in their prep; the joy that comes from the cry of ‘service’ and the indescribable pride when someone loves what they do.
But what happens when kitchen talk takes a new direction?
The ‘food boom’ should be a joyous occasion for chefs. People eating out and knowing their ‘mustard’ when it comes to great ingredients. Knowing their mind when it comes to food choices. No longer are we as customers ordering the same meals; we are exploring and trying new things and being led by chefs creating amazing menus.
So what could chefs possibly be unhappy about…?
Paul Doidge, our Executive Chef at the New Continental Group is one of the many industry leaders who share very real concerns about ‘ The greatchef shortage’; and is working hard to try and solve the fundamental challenge for all hospitality businesses.
So, when we talk about a shortage of chefs with him, he had plenty to say about the matter …
The current landscape…
In my 22 years of cheffing, I am not sure that we have seen such a golden age for dining out. People are not just eating out for a special occasion anymore; they are making the most of spending time together and enjoying great food whilst they make amazing memories.
Yet when I talk about this ‘golden age’ I am filled with sadness and fear; why, because never before have I felt such a woe when I talk about such a happy time for my sector. On the one hand I am obviously elated, on the other hand troubled.
Knowing that people are loving what we do, the passion and energy that we install in every dish is not going unnoticed and customers are becoming more discerning. With an abundance of choice; they are choosing our settings and that is a sensational feeling. On the other hand there is a deep sadness, due to the shortage of chefs and waiting staff in our sector.
The shape of things to come…
In March 2017, we were all captivated upon reading the KPMG report for the British Hospitality Association; it stated everything that we were feeling…worried was the general consensus! Although 10 years from now; the figures suggesting that by 2029 the industry could have a deficit of more than a million workers is in no way good to hear!
We are already feeling the high levels of vacancies. In fact it was said by KPMG that we actually have the highest levels compared to any other sector. And although like in many sectors there is scope to make improvements on productivity, this isn’t sustainable and chefs will burn out. Nor are we (chefs) willing to sacrifice the finished product by cutting corners – we all know that making life ‘easy’ is not what chefs do!
I really can understand why this happens, but what we don’t want to see for our sector is that all the experienced, senior chefs leave the kitchens for the high pay of an agency. Where they become heroes, due to their knowledge, and who can fit in any kitchen confidently and capably. They parachute in and save the day, filling holes and roles to keep chains going and then migrating once again with their knowledge and experience to their next position. These are highly skilled individuals, who don’t only have pure passion running through their veins, and a love for their craft, but also so much knowledge and ability.
What That Could Mean…
If this were to happen, and we were to lose them from our kitchens, younger chefs wouldn’t have the relationships they need to have with a senior, experienced chef. They would not have access to a constant vessel to learn from. We all started with a mentor, someone we looked up to and aspired to be one day; my fear is if we were to lose these ‘mentors’ we would lose the inspiration.
What you then might also have is the commis and CPD level chefs in their mid-career, who see the benefit of agency work and agency hours, being able to take their level of knowledge and make contacts and build their portfolio. This would then create a desperate shortage when recruiting these important, young and ambitious mid-level chefs within the smaller, independent restaurants and settings. Chefs that we rely on in small kitchens.
On one hand, good, experienced Chefs are in a very powerful position at the moment; when you have a skills shortage of any kind, when demand outstrips supply, you have a monopoly. Agency work, or relief cover, becomes an amazing (and tantalising) opportunity to broaden your portfolio whilst earning really good money. But is that sustainable for our sector? With no new, young talent being incubated and captured by the fury and fire of a passionate brigade.
So, where does that leave young people who are inspired by a craft that takes time and patience as well as mentors that need to be present?
Earning & learning…
You always have to look for the solutions. Here at the New Continental Group, we have decided to start sowing seeds for our sector now, 10 years isn’t that far away before the 2029 scary prophecy. We want to make a statement within our sector and ensure that we are working in the direction that we think the future of our craft needs.
City College Plymouth…
Within our Group we have some of the best Head Chefs; with diverse experience, all with their own set of mastery and of course oodles of passion. All lending themselves to being what I class as exceptional mentors. So now, teaming up with City College Plymouth we have an apprentice in every kitchen! There are a number of other amazing settings that offer apprenticeships, Plymouth is a city that is fortunate enough to have a plethora of platforms and springboards that connect people to both a profession they can be proud of; but also a future that is rewarding and bright.
Now, we have four bright sparks all working with sensational Head Chefs who are happy in their roles and rooted firmly in their kitchen! The apprentices are growing, learning and increasing their passion for a profession that they can be proud of for many years to come.
Not only learning all the important elements of being a great chef and learning about great products; but also what it means to be part of a strong team; managing sections and working in a passionate environment.
Our apprentices are phenomenal; with natural aptitudes and a desire to soak up the kitchens in which they work. With this formula and the help of City College Plymouth, attracting and retaining passionate and enthusiastic chefs is going to mean that we have a pool of talent that knows what kitchen life can be for the chefs of the future; and Plymouth will very much be at the heart of it.
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