Recent years have seen an increased focus on climate change, animal welfare and better health drive more people to embrace a plant-based lifestyle. We investigate how the vegan revolution is redefining chef jobs in the UK.
Once characterised by paint-throwing fanatics and jungle-dwelling vloggers, recent years have seen veganism plough its way into the mainstream. This shift in customer appetite is driving many prominent restaurants to rethink their menu offerings. This means that chefs across all levels from Chef de Partie to Head Chef will need to develop new skills to get the best jobs.
The rise of Veganism and the impact on Chef Jobs
Once considered a foreign concept, developing vegan cooking skills may prove beneficial to your career as a chef, thus enabling you to land the best jobs. As more people opt for plant-based diets, the demand for vegan chefs is steadily growing in the job market.
According to a recent report by Waitrose, one in eight Britons now identify as vegan or vegetarian. Furthermore, a recent survey by comparethemarket.com has revealed a significant spike in the number of people going vegan in the UK since 2016, with more than 3.5 million British people now identifying as such.
More vegan restaurants are opening, and popular restaurants and supermarkets across the high street scene are adapting with incredible speed. Big chains such as Marks & Spencer and Pret a Manger have introduced vegan ranges, while Wagamama now has a vegan menu. Pizza Hut, Pizza Express and Zizzi now offer vegan pizzas, and even Guinness has gone vegan by removing fish bladders from its brewing process. Most recently Greggs have jumped on the trend with the launch of their vegan sausage rolls which have fast become a hit with customers across the country.
Given the above, it’s clear to see that the requirements for chef jobs across the country will begin to change significantly. Anyone from a Chef de Partie to a Head Chef will need to sharpen up their skill sets in order to remain competitive and work within the best restaurant chains.
Top tips for Chefs to cater to the shift in customer appetite and get the best jobs
As an increasing number of consumers grow more environmentally conscious and join the vegan revolution, restaurants are catering to this trend by featuring more vegan recipes in their menus. As a result, chefs with the appropriate skills are now in high demand. Below, we list our top tips to adapt your skills to the vegan palette and stand out:
Invest in training for Vegan Chef Jobs
As with any chef job, you’ll need to learn the basics of professional cooking. Look for a school that offers vegan cooking training or find a vegan chef who will mentor you. Vegan chefs can provide a service to people with special dietary needs, so studying nutrition will also give a big boost to your career and enable you to get some of the best chef jobs on the market.
The good news is that specialist vegan chef training programmes are now cropping up all over the country in response to the shift in customer appetite, such as the Vegan Chef Institute. Google is your friend, and there is also a wealth of inspiration for vegan recipes to be found on both bespoke and mainstream culinary websites, and across social media.
Learn to substitute ingredients before applying for Chef Jobs
As a professional chef, you will make yourself more marketable to employers if you can prepare and serve vegan dishes that non-vegans want, and do so at a profit. This requires learning how to make vegan versions of traditional dishes as close to the original as you can. In some cases, this will be easy, such as serving a pasta dinner without the egg noodles, dairy or ground beef. To avoid animal products, learn to use soy, rice and oat milk, tofu, egg-free mayonnaise, nuts and other ingredients. Your knowledge of nutrition will help you understand when to consult with customers who might have allergies to certain foods such as soy or peanuts.
Many professional chefs are blazing a trail with the launch of innovative vegan recipes using plant-based ingredients to replace some of the world’s best loved meats and dairy products*. Follow the link below for inspiration.
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For more more inspiration on vegan alternatives, click below: