Catering colleges are 'a disgrace', says Oliver Peyton

Thursday 26th July 2007 07:00

Oliver Peyton has joined Marco Pierre White in slamming the standard of catering colleges as "a disgrace".

The restaurateur behind Mash, Inn The Park and the Wallace restaurant at the Wallace Collection museum, described the colleges as one step removed from prison in terms of quality of training offered.

White recently sparked a heated debate when he told Caterer: "College is the biggest waste of time. It doesn't prepare people for the industry."

Peyton agreed, saying that getting trained staff was proving increasingly difficult, because there aren't enough good chefs around.

"The problem we have is that there is not one decent catering college in this country," he said. "Catering colleges are basically a stop-off before you're sent off to prison. They're a disgrace. I've never been to a decent catering college in this country."

Speaking at the Horticultural Trade Association's catering conference in Oxford last week, Peyton said the standard of colleges in other countries was far superior.

"I remember going to one in Lyon, and I thought I was in the wrong place," he said. "I thought it was a posh hotel, because it was that smart. It was a super design. We don't have any of that. It's a bloody disgrace considering how important hospitality is to us."

The restaurateur told garden centre catering managers that they probably knew more about food than their chefs. "It's shocking how little they know. Don't let them do what they want. You know your customers."

He also urged delegates to boycott Coke. "People say you have to sell Coca-Cola. Why do you have to? It's a disgusting drink and it rots your insides. Smoke and take heroin instead - it's better for you."

Read more on hospitality skills here >>

By Mark Hotton




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