In the beginning it was the pandemic, with the forced closure of restaurants. Then, when the shutters began to reopen, the second blow arrived: never before in 2021 have restaurateurs, starred and not, struggled to find qualified personnel for their kitchens.
He moved the waters first Alessandro Borghese: in October the chef told al Corriere della Sera of not being able to find collaborators because «the boys no longer accept that doing this job is tiring and underpaid». Then it was the turn of Christian Puglisi, which a Forbes explained that he had closed Relæ, his starred restaurant in Copenhagen, also for the excessive stress that the project entailed. Finally, when the discussion was now in the public domain, an investigation arrived de Daily fact which has brought to light how, in many starry kitchens, there are “17-hour shifts a day, harassment and hazing. Besides low wages, from 3-4 euros per hour ». A real one Hell’s Kitchen, which the pandemic helped unravel.
How do gourmet restaurants save themselves from this storm? We asked Ludovica Rubbini, who together with her husband Riccardo Gaspari – one of the students of Massimo Bottura – manages the SanBrite of Cortina, an agricultural farm with a Michelin star, fresh from a second green star. To keep his 30 young collaborators close, Rubbini has chosen a path that is as simple as it is not taken for granted.
2021 will be remembered as the year of the “coming out” of starred chefs: it has emerged – finally, let’s face it – that gourmet restaurants are not just roses and flowers as we read in the guides, on the contrary: often a lot of work is done in the kitchens and badly .
“During the pandemic, the kids have revised their priorities, no one rightly wants to toil and be underpaid anymore. In addition to the times, the children themselves have also changed: today they need constant stimulation and someone who keeps their attention high. Even the intern on duty is no longer willing to peel carrots all day, but he wants to be the protagonist in what he does. Managing this change for us entrepreneurs is a very hard job ».
How does a gourmet kitchen adapt to this new generation, with the pace of work it requires?
«We organize coffee lessons with experts, visits to local farms and meetings with the cheese masters. Once a week we all go for a walk in the woods together and twice a year we brainstorm at the Lagazuoi refuge. These are all things organized during working hours and which take away resources from the management of the restaurant, but they cement the group. The next day the boys are full of ideas and desire to do ».