Hennepin Tech Culinary Career Fair Highlights Chef Shortage
For those hoping to work in the food industry, Hennepin Tech in Brooklyn Park was the place to be Wednesday at a culinary career fair. Students got the chance to meet and mingle with people in the food business.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity for students that want to go into that industry and become employed part-time or full-time,” said Mary Babcock of Hennepin Tech.
Matthew Turnbull is one of those students. The Hennepin Tech student had the opportunity to meet several local restaurants at the fair, which included a representative from Nonna Rosa’s in Robbinsdale, the Marriott Northwest hotel in Brooklyn Park and officials from St. Louis Park-based The Fish Guys, which prepares fresh seafood for restaurants and retailers.
“I managed to get a few starts in some kitchens when I was in my first semester with this last year,” said Turnbull.
According to Hennepin Tech officials, instead of too many cooks in the kitchen, there aren’t enough.
“There’s a terrible chef shortage,” Babcock said.
One message recruiters have tried to get out is that becoming a chef is just one of many career paths in the business.
“There’s sales opportunities,” Babcock said. “There’s retail opportunities. There’s restaurant opportunities. There’s catering businesses. Food trucks. Management.”
When you boil it down, the industry needs young talent and the students want jobs.
“You’ve got to be willing to put in work and you’ve got to be willing to put in work and extra hours,” Turnbull said. “Sometimes do free work.”