Raymond Blanc has urged operators to change their approach to working hours in order to make the industry more attractive to potential employees.
Speaking at Hotelympia where he received a lifetime achievement award, he said: "How can we be in a position where there is such high unemployment but we're not able to attract chefs and waiters."
He said that he wasn't recommending that the UK adopts a 35-hour week, as is practice in France, but that operators took a more balanced approach to working hours to address the 80 hour a week culture that puts off prospective new industry entrants.
"We all need to work better with colleges to create a modern industry and reduce working hours, particularly in kitchens," Blanc added.
He also referred to how much British cuisine had changed since his introduction to it in the 1970s. "When I arrived the food was frightening," he said. "I had heard about the speciality that was fish fingers so I tried it. I was amazed as it arrived in seconds and the fish was square. I'd never before seen a square fish!"
But now, he said, the industry was "extremely dynamic and creative".
By James Stagg
E-mail your comments to James Stagg here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters
Featured video - for more, visit Caterer and Hotelkeeper’s YouTube channel >>